Go Vauxhaul go! We headed west in Scotland. Drove towards Glassgow from Edinburgh and then went north towards the Loch Lomond area (basically driving straight across the country on a tank of gas).
The next B&B we were staying at was near Loch Ard, or actually, was right smack on Lock Ard. The trip there consisted of driving on roads that got narrower and narrower until we got to the village of Aberfoyle and the last three miles were on a road that was a bit wider than a standard American driveway - and this road was for traffic going both ways. Granted it was gorgeous countryside as the road ran next to the Loch, but it was nerve racking to be constantly slamming on the brakes and trying to get as far as possible to the side when you came in contact with an approaching car.
Altskeith The B&B we stayed at is called Altskeith, and it was, like many things there, simply lovely. The setting is great with big shady trees in the front yard, the Loch at the end of their driveway, and the Trossach mountains rising to the west. The innkeeper Tim was also superb - full of information about the area and just a generally nice chap. The bed was huge and inviting.
Our only issue was the weather. Upon our arrival there, the weather turned sour which irked me to no end because of the bag of un-used film and the landscape covered in clouds and fog and rain. I realize that weather in itself is great to photograph, but it tended to be this low contrasty everything gray look.
But we ate well and went to bed early a lot. There are all these little villages nearby and they all seemed to have one big pub/restaurant/inn that would serve huge plates of tasty local fare. We ate a lot of meat.
Castle The Buchanan Castle is situated on the current grounds of the Buchanan Golf Club. We wanted to take a photo of it, and drove in past the 'private' signs and found the ruins of the small castle on the end of a cul-de-sac. It was strange to find a castle in this little community with these slightly modern houses. Took a bunch of photos.
Loch Katrine To get to the the loch, we had to wind through the mountains nearby - part of the Trossach mountain range. Mountain area. Mountain place. Now this was some beautiful country - I mean apart from the rain.
At the loch you can take an old-school steamship that goes the length of the loch and it's great fun (except for the chilly rain that day). Oh well. We could tell that the area would probably be really pretty on a clear day. What we had planned to do was rent bicycles, take them on the boat, and then you can ride back to the where the boat took off on a little road that rings the loch - about 10 miles I think. The weather caused us to totally wimp out on riding bikes though.
Sterling The town of Sterling has a massive castle and is a fine looking little town. But, yea, the castle is massive. Many people say that it's the coolest castle in all of Scotland and from my expert knowledge of castles (I have seen maybe five) I would have to agree. When you are standing and looking over the castle's walls down at the town - way down there - you realize how powerful and commanding the castle must have been to the people of the town. Makes you want to be a king.
Tired Our last day in this area was fine, but I personally felt really burned out. Too much over-cooked meat. Too much rain. Not enough sun. Too many narrow roads. I realized that it was time to go when I started planning my dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi that we would have when we got home.
We left the Trossachs and headed south to Manchester to catch our flight back home the next day. An hour into the trip and the sun comes out. At this point, if I wasn't emotionphobic, I would have started to cry. We took our time getting to Manchester and stopped off a few times in little towns and ate and looked at things. The countryside looked beautiful with the sun finally poking through.
Glassgow We should have stayed a night in Glassgow - it looked really cool.
Manchester If I was younger with a more alcohol-friendly liver, I'd say we all go there and drink ourselves into a stupor. Manchester had a fun feel to it and the few hours I spent there I thoroughly enjoyed. I also have to give props to a restaurant that made some dope-ass crispy duck. Pacific is a massive Chinese on one floor, Thai on another restaurant. We had Chinese and it was possibly the best Chinese meal I have ever had (but this could have been just a reaction to eating something non-english). The crispy duck... literally, I could not eat it fast enough.
Sum All in all, I did enjoy our trip. If you ever go to Scotland, we found this site to a be a great resource, especially when looking for lodging: www.aboutscotland.com