June 1 – Callander, June 2 – Stirling
We checked out of our B&B in Oban around 10:30am and then drove a little way along the “esplanade” which was lined with lovely old guesthouses. We stopped at the Dunollie Castle and museum parking lot and took some photos, and then drove further around the cape to a beach on Ganavan Bay. We were mostly just killing some time since we had less than a 2 hour drive to our B&B in Callander, and we wanted to see a little more of Oban. However, it was raining off and on so we didn’t spend much time outside.
At noon, we were on our way out of town, and we drove through some very pretty green country side with its rolling farmland and lovely woods. We arrived in Callander around 2pm, and checked into our beautiful room in a home owned by a young couple from the Czech Republic. There was a king bed, gorgeous furniture, and two big windows looking down on the street below.
Callander is a pretty town of about 3000 people with a number of walking trails that wind through the woods and along the Keltie River. However, as it was raining, we didn’t partake, at least not until the next morning. We had supper at a pub close by and relaxed for the evening.
In the morning, we checked out around 10am and then walked to Bracklinn Falls, which was absolutely gorgeous, and so peaceful, I’d love to go back and stay in the area for several days.
Originally, we had planned to stay with a cousin in Edinburgh for our last night in Scotland, but her plans changed and it didn’t work out, so we booked an Airbnb in Stirling for the next night (our room in Callander was already booked or we would have stayed a 2nd night). It worked out well because Stirling was close to the Edinburgh airport and we would have an easy drive for our flight the following morning.
Since we had the day ahead of us, and only a 45 minute drive to Stirling, we decided to go to the Battle of Bannockburn 3D Experience before we checked in, and which, as luck would have it, was free with our NTS pass. We definitely got our money’s worth out of that year pass and we will be able to use it on a number of venues in the UK next fall as well.
The 3D “game” was fun and we learned a lot of about this famous battle in Scottish history as Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, faced Edward ll of England in 1314. Happily, this was one occasion when the Scots trounced the Brits, and eventually, in 1328, the English finally recognized Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland.
After Bannockburn, we drove a mile down the road (yes, they still use ‘miles’ in the UK), and checked into our B&B. It was a beautiful old home owned by a widowed (I think), podiatrist. She had only one room that she rents out and it was probably one of the most beautiful rooms we’ve stayed in so far. It had 12″ ceilings, a huge king bed, beautiful antique furniture, and a big bay window. She was super friendly and kind, and we enjoyed playing with her two airdales (a big one, Herman, and a small one, Froohe).
After we checked in, we drove 30 minutes to Cullross (pronounced COO-ross), and checked out the neat little “royal burgh” that is still stuck in medieval times. We visited the Cullross “Palace”, not really a royal palace but a merchant’s home built in the 1600’s. What made this town, and the palace, particularly interesting was that a number of scenes from Outlander were filmed here. And yes, we used our NTS pass to get into the palace for free. We had lunch at a cafe and walked along the streets, before finally heading “home” to our B&B.
We enjoyed staying at Mary’s home, which was in a quiet residential neighbourhood but still had easy access to the town. In the evening, we walked into the old town of Stirling (about 1 1/2 km) and found a pub for supper. We had visited the amazing Stirling Castle in 2014 but it was cool to see the exterior again.
The next morning, Mary made us a beautiful breakfast, served next to the grand piano, in the sunny bay window of the living room, and we were on our way to the airport, by about 11am. We dropped off the car, and waited for our Ryanair flight to Dublin, which ended up being about an hour late.
We thoroughly enjoyed Scotland and I really want to go back again to see more – especially some of the islands. In fact, I’ve decided that Scotland is definitely my back-up country. 🙂
Next up: Dublin, Ireland