My guest is historical romance author Donna MacMeans. She shares her recent trip to Scotland with us.
Last year about this time I realized that if I was to set my next book in Scotland, I needed to “walk the land” - get a feel for the countryside so I could present it accurately in THE WHISKY LAIRD (due for release in the spring of 2014). So I packed my bags and booked a flight for Edinburgh. As it’s a mind-melting ninety-four degrees here in Ohio, I thought I’d revisit that trip and cool off with a little nostalgia. Want to come with me?
We stayed in the Grassmarket area in Edinburgh. So named because long, long ago, horses and livestock there to be sold in the markets would graze in pens just beyond the western edge.
As you can see from the picture, it’s below Edinburgh castle...way below. Given that the Royal Mile, the main drag in Edinburgh, runs from the castle to the sea and that all the tour groups meet on the Royal Mile, we had to do some serious climbing to get to our tour bus - every day up, every day back down. A quick way to get in shape is to vacation in Edinburgh LOL.
We took a number of trips that took us into the highlands. I like this shot of the little town of Callander
One a hot day like this, the low clouds make me feel cooler. We saw a number of waterfalls.
Here’s a shot of Highland landscape and heather (always wondered what heather looked like)
We spent a night in Inverness. Just as Edinburgh is clearly a medieval city, Inverness has a more Viking or Norman influence. Can you see it in this picture?
We spent a day at St. Andrew’s and saw this familiar guy. He was playing for a wedding in the chapel adjacent to this courtyard.
Of course, as THE WHISKY LAIRD pairs a Scotch distiller with a woman devoted to the Temperance movement, we visited the Blair Athol distillery. Here’s a pic in the courtyard of the distillery - oh wait! What’s the tour guide reading?
I went to Scotland to become familiar with the scenery. While on a tour bus going through some woods, I found myself thinking that much of the scenery reminded me of Virginia and North Carolina. Right about that time, the tour guide mentioned that a few years ago, he had a geologist on the bus. The geologist collected some rocks at one of the waterfalls and said that based on the limestone he found, Scotland was once part of the Appalachian mountain system of the United States. Of course, it split and drifted away long before Columbus came to call. But it struck me that I could have gotten a similar sense of Scotland right here in the States, but it wouldn't have been half as fun.
So how about you? Have you been on a memorable vacation? Ever been to Scotland? Want to go?
Someone leaving a comment will receive a copy of The Casanova Code - the book every one is reading? (grin).