Just down from the Castle was the pick up point for my Highlands Tour specifically Day Tour number 4, which promised “lochs, mountains and castles”. The snow on the mountains was a bonus, if snow in Spring is your thing.
At 8:30 am a never ending line of white Timberbush coaches, more than 25, waited for passengers. I would hate to be going on a busy day I said tongue in cheek. It’s our busiest weekend boasted the driver, being Easter. And so it was.
In a grey depressing housing estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh the driver explained that Sean Connery grew up. It was proposed that a museum be established with memorabilia of his James Bond roles. It lasted less than a week as the supposedly secure display case of all Connery’s toppees was smashed and torched whilst a statue of a semi naked Pussy Galore, was defaced beyond recognition; at least the coach driver thought that was the case. Bover Boys he sighed, are always beavering away.
We passed Stirling Castle besieged by Braveheart, in real life of course Mel Gibson as pointed out again by our knowledgeable driver and as we all know our Mel is no Bruce!
Our first stop was the Doune Castle, used in the filming of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail “. The souvenir shop sells pairs of half coconut shells and as well beautifully dressed dolls of the Knights of the Round Table. The included pamphlet actively encourages children to rip the limbs off one at a time.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a tourist bus of considerable load must be in need of a whiff of commercialism. (Apologies to Jane Austin).
Lunch time. We are channelled through cashmere at the village of Tyndrum along it seems with the whole population of Edinburgh and what must surely have been the annual pilgrimage of the Glasgow Bikies. If only they made leather in a tarton check.
Cars snaked bumper to bumper on narrow, shoulder-less roads for miles. Again I enquired of the driver, surrounded by a sea of cars,buses and motor bikes at the “Macintosh Tarton & Take Away” car park, why and where all these Scotsmen were headed. Well he explained it is Saturday, sunny and so they are “going for a drive”!
The experience did two things: it reminded me of the congestion returning home from the Fleureau Peninsula Monday afternoon on a long weekend, magnified twice over and secondly that I would never mount a bicycle in the Highlands of Scotland.
The highlight for me was the village of Inverarery on the shores of Loch Fyne. The first option was the visit to Inverarery Castle: entry 10 quid. I chose option 2, exploring the village for nothing. By now the sun was shining and the drive through the snow capped mountains and Lochs, was memorable. Our final stop was on the shores of Loch Lomond which caused me to hum the eponymous tune all the way home. I shall do a search for sheet music there may well be a version for Recorder and Bagpipes.