Thursday 23 July – Trossachs National Park

This morning we took a squiz around the shops in Callander while waiting for the Tourist Information Office to open.  Picked up a couple of souveniers and then on to the TIO to see what info we could find.  Well, all Tourist Information Offices should travel to Callendar to see what they should do.  A wealth of information and very helpful staff.   It is the only Scottish Tourist Information Office we’ve been in so maybe they are all up to this standard.  They could certainly teach others a thing or two.   They also have a shop and I picked up a couple of copies of a book that just looked too interesting to leave behind.  Why two?  One for a present and the other one because it was there and I just may need to keep it or use it as a present, I’ll have to wait and see how that pans out.

Anyhow, the very helpful staff member gave me a suggested circular touring route for the day in the Trossachs National Park and off we set for Loch Katrine first of all.  Boat trips are available to be taken on the Loch and we chose to go on the steamboat, Sir Walter Scott.

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It is a one hour ride and a very pleasant way to spend an hour.  It is also possible to walk or cycle around the area.  It is a lovely part of the world and I can only imagine how stunning the Highlands further up must be.

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This is Rob Roy country and there are storyboards all along the pier about Rob Roy and life as it was in the area generally which make for interesting reading.

After Loch Katrine we continued on as suggested by our “tour planner” and the next stop was Inchmahome Priory which is managed by Historic Scotland.  This is a government department and you can buy multi-day passes and memberships which make it cheaper to visit their properties – they have a lot!  When you to to buy a ticket a their properties they actually ask you if you will be visiting other properties and try to make it as cheap as possible for you!!  Other operators could take note of that approach, it is a good one.  We’ve purchased 3 days out of 5 tickets so we can go to whatever castles and the like that we want to without having to pay at each property.

Inchmahome Priory is a ruin and is actually on an island in the middle of a Lake (it should be a Loch but there was a misinterpretation from the Gaelic to English and it is the only Lake in Scotland).  The lake is owned by the fishing company that operates from the shore and the island was owned by the Graham clan who still own the other two islands in the lake, but handed to the Government in lieu of taxes early on in the 20th Century.

To get out to the Priory it is necessary to take a boat ride and the way to “call” the ferryman back to shore to pick up passengers is to turn a wooden board around so that the white side faces the island. The Historic Scotland staff member who is on boat duty at the time then brings the boat back to shore and picks up the waiting customers.  They simply go back and forth as customer needs demand during the day so you can turn up at the little pier at any time and stay on the island as long as it suits.  The boat trip is only about 7 minutes so there is not a long time to wait at either end for the boat to come back.

Bear sat down on the pier and waited after putting in the call…

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And then was very happy to go for a nice ride in the little boat…

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The Historic Scotland lady ferryperson suggested Bear might like a Scottish friend from their shop, Bear is still thinking that over as the shop was closed by the time we left the island as we took the last boat back.

While we were walking around the island we came across this tree that had grown in such a way that this part resembled a dog’s head.  Bear decided to play a bit of hidey…

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Once we had walked all the way around the island (it isn’t very big) and taken a good look at the priory ruins Bear took the chance to take a seat and just take in the scenery across the lake before going to the pier for the last boat back…

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Once back on shore we then continued around looking at the scenery and back to the hotel at Callander.

Until next time…

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Posted on July 26, 2009, in Scotland, Trip. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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