Scotland

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Scotland

  1. 1. From Edinburgh Castle, down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh spans centuriesof Scottish history, and continues to this day, as the capital of Scotland. When kids see theStone of Destiny, the coronation stone of Scottish kings and queens, if it werent for the glassand security system, kids would naturally want to take a seat.Edinburgh Castle – Visit Edinburgh Castle, a magnificent pile of rock, where the Scottishkings ruled, lived and fought against their enemies. Scads of weapons and armor in the GreatHall and be sure to see the Scottish crown jewels. The Stone of Destiny – where the Scottishkings and queens were crowned, has been returned to Scotland and is now on display in thecastle. Stick around for the "one oclock gun," fired every day at one oclock (except Sunday).Princes Street Gardens – The moat for Edinburgh Castle was drained in 17th century tomake way for these gardens. Climb up the 200 foot Scott Monument to Sir Walter Scott for astunning view of the city. Dont miss the statue of Scott and his dog at the base of themonument. Also, near the National Gallery of Scotland, look for the floral clock – on thequarter hour, a "cuckoo" comes out.Outlook Tower and Camera Obscura – From the tower, youll get an excellent panorama ofthe city. The Camera Obscura, a tourist attraction since the 19th century, is a giant pinholecamera, where images of the city are projected onto a viewing area.Brass Rubbing Centre (off High Street) – One family writes that they went several times tothe Brass Rubbing Centre with their kids. The Centre is located in Trinity church and has avaried collection of stones and brasses to make rubbings.Museum of Childhood – This museum should really be called the "Museum with the MostToys." Toys of all kinds, moving toys, stuffed toys, war toys (tin soldiers model airplanes),paper toys, toys from around the world. You cant miss another amazing dollhouse, six feetlong and four feet high, complete with lights and running water, and a huge doll collection.Holyrood Park – Holyrood Park encompasses 650 acres, a natural landscape so close to thecity. Holyrood Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth when she visits Edinburgh.The palace, founded by James IV in 1498, was also where Mary Queen of Scots Italiansecretary, David Riccio, was murdered.Climb up Arthurs Seat, an extinct volcano 822 ft. high. The easiest path up is to start on theeastern side at Dunsapie Loch. Dont miss the swans and the ducks paddling around the loch.Walk along the Salisbury Crags to the summit. From the top, you can see for miles around,including the Firth of Forth. Its more fun for the kids to hike up, but theres a road to thesummit also.Greyfriars Bobby statue – Visit the statue of that devoted Skye terrier, the dog whomourned his master, standing guard over his grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years.(Bobby died in 1872).Edinburgh Zoo – The Edinburgh Zoo with 80 acres, has the largest colony of penguins in theworld. The zoo is also home to endangered animals such as Siberian tigers, pygmy hippos,poison arrow frogs and red pandas. For more information, check out the Edinburgh Zoo. Dr. Daniela Martinek
  2. 2. Loch Ness – If youre going to do one thing in Inverness, its take the kids on a boat ridedown Loch Ness to look for Nessie. The legends of the Loch Ness Monster go back aways.The oldest legend, from 565 AD, concerns St.Columba. One of his disciples was swimmingacross the lake, when the monster rose up "with a great roar and open mouth." St. Columbacommanded Nessie to drop the guy, "Think not to go further, nor touch thou that man. Quick,go back" and Nessie obeyed. These days Nessie may not put in an appearance, but youll havea great afternoon cruising this lovely loch.Official Loch Ness Exhibition Centre (Drumnadrochit) – In this fascinating multimediaexhibition, youll hear about different legends of Nessie, and scientific research to get to thebottom of this mystery. This very long, very cold, deep lake has been studied by expeditionsin small submarines and by sonar detection. The very geology of the lake sets the scene forlegends of the very elusive creature, thought to be a dragon in ancient times, and morerecently, a plesiosaur.Urquhart Castle – On the edge of the Loch Ness sits the ruins of Urquhart castle. It hasntcrumbled all on its own – part of it was blown up in 1692. Dont be surprised if you hear abagpiper piping tunes that evoke the ghosts of clans past – hes real. You can run up and downthe grassy ruined rooms or just sit peacefully on the stone ramparts, watching the wind rufflewaves on Loch Ness.Walk along the River Ness – The River Ness is a wonderful spot for a stroll through town,with views of Inverness Castle on the hill. Next the river, theres a small cemetary, ChapelStreet Cemetary, with old gravestones and interesting inscriptions.Dolphin watching on Moray Firth – Take a cruise along the Moray Firth to look for bottlenosed dolphins. Along with dolphins, youll see seals, porpoises, and sea birds such as ospreyand terns.Around InvernessFun foodIf your kids like salmon, we had the best Scotch smoked salmon, for lunch, for tea, for dinner.Also, shortbreads, scones and other pastries are delicious. Also, when you see it on the menu,try the Clootie Dumpling pudding. Its "sort of like a sponge pudding with raisins and currantsin it. You mix all the ingredients in a batter, put them in a cloth (cloot) and steam the wholething. When its done, you slice it, and eat it with hot custard."ShoppingLots of fun things to buy, including the ever popular tam oshanter in various plaids, silveryjewelry, clan insignia, sweaters, and bright green Nessies. Bring home CDs of Scottish music. Dr. Daniela Martinek
  3. 3. The Isle of Skye,"The Misty Isle," has absolutely gorgeous scenery, iron-black craggy peakslooming over the moors that sprout wild yellow iris in summer. As you explore the islandwith kids, take it at a leisurely place, allowing time to just sit and enjoy the natural beauty.Hiking – This is just a spectacular place to get outdoors with kids. At Portree, take thePortree Forest Walks, splendid hiking along the shore in pine forests. The Point of Sleat,also called the Garden of Skye, is another good area for walks, with views of the islands ofEigg and Rum in the distance.Pony Trekking – Go pony trekking around Fairy Glen (near Uig) on Highland ponies. SkyeRiding Centres at Borve, Struan, Woodend and Uig will be happy to set you loose on fourlegs.Boat trip to look for seals – From Elgol, take a boat trip to Loch Coruisk to look for seals.Fine views of the Cuillin mountains. At Elgol, the beach is a good spot for kids to scrambleover the rocks and run around.Dunvegan Castle – On the west coast, Dunvegan Castle is the seat of the Macleods. Themost precious relic in the castle is the Fairy Flag. The Fairy Flag was brought to Scotlandfrom the Mediterranean and is over a 1000 years old. According to one legend, the enchantedflag can be flown three times, in times of great danger, to defend the MacLeods. The flag hasbeen used twice in battle, and quite successfully, as the MacLeods were undefeated.Armadale Castle and Clan Donald Museum of the Isles – On the southern tip of Skye isArmadale Castle, a stronghold of the MacDonalds. The castle houses The Museum of theIsles, which tells the history of the Donald clan, starting with their illustrious founderSommerled who pushed the Vikings out of Scotland. In the Castle Gardens there are 40acres of bluebells, wildflowers and lovely plantings. The surrounding 20,000 acres havenature trails, where you get wonderful glimpses of the Sound of Sleat. Dr. Daniela Martinek

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