Travelling up from the Sussex Coast, Venues & Locations
02.10.2010 - 09.12.2011 17 °C
This part our of trip was taken during our october planning trip and the weather was amazing! Although we had planned to leave for Scotland early on Friday morning; we couldn’t sleep – so- we jumped out of bed, giggling like naughty school children and left the house on Thursday night at 10pm.
We drove through the night (of course I slept some of the way) and stopped only a few times for wee wee breaks.
By the time we reached the north Lake District; Mike had had enough. Luckily, at this point, we were at the Tebay Services Junction 38 and stopped off for 5 hours sleep at the Westmoorland Hotel. £98.00. Our room was lovely and good value, certainly somewhere that we would stay again.
By this time it was 4:30am and Mike had been driving for 6:30 hours.
We slept very well and had a look around the really quaint and well stocked farm shop.
We left the services at 11.20am for Carlisle.
We had to stop shortly after leaving the Tebay Services, at around 11:40am and left again at 12:00.
This location was at the M6 Southwaite Sevices, just south of Carlisle (Edinburgh, Bonnyrigg and Galashiels turn off).
I found the most amazing tourist office here; it held information on all of Scotland – I was in my glory!
This is the place for picking up everything you need to plan your trip.
Our first wedding venue visit was at Dalhousie Castle 2:45pm
I am afraid that we were not impressed from the very beginning….
The main driveway was potholed and the main car park outside reception was a disaster area for ladies shoes!
The gravel drive was more like asteroid rock on the moon – large and very uneven. We were so surprised that such an exclusive member of the Von Essen group could be such a mess!
Inside wasn’t much better….
• There was no lift – we were on the top floor!
• The décor was tired – wallpaper stained and ripped in places. Woodwork was scratched and varnish peeled off.
• Wardrobe hinges broken and handle came off in Mike’s hand.
• Carpet in bedroom soiled and stained.
• Info book was falling apart.
• Bedding had a mark on it.
• Heating didn’t work
• Old radiator had been removed in bathroom and left holes and ripped wallpaper.
• Ill fitting bathroom screen
• Toilet seat fixed to one side
• Spa area – Hydro pool was luke warm – not the temperature expected for a heated muscle therapy, especially one you paid extra for!
• Aromatherapy sensation shower – side jets didn’t work and was not hot. Also there was no scent of any infusions!
• The relaxation area was too cold and had a disgusting old teak table – not fit for the garden. It was chipped and peeling – fit only for a garden fire!
The only pleasant experience that we had was our evening meal in the Dungeon Restaurant. The room was lovely and very authentic and the food was good. Just remember, that this was OUR experience of this hotel and yours may be entirely different.
Our next stop was in the sleepy village of Rosslyn – now called Roslin, Just south Of Edinburgh; although, it wasn’t really that sleepy, with the many tourists that come to visit the famous Rosslyn Chapel. It took us only 15 mins to arrive from Bonnyrigg. We can’t describe the beauty of this 500 year old building. So many religions, knights and mysteries are imbued in this place, that no one really knows for sure what secrets lay buried here; yet the staggering quality and variety of stonemasonry here is visibly awesome and very much a reality of the unique talent that helped this chapel achieve such interest from the endless visitors that come here.
Edinburgh is the breathtakingly beautiful capital of Scotland, an exciting place to visit at any time of year. Edinburgh offers you superb sightseeing, historic buildings to explore, quiet galleries and museums to intrigue you, thrilling new attractions to discover, serious shopping, a vast choice of excellent Restaurants, Bistros, Wine Bars, Pubs and Cafes, and nightlife to suit all tastes.
Discover the mysteries of the Royal Mile, the romance of Holyrood Palace, the iconic Scottish Parliament and the grandeur of Princes Street
Edinburgh town was drenched in sunlight; we couldn’t believe our luck, especially when we heard that it was raining at home. Our whole trip could be described as an Indian Summer.
Mike surprised me with an afternoon tea at the Balmoral Hotel. The three tier cake stand was crammed with different sandwiches, cakes and biscuits – slurped down with exotic teas – yummy! The five star hotel was like a white fairytale, all light and bright with a touch of rainforest. We could barely move off the sofa afterwards. This didn’t stop us though, from walking the famous Royal Mile.
After an awful night’s sleep, due to late night football enthusiasts in the bar beneath us; we left for Stonehaven at 10:05am. Travelling over the Forth Bridge on the A90 and on to the A92 to Dundee – a town we may visit another day – looks interesting! We travelled along the coastal road and arrived in Stonehaven at 1:20pm. It had taken us 3 hours 15 mins, inc stops. After settling in at the Heugh Hotel, we left for our venue appointment at Drumtochty Castle at 4pm. The castle was stunning, but something just didn’t quite click with us; it just seemed a little too disjointed and not suitable for a smaller wedding like ours.
For those of you who are looking for a stunning palace-like venue, then this is for you. It is huge and has open plan airy rooms that sweep into each other, in a variety of colours and splendour. It also has the most quaint chapel nearby to marry in, should you wish.
Feeling a little concerned that our trip had not revealed a suitable wedding venue; we began to wonder if our last choice might be disappointing. We left Stonehaven at 9:40am along the A97 and A941. This was a scenic drive with many highland cattle and sweeping roads. When we reached the A941 after Dufftown, we knew we had surfaced among the famous whisky trail. The most spectacular distillery was the Glenfiddich, so we stopped for a very informative tour on how the great golden brew is made. Spent a fortune in the shop and even I enjoyed the tour. We left at 2:50pm
The drive though the whisky trail was enchanting and we even stopped off at a quaint Inn called The Grouse, right in the middle of nowhere. We reached Elgin fairly quickly and passed Inverness Airport.; which is only 10 mins away from the town. We stayed for 2 nights at the Waterside Hotel. The accommodation was ok and the food was very good £80.00 a night inc breakfast. The location was brilliant; right next to the castle and walking distance to town. We spent the next day in town, resting from the long drive. The town is very pretty and has a helpful tourist centre.
Our final venue lay approx two minutes drive outside Inverness (North West) on the A862. Something about the drive leading up to Bunchrew House gave us an excited feeling of expectation and hope. As soon as the house came into view, we knew this was a special place. We instantly fell in love with its quirky faint pink walls and fairytale turret. Large enough to be a perfect wedding venue, yet small enough to be intimate and cosy – we had arrived home…
The warm welcome and embracing charm of the house revealed itself throughout the viewing that Deborah gave us and in no time at all, we were planning; who, what, when and where for our special day.
Because we fell in love with Bunchrew, we decided to stay for 2 nights. Having the extra time allowed us to tour the surrounding area. On Wednesday, we drove west to Kirkhill on the A862 around the Beauly Firth and up to Dingwall. From Dingwall, we crossed over the bridge onto the Black Isle on the A9 and followed the road to its northern most tip – Cromarty. The mountainous background and firth were breathtaking, even when two fighter jets came zipping past us, we were only momentarily distracted.
The drive took 2:30 hours and we saw red squirrels, a kestrel and herons.
Steeped in history Bunchrew House Hotel is a 17th century Scottish mansion, offering excellent hotel accommodation and award-winning cuisine. Our highland welcome to this quality Inverness hotel, is second to none.
Three miles from Inverness city centre but a million miles away in location, lies our finest of Inverness hotels set in 20 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland sitting right on the waters edge of the Beauly Firth. A stone plaque dated 1621 over one fire-place records the marriage of Simon the eighth Lord Lovat (Lord who built the house) and Lady Jane, a cousin of the Earl of Moray.
The garden is magnificent with lovely rolling lawns surrounded by mature shrubs and trees. Pride of place belongs to the 250 year old Cedar of Lebanon, locally known as the The Loving Tree, and a holly tree at the edge of our top lawn is claimed to be the oldest in Scotland. Many specimen trees were planted more than a century ago and small signs are pinned to many of them indicating the species. They also have our own herb garden which ensures a constant supply of fresh herbs for Walter's kitchen.
Bunchrew's luxury, 4 star hotel rooms are individually decorated and have their own unique character and sense of style. The rooms do not have numbers but are named after local places and Scottish clans associated with the House. We have now stayed in Cedar, Lovat & Wyvis rooms and have loved all of them.
The Black Isle is not an island but is, in fact, a peninsula, in the Scottish Highlands. It is about 23 miles long by about 9 miles wide at its broadest point and is more or less oval in shape. Situated just to the north of Inverness with Dingwall to the west, it can be reached via the A9 from the south or north, or the A832 from the west.
It is attached to the mainland at the heads of the Cromarty and Beauly Firths, and the description 'Black' is no more correct than 'Isle'. The exact origin of its name is unknown, though there are at least six possible explanations of why it became the "Black" Isle, ranging from the most intriguing, through its association with witchcraft and the black arts in mediaeval times, to the more prosaic, that the soil here is very black, or that it has so many trees that it looks black when viewed from surrounding areas in winter.
We also drove up to Corrieshalloch Gorge which is on the A835 at Braemore, 12m miles east of Ullapool, on the Ullapool to Inverness Road. When you drive along the road dont forget your camera as the trees and views are spectacular in themselves. Suddenly on this twisting road the parking area for the gorge appears, and more often than not is quite busy with tourists.
£1 (honesty box)
This breathtaking mile-long gorge, is one of the finest examples in Britain of a box canyon, its 61 m (200 ft) deep. The river plunges 46 m (150 ft) over the Falls of Measach. There is a suspension bridge a little way downstream from the falls this was built by John Fowler (1817-98), he was also a joint designer of the Forth Railway Bridge. John Fowler bought the estate of Braemore in 1867. Further downstream, there is a viewing platform it provides an excellent vantage point looking up towards the spectacular falls of course for this you will need a head for heights.
Lochcarron is another destination we toured - a pretty village of whitewashed cottages on the north shore of LochCarron in the Wester Ross district.
Situated on the shores of Loch Carron, this gem of the Western Highlands of Scotland offers every holiday maker the peace and tranquility of a true Highland holiday. With an abundance of wildlife and scenery, Lochcarron is an ideal location to base yourself to explore the west coast of Scotland giving easy access to the Isle of Skye, Applecross, Torridon and Gairloch. We had driven through Aultbea, Poolewe and Gairloch and Loch Maree – Taliadale A832. Then onto Torridon, Shieldan and back up to Achnashea. It took us approx 6 hours to complete the round trip and it was amazing.
Coming home the next day; we left at 9am, after saying our thanks and goodbyes. We drove alongside the entire length of Loch Ness. At this point there are lots of toilet stops and shops, villages and bridges. The scenery was fantastic the whole drive down to Fort William and Ben Nevis visitor centre has everything a tourist could wish for!
After Ben Nevis, we had a long drive. Throughout this hour and a half, there were no toilet facilities and not even a big enough rock to hide behind. Luckily, it was not an issue. Our fist major civilisation point was the Green Welly visitor centre – a much needed and warmly welcoming tourist sanctuary. We stopped here at 1pm. Another hour later and we were struggling through Glasgow.
Mike had energy to spare and drove all the way home in one go. We arrived home at 11:30pm. We had the most fantastic trip and can’t wait to go back again. Our plans for the wedding will now be set in motion – Inverness – here we come!!!