Go to Another Vacation

Scotland and England - September 2002


September 7 - Flight to London

Flew direct to London Heathrow. Made the great mistake of asking a cab driver if it was a short trip to Acton or if we should take the underground. He made us put our own bags in the car and then ripped us off for $50. Lesson: take the underground.

September 8 - Flight to Orkney, Skara Brae

Flew BMI to Glasgow, Inverness, and then to Orkney. BMI, a subcontractor for British Airways, did not have a check in gate for our flight. The flight is then delayed an hour. Our connection is delayed several more hours. Lesson: take Iceland air to Iceland and then to Scotland.

Met the most fantastic couple on the flight. Exchanged addresses and hope to visit them if we ever make it to the Shetland Islands.

Troubles with Tullock car rental. Reserved car has been given to another driver. They can, however, do us the great favor of letting us rent a more expensive car as long as we have it back before 11 am the next day. I say 4 pm and we need a ride to the ferry after that. They agree. We waste more time wandering around the available rental cars in the lot before we find ours in the overflow area.

We ask if Skara Brae is close. "It is very far from here". We ask how long it might take. The say "about 30 minutes".

Skara Brae and Maeshowe were exceptional. Standing Stones of Stenness and the ring of Brogar were amazing, too. Camped in Evie at the Eviedale Campsite. best camping site ever, with Northern Lights to boot.

September 9 - Island of Rousay

Breakfast at Woodwich House (www.orknet.co.uk/woodwick). Only $10 for two breakfasts. Very nice place.

Traveled the circumference of Rousay, making stops at several archeological sites, including Midhowe Broch and Tomb. Watched the seals play in the ocean and hiked hills of heather. Spent the night at Balfour Castle.

September 10 - Flight Aberdeenshire

BMI maintains consistency and cancels our flight due to fog without announcing it. Sweet talk with the baggage handler gets us a coveted seat on a later flight. Lesson: Orkney has no radar.

Car rental troubles again. End up with the largest car in the fleet and we don't know how to get it out of the lot. Other people have the same trouble and one guy goes over the curb. Another goes down the road on the wrong side.

We follow the map and look for historic sites. Many to be found and all are nice. After dark we went to the campground only to find they do not accept tents. We drive back and find a B&B that just opened. Lovely couple - can't wait to come back. She even did our laundry, warmed our pants on the Aga and ironed our socks. Her husband made a map for us to our next destination and listed out sites we would like. Map was precise and perfect.

Oh yes - breakfast was fabulous. House was gorgeous. Heated towel rack in a spacious bathroom. World's softest bed sheets. Lovely views.

September 11 - Aberdeenshire

Castles and Gardens. Lovely drive up to Balmoral and then down to Dundee to meet with some friends. I am ready to move here. Night at the Days Inn near the country border.

September 12 - Hadrian's Wall, Gardens

Early morning start to drive along Hadrian's Wall. Stop at a few gardens on the way to Stonehenge - tomorrow's plan. Stayed at a very old B&B.

September 13 - Stonehenge, White Horses of Wiltshire, White Horse of Uffington

Saw the awesome beauty of Stonehenge with eight million other visitors. Found two white horses and the drove to Uffington to see the ancient one. Well worth the trip.

Quickly depart for London only to find that the B&B canceled our reservation without notice - but let us stay there anyway.

September 14 - Kew Gardens, Return home

Kew gardens was a great trip and a half day allowed us to see many parts of it. It also allowed for us to note other parts of the gardens we would like to visit when we return.