WE TAKE THE SLOW ROAD . . . TO THE BONNIE BONNIE BANKS.
We weren’t going to let the grey and dreichy day spoil our excursion from the ship to the west of Scotland. Lunch in front of a log fire in an old Scottish coaching inn near the banks of Loch Lomond is medicine enough for low clouds and rain blotting out nearly all the light from the ‘bonnie bonnie banks’.
Hanging pots of fuschia and begonia outside little cottages, and bright red and orange rose hips intertwined in the hedges, add the touch of colour.
It didn’t matter that the sun was never going to peep through today. I’d written about the Trossachs and Loch Lomond fifty years ago, and I’ve never been.
And, despite Ken’s hesitation, I ordered haggis for the first time, an £11 experiment. At least I can now tell you that it is fifty percent oats with ground lamb, onion and heavily spiced; all tucked into the natural lining of a sheep’s lung. We all tasted. We’re all still breathing. But we’ll remember the salty Cumbrae oysters and beef and guiness pie better.
Making our way out of Edinburgh from the ship, our Scottish chatty cabby, Douglas, wants to show us the exclusive Fettes College, which J K Rowling used as the basis for her ‘Hogwarts’ Academy in the Harry Potter stories. (Tony Blair was educated here).
There are so many beautiful areas of this city – of squares, elegant stone mansions, established ‘green’, and wide streets (from the era when horse and carriages had to turnaround).
Then, over the Forth Bridge, and on the slow back-roads through little Scottish villages, forests, and fields of cows and sheep to reach Lake Lomond, gateway to the Highlands.