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Scotland

 

Ceud Mile Filte!

That's Gaelic for "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes". Did you know the Scots are world famous for their friendliness, as well as their spectacular scenery, cities and towns rich in heritage and history, culture and cuisine?

There are tours and packages to every region of Scotland and to suit almost any special interest or activity...golf, walking, hiking or even skiing.

Scotland offers an unlimited choice at any time of year. Do you have Celtic Connections? Why not look up those long lost relatives? Wondering where to stay? How about a castle, a manor house, cottage, hotel or even a lighthouse. There are plenty of charming local B&Bs and guest houses, too.

Fly direct from the US to Glasgow, Scotland's city of culture, with its striking Victorian architecture, Royal Concert Hall, Theater Royal and great galleries and museums--many celebrating the work of the 20th-century architect, designer and artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. There's also great nightlife and shopping, too. Edinburgh, the capital city, is home to the new Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Castle--check out the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny. The Royal Mile sweeps down from the castle through the medieval old town to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland. Every summer the city hosts the annual Edinburgh International Festival, the Fringe Festival and the Military Tattoo.

Scotland

 

Getting around is easy...rent a car, or take a train, plane, bus or ferry. Explore the South of Scotland, with its rugged seacoasts and rolling farmland, where Robert the Bruce, Sir Walter Scott and Robert "Rabbie" Burns--Scotland's national poet--lived. There are ancient abbeys, castles, historic houses and 44 golf courses, including Royal Troon, Turnberry and Prestwick. Less than one hour north of Glasgow is the start of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, encompassing one of Scotland's most famous Lochs, Stirling's Old Town, and castle to the Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute in the west. Here the lowlands meet the mountains of the north and west.

Just north of Edinburgh across the Firth of Forth's famous bridge, is Perthshire, Angus, Dundee and the Kingdom of Fife. Here you'll find the "Home of Golf": St Andrews, a beautiful old university town on the windswept east coast.

There are also numerous castles and gardens, palaces, potteries and whisky distilleries around the area, although Dundee is famous for its weaving industry--and Dundee cake. Aberdeen, the "Silver City", due to the sparkling silver granite of the buildings, and the surrounding Grampian Highlands area, offer a series of self-guided car trails for visitors: The Castle Trail, which follows the River Dee--a great spot for salmon fishing--along Royal Deeside to Balmoral, the Scottish summer home of the Royal family; the Malt Whisky Trail featuring seven local distilleries; and the Coastal Trail.

The Highlands of Scotland offer one of the last wildernesses in Europe. Don't miss the soaring beauty of Glencoe, the windswept heather clad moors or the majestic Ben Nevis--the highest mountain in Britain. John O'Groats is the most northerly town on the mainland. Nearby, there's the Caithness Glass Center at Wick, and Ullapool and the wooded ravine gardens at Inverewe, which despite the northerly location enjoy a mild and gentle climate (you'll find palm trees and other exotic plants growing here). The highland "capital" city is Inverness, on the banks of the River Ness. Follow this down the Caledonian Canal to Fort William and Loch Ness--where you may not see the Loch Ness monster but are sure to enjoy the stunning Urquhart Castle. From Fort William westwards to Mallaig, "The Road to the Isles" passes the Glenfinnan monument where Bonnie Prince Charles rallied the Clans, and runs alongside an impressive viaduct of one of the "Great Railway Journeys of the World"--the Fort William to Mallaig railway.

 

The Scottish Islands offer some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery with mountains, lakes, ancient castles and monuments, and miles of unspoiled beaches. Explore the northern isles of Shetland and Orkney, with their prehistoric remains at Skara Brae and Jarlshof, the fiery Viking festivals and the southern isles of Arran, famous for the sheep and woolen sweaters. The island of Mull, and the adjacent tiny island of Iona is the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. Climb the Cuillin Mountains on the Isle of Skye, or take a trip to Fingal's Cave on Staffa.

Windsurf off the beaches of Tiree or explore one of more than 50 islands within the Hebridean chain, including the mysterious stone circle at Calanais on the Isle of Lewis--it's far more impressive than Stonehenge! With wild, windswept, unspoiled white sand beaches, abundant wildlife and thousands of seabirds, spinning, weaving, whisky and fabulous seafood, there's always plenty to see. Getting around is easy with ferry services that connect the islands to the mainland; there are even special Hopscotch Tickets available to get the most from Island Hopping.

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