What are the 'Brexit' consequences for Scotland holidays?
At the very first nothing will change as long as the English Government has not submitted any application at Brussels. As Mr. Cameron is shilly-shallying and abdicates his responsibility by resignation, the English Government is playing for time.
So let's assume that one day Great Britain is no longer an EU-member and we want to go to Scotland. Let's further assume that Scotland is not successful in trying to get rid of London by referendum and stay with the EU.
For Scotland fans like us this will mean:
- travel costs (ferry, plane) will increase
- roaming fees are not adapted to EU-standard and will increase as well
- due to the equally more expensive trips abroad the English will stay on the island and invade Scotland
- customs clearance has always been slow in England and perhaps will be the more so
- in all prices will increase on the island because with the No to EU customs and other transition levies are possible again
- ID card was always required as England never joined the Schengen-Treaty. It is hardly to be expected that visa are required
- as the currency together with the British economy will decline, the exchange rate will be favourable for us - thus at least partly making up the increased prices
Racism and animosity towards foreigners dramatically increased after the Brexit, primarily in England. For this reason we will not visit Great Britain for the time being.Write comment (0 Comments)
The 'Island of Columns'
A cable at the oar is ruptured – the start is delayed.
Somewhat whistfully we say farewell to Lunga and the cute puffins.
Soon Staffa comes into sight – the 'Island of Columns'.
Here Mendelssohn-Bartholdy is said to have been inspired to his Hebrides-Overture...
He especially had liked ‚Fingal's Cave'. We are waiting eagerly.
In the end we have to change the boat and the former one is sent to repair.
Fascinating – hexagonal basalt columns of solidified lava all over the place...
...created by a gigantic subsurface explosion about 60 million years ago.
Also here puffins can be found, but first of all we are here because of ‚Fingal's Cave -
80 metres long and 10 metres wide, named after the mythological Celtic hero Fingal.
It is hardly credible that all this is natural.
The ceiling, gleaming greenish, seems to be made of mirrors...
The cheerful boatman tells us that once a rich American made a present of this island...
... to his wife. She however was not very happy with it and made a present...
... of Staffa to the Scots, or to be exact to the Trust for Scotland.
In the background the islands of Gometra and Ulva can be made out.
Only further up you can see and realize what a fantastic basalt-creation this is.
Take care, there is no railing!
Down yonder the boat is waiting for us. Back we go.
Soon Fionnphort is in sight again.Write comment (0 Comments)
Mull, Starting the Journey
After a rough journey we reached Newcastle.
The check-in and the start from Amsterdam/Ijmuiden went fine like every year.
This always is an exciting moment.....
... a few minutes before embarkation starts...
Here we go. The forecast announced rough sea.
We gladly reach Newcastle after a stormy night.
Scotland, here we go!
We do not tarry and across the Scottish Border...
...a short stop - like always...
... we continue our way to Perth...
... down the Trossachs.
In June the mountaintops are actually still covered with snow.
Like last time in Oban, we stop at the Failte-B&B.
Dunollie Castle – closed since 4.00 p.m., what a pity.
Beside the grand view we enjoy an excellent breakfast at the Failte.
Now the time has come – we’re going to Mull to face the puffins!
We haven’t the least idea that very soon and much too early we shall be back here.
Passing the lighthouse of Lismore...
.. we come to Craignure.
less than 100 people do live here,you find a grocery, a camp site and many fishing boats.
The holy Island of Iona is not far....
There are clean beaches next to the harbour....
...and some traffic every now and then...
From Fionnphort the ships to Iona, Staffa and Lunga depart.
This ship goes to Iona.
Sorting the catch of the day.
Not far from Tobermory you find a wee paradise.
First however the road gets narrower and narrower. Cycle Trail is written here...
Passing Bloody Bay, we are travelling a heavenly landscape until we reach a park.
Scotland-buffaloes bar the path, then we are there.
Glengorm Castle, beautifully situated at the Sound of Mull. Ardnamurchan in the background, the most western point of the Scottish mainland.
A park and a small coffee shop - time for a rest...
...enjoying tea, coffee, and cakes.
A stately castle, offering B&B at hefty prices.
On we go, passing the castle. We the reach a scenery....
...right away like paradise.
A trail takes out towards our destination and never the saying has been as true as here:
Here really the journey is its own reward. Including 'Charly', the young bull...
... or a sheep, apparently feeling right swell.
Highland Cattle taking a nap in the sun. In the background the Sound of Mull.
Here we are:
The Standing Stones of Glengorm.
3 well preserved rocks of about 2 meters height.
Everybody who is anybody peacefully resting and grazing.
Visitors are a rarety. The animals are most trusting.
Nevertheless: Better keep a distance from the chief bull.
A cute hair cut...
Finally we leave the wee paradise.
'O no, not another castle’, I thought when we approached the Isle of Mull. A short way after the lighthouse of Lismore Duart Castle could just not be overlooked at the northern tip of the island. It wasn’t for my wife anyhow and so she dragged me there.
Let’s say right from the start that this time it was fully worthwhile.
The Maclean Clan owns Duart Castle.
The successors of the clan take good care of it.
You notice that at once. It is far better kept than many a castle...
... in the custody of the state.
Everything looks like someone having lived in here up to yesterday...
... and down we go.
This prisoner was a shipwrecked Spaniard of the 16th century.
By the way: This is a loo.
In the middle of the 17th century the castle was deserted...
... and happily went derelict until the early 20th century.
Then the Macleans bought back the castle and had it restaurated.
Anthony Hopkins, Sean Connery, and Catherine Zeta-Jones shot movies here.
Over a circular staircase we reach the so called Battlement.
View without limit… and not often does it happen that you can look from one castle...
... across Duart Bay at another castle.
Somehow the lighthouse of Lismore is omnipotent.
The Trossachs, snow is lying on the peaks, further left the Ben Nevis.
The stairs are turning to the right, making it difficult for attackers to draw their weapons.
Duart Castle looks bulky but isn’t after all.
Here you can make out on what kind of rock massive the castle is built.
The neighbouring restaurant/coffee shops leaves nothing to desire.
A plain churchyard...
… and steep cliffs.
And back we go...
Now, what was it...
Right, a long time ago when we were on Ardnamurchan with the kids. We had taken the ferry and spent a day in pouring rain in Tobermory.
This time the day starts rather misty...
.. but the sun will be there soon – hopefully.
The ambiance of the scenery is splendid.
We drive along the coastal road via Salen and Craignure.
And we have no idea that soon we shall be back to these places.
Some time we leave the ‘main road’...
.. and follow a side road.
Driving slowly makes you enjoy the landscape all the more.
We are going right through the clouds...
Sometimes a sheep lazes around on the street...
... or we pass waterfalls...
.. and more than one narrow bridge.
Only when approaching Tobermory the view gets better.
At many a place we sincerely hope that there is no oncoming traffic.
Arriving at Tobermory.
The whisky distillery of course is not lacking...
Admirably colourful houses and small shops all over the place.
Here you will find handmade chocolates.
Tobermory has a population of about 750.
This boat has seen better days...
Glancing at the so called upper town.
In 1905 some bishop had this clock erected.
From 'Cafe Fish' you have a fine view on Ardnamurchan.
Here the ferry to Kilchoan/Ardnamurchan leaves.
Any number of cute shops in Main Street.
We take a look at some of the shops, then drive back to the south end of the island.
Dream Coast with Weaving Mill
By and by our time here comes to an end, thoughts wandering to the northern coast – our next stop.
However, we learned about a weaving mill and consequently set out to Ardalanish.
Sheep are our guides...
Quite a distance to the letter box...
No doubt – this is the way to the weaving mill.
First of all however down to the beach – another of these dream beaches.
Looks more dangerous than it is...
The whole beach to ourselves.
It’s rather warm and we are glad to get into the cool building.
Machines all over the place...
Interesting to see how tweed is produced.
I’d like to have taken along a sheep skin for a friend but the wool...
…comes off the Hebrides as the young woman explains to us.
She shows us all the machines which as matter of fact are still in use.
Martina listens to any number of explanations while I am paying a visit to the tea room.
At last: the coffee is ready!
There’s also a small shop – and quantities of cloth.
Then we set out to return home.
Beaches and Landscape
There are so many beautiful and interesting things to see on Isle of Mull.
However, here are a few stunning and interesting places.
Somewhere after Loch Assapol we leave the car and walk down a rocky road to Scoor Beach.
Lonelyness, mobiles do not work here, no net.
A dream beach, clean sand, clean water - no one in sight.
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Scotland by Plane
Upto this day for travelling to Scotland we had always taken the train or the car and the ferry. This time the car stayed at home and we tried the plane. Let me tell you: Once bitten, twice shy!
Checking in was already something very special.
"Unfortunately the flight is overbooked, you have to go via Frankfurt", an offical of XLM (name slightly changed) explained to us with a sardonic smirk. Hum, begging pardon, but what for did we book seats? We declined the offered 75 Euro, the offered free visit to a hairdresser plus any kind of perks on the next flight. Landing somewhere nowhere did not appear very tempting to us. Their fashion of overbooking flights is actually not our business.
A short time later with the body check there was the first confrontation with authorities in arms. My beloved Zippo-lighter was ranking as danger for the safety on board and the peace of the world. None of the three uniformed gentlemen on my request desired to buy the lighter on good terms. So together with my fuel-lighter I had to leave the airport building to "burn it empty" as the officer humorously suggested. Nice trick! Until the fuel had burnt out, the plane would have been in the air and the problem of overbooking brilliantly solved. So outside the building I took out wick and cotton and stuffed everything into my trouser pocket.
Nevertheless the departure went quite wrong. With a delay of 45 minutes the plane took off. The next drama was waiting for us in Amsterdam.
While still being in the stack over Amsterdam and yearningly looking down to the ferry port of Ijmuiden (below), the captain informed over loudspeaker that there will not be any difficulty at all reaching the connecting flight to Edinburgh. Swell, so we jacknifed out of the plane - to waste valuable time at the next check.
Down there is Ijmuiden - here the ferries to Newcastle are starting.
"Wat is dit?" the Dutch safety expert gasped when searching my purse. I remained where I was, facing some problems with my slipping trousers the belt of which - most suspicious - had long been taken from me to be thoroughly examined by a safety team.
"Dit is an file", I explained in my very best Dutch. I was not certain but felt like all snipers of the border officials going into position at this moment. Very slowly I moved towards the terrified officer, having some trouble not to stumble over my working down trousers. Indeed I had been missing that dastard nail file for some time; it had hidden in one of the wallet compartments. A hastily called in team of experts did not succeed even with their best efforts to lure the coward file out of its hiding place. The situation appeared to be out of control. In the distance I heard the wailing of sirens - was this the Dutch Royal Army approaching? One general looked straight into my eyes for a long time - I stood my ground. He then said: "All right!" The file was permitted to pass.
In spite of a record-breaking sprint there was nothing doing as to the connecting fligth. The plane had not taken off (delayed?) but the sign "Gate closed" smirked at us. The area was deserted like the German Bundestag during a debate on voters' frustration. Demotivated, we crept back to the XLM-booth.
"Oops, I'm sorry, but these things happen", a blue cladded lady consoled us. "You could try it once more in three hours. Seats? Why seats? If nothing is vacant, you try the next fligh in... six or eight hours!"
Several safety officers hindered me in in dismanteling the XLM-counter. For consolation we received a few vouchers which we accepted listlessly. However, we could squander the vouchers at 'Murphy's Pub' (recommendable). Thus sustained, we took along the remaining vouchers - we had a plan! Back now to the XLM-counter.
The safety teams around us cocked their weapons when we approached the counter. With the most innocent of all innocent faces and with friendly smiles we put the pile of vouchers onto the counter.
"One upgrade on the Edinburgh flight, please. Thank you!"
Silence in the complete terminal! German hackers without mery attacked the one weak point in the otherwise safe system. The Royal Army around us was powerless; no orders were existing for a case like this! Followed a hectic phone marathon while we stood by, waiting with innocent faces.
After several recalls of the Royal Home Office and Government representatives some brigthly smiling she-major handed us tickets for the very best seats in the plane. Here we are, there's a peaceful solution for everything!
Soon we enjoyed the flight to Edinburgh while the Royal Dutch Army retreated today.
At last: Take-off in Schiphol
Quite another view on Amsterdam
Landing in Edinburgh
Touchdown in Edinburgh went without problems. Back on Scottish ground at last. Now everything would be different. It was indeed, no body-groping, friendly welcome with bright sunshine and a few minutes later we were standing at the stop of bus line 19. We bought a return ticket as we had scheduled to go back in a few days.
On we went with a double-decker zu Waverly Station, right in the city of Edinburgh. Half an hour later we reached there.
The sun was bright and we moved into our quarters. We soon made friends here, especially with a Scottish plumber who visited us several times. In all he came three times to solve a little problem with a tap which did not want to splash any water. We quite took him to our hearts but on a rainy day we unfortunately had to leave. In the distance we could make out Arthur's Seat. From there we had had a great view on the town.
Down Princess Street (tram not yet finished)
Passing St. John's by double-decker...
Changing in Schiphol/Amsterdam? An olympic race with time. Perhaps they created the film title "Amsterdamned" here. Probably our looking a little bit knocked out after a 2 km spurt caused the border authorities to have mercy. A short inspection and we, bathed in sweat, were allowed to climb into the bus to the plane.
Finally we approached cloud-covered Hamburg. Here are the last minutes of the flight.
Through the Clouds:
Iona – the holy island of the Scots
Iona is an island of the Inner Hebrides in Scotland. The biggest islands of the Inner Hebrides are Skye and Mull. Iona is one of the smaller ones. For centuries Iona represented the spiritual centre of Scotland, so we were most expectant what would await us there.
We chose the rather short tour from Fionnphort, which by the way is pronounced Finnpho'.
This time the journey was to be much easier so that we took the ferry from Fhionnphort on Mull to Iona.
To avoid the hords of tourists, we travelled on a Sunday morning with the best of weathers.
We took the route along the coast, passing neat gardens and looking out to Mull...
past St. Columba's Chapel.
Less than one kilometre and we reach Iona Abbey.
Ahead of us the cloister of Iona.
A holy well with sacred water. The legend says that the end of the world will be there when these stones, the 'Clachan Brath', the 'Prayer Stones' are completed abraded.
From this place Christendom is said to have spread across the greatest part of Scotland.
Again and again the name of Calum Cille, St. Columba, occurs.
'St. Columba's Pillow', which in the beginning was lying at his grave...
and later was taken into the abbey.
At the main entrance headsets with acoustic information can be got as audioguide. Martina takes them but I prefer to concentrate on the optic impressions.
They exist in abundance. A church with so many side rooms that one can almost go astray.
Everywhere burial places of Scotish kings like Malcolm II, Macbeth, Duncan I and many others.
Windows, pure beauties...
Here Mull can be sighted in the background.
This window shows St. Columba, who died in 597.
In the 5th century Calum Cille began to build this cloister which became the centre of Scottish Christendom.
Of course also the Vikings have been here and wreaked their customary havoc.
At the end of the 1st millenium the several times demolished cloister was abandoned.
From the base of the cloister the abbey was newly erected in the 12th century.
Afterwards the cloister passed through several Scottish clans and in the beginning of the 19th century the church was built once more.
Now and then you can find green penetrating the old walls.
A baptismal font...
...of course they hold regular services here.
1938 the ecumenical Iona Community was founded.
Iona Abbey is under the administration of the Historic Scotland Society.
A pious, almost opressive silence...
Small chapel in a side room of the main church.
All the time you find commemorative plaques along the walls.
Here were are in the cloistered courtyard.
Delicately chiselled capitals...
On this level you also find the conference area of the Iona Community...
A sculpture called 'Descend of the Spirit'. Indeed?
Beside cloister and abbey we find a small exhibition.
And that's something to look at:
The Book of Kells!
One last glance at the cloister and we proceed to Findlay's Rock, to the head of Iona.
Findlay's Rock is the northern head of Iona.
There is actually nothing special here except sheep, rocks, and beach.
It does not take us long from the abbey. Iona after all is only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.
Soon we reach the Traigh an t-Suidhe (Beach of the Seat).
Over there is the uninhabited isle of Eilean nam Ban.
Looking out to the islands of Staffa, Little Colonsay, Gometra,
Ulva, Lunga, and also Bac Mor, a tiny island looking like a sombrero from the distance. It is also called Dutchman's Cap.
Staffa, zoomed by telephoto. Fingal's Cave can be clearly made out.