Family, Haggis, Castles, Lochs and Whisky.....
Trip Start Apr 06, 2011
47Trip End May 28, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
While in Liverpool we finally realised that there are actually three main religions in England – Church of England, the Catholic Church and Soccer (or should be say Football?)! We were at a family gathering when one of the local relos asked what we were doing tomorrow. When we stated that we were going to catch the train to Manchester to do a tour at Old Trafford (the home of Manchester United) we were shocked by their response
In the end, we took the train over the Manchester to arrive on a sunny Sunday morning and be told that the next available tour was at 4pm. They do run tours every ten minutes but they were booked out for the following 6 hours. We did some quick maths and reckon they are pulling over £15,000 per day on a busy day, just by people paying to tour their stadium
We also did the Liverpool tourist sites of the Cavern Cave (where the Beatles started out) and walked the city areas and the docks that once made Liverpool the Slave Trade Capital of the world. The old lock-up, court house and civic building, called St George’s Hall, was very interesting. We could actually sit in the old court room – including the judge’s chair – as well as the old lock-up cells.
From Liverpool we headed north to finally arrive in Scotland. On the way we stopped by Lyme Park (aka Pemberley – which was Mr Darcy’s House from the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice – apparently a big deal according to Claire). We also stopped at Hadrian’s Wall, which spans east to west across Britain, not far from the Scottish border. Apparently Hadrian (the Roman who had it built) wanted it to keep the English in as must as to keep the Scottish clans out, as he didn’t want his newly conquered land to end up devoid of local population!
This time, finally, there was a big "Welcome to Scotland" sign as we crossed the border but we were so sure there wouldn’t be one, Claire didn’t get the camera out as we drove by. In Scotland we spent a few days in Glasgow before driving up the western side past Loch Lomond and Loch Ness before arriving at Inverness, our most northern destination in the Uck (our endearing term for the UK). We didn’t spot the Loch Ness Monster, must have been all the rain which reduced the visibility….
Some of the highlights in Scotland have been:
- Glasgow Council Chambers. The outside of the building was a little plain and uninteresting but the inside was fantastic with every room having ornate ceilings, immaculate furnishings and the largest complete marble staircase in Europe, just a bit bigger than the Vatican’s.
- Highlands. Beautiful mountains and Lochs everywhere up the western side. The area that includes Loch Lomond, Loch Lochy, Loch Linnhe, Loch Oich and the famous Loch Ness. Now that’s a bit of a mouthful! We haven’t managed to spot a Highland Cow as yet but we are keeping an eye out for these hairy fringed beasts
- Whisky. We visited Glengoyne, a highlands distillery that makes primarily single malts. We sampled the 10 and 17 year old whiskies and learnt that not all distilleries in Scotland use peat to malt the barley, as not all of them have a peat source available. This means that not all single malt Scotch whiskies have that peaty-smoky flavor that Greg had associated with (and had put him off) single malts in the past. The Glengoyne 17 year old was very smooth and had not a hint of smoky-peat in it. As expected, we also heard about how Scotch Whisky is the original and Irish Whiskey is the inferior copy and that’s why they have to distil it three times in Ireland – to try to make it taste a little better. You may recall in Ireland we told how we heard the opposite version and that it was the third distillation that made Irish Whiskey so superior to Scotch Whisky! No rivalry in Britain on the Whiskey (Irish spelling)/Whisky (Scottish spelling) front……. It reminds us of the Peru versus Bolivia rivalry on who ‘owned’ the potato. That just doesn’t seem as interesting as Whisky/Whiskey though!
- Castles. The touristy Urquhart Castle’s ruins were expensive and not that impressive, but again, they seem to draw the tourist busses as its located right on the Loch Ness shore. The view over the Loch – between the showers – was the highlight. We did return to Loch Ness when the sun was shining so we did see it in better conditions that the first time around.
- Inverness. A tourist haven but a nice enough small city with an impressive castle overlooking the River Ness, which is now used as the court house. Really liked the authentic Kilt Shop as well as the Whisky Shop.
- Haggis. Who would believe that chopped up sheep’s liver, lungs and heart mixed with stock, herbs and barley and then boiled whilst wrapped inside the sheep’s stomach would taste so good. Must be all the spices! We have tried it at the pub, bought it from the supermarket, as well as the local butcher, and cooked it ourselves.
Our time in Scotland continues with a trip across the highlands to the eastern coast and then on to the capital, Edinburgh, for which we have high expectations.