Go greener while travelling

With the current Covid-19 restrictions gradually easing it is perhaps time to reflect on how our future staycations could be more than just a break from our routine.

A vacation in Scotland will most likely be more expensive than your packaged trip to the canary islands and sunshine, sadly, is not guaranteed either.

Scotland is my home of choice rather than birth the main reasons for this are:

-> Her people; the Scots are incredible nosy and welcoming

-> Scotland’s breathtaking beauty

-> The fact that you can escape from it all by a short walk or drive. Scotland is magic!

I would like to bring this magic to you by offering different alternatives so you can choose your very personal vacation.

It is common knowledge that Scotland is rich in history, beauty, castles, the home of golf and location of many movies and TV series. Beyond this Scotland and her people are authentic and equipped with a variety of lanscapes you will struggle to find elsewhere.

So, instead of rushing through the popular visitor attractions maybe you would like to explore and learn a bit more, make a connection to the land and her people and perhaps think regenerative tourism:

You can access off the beat, unusual attractions and learn how Scotland functions, based on her past, current population and future ambitions. I benefit as you pay me for my expertise but on top of that local people and businesses benefit because they are part of your (and mine) experience. Even if this is just a quirky farm, which sells out of a wee cottage: Pittormie Fruit Farm.

So for instance if you would like to engage in mindfulness and wellbeing I could offer my own services as I am a qualified yoga teacher and we could go and aim to have a wee yoga session on the beach or in the forestry.

But if you want to venture into geology and follow James Hutton’s footsteps I will probably book you onto a tour of Edinburgh with HARP Archaeology. If you want to spot whales I would get in touch with Steve from Sea-kayaking or the Basking Shark.

Darach Croft

If you want to learn about social crofting , animal husbandry, forest bathing or crafting I recommend Darach Croft. I have several contacts for wild swimming and so the list goes on. Have you ever tried foraging? There are many local guides, such as:

Anna Canning, Flora Medica

Mark Williams, Galloway Wild Foods

The Centre of Stewartship in Falkland offers a variety of unusual experiences and education linking to land and people, history and wellbeing. You can of course also delve into history, golf, cricket, tennis and Outlander if you wish. Additionally, you may like to purchase their local produce or even enjoy a meal in the keeper’s flat of the palace.

Cairngorms Nature Reserve

Your accommodation can also contribute to greener tourism, for instance by booking the Glenuig Inn or enjoying a wee dram at Nc’Nean or Ardnamurchan Distillery

You can stroll through numerous Nature Reserves of Geo Parks, such as:

Lochaber Geopark

Arran Geopark

Speyside Wildlife

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere

North West Highlands Geopark

Your possibilities are really unlimited. Do get in touch if you want to know more:

Contact
Lower Largo

Sightseeing in Fife

We have been having some amazing sunny weather and as I am allowed to move around Fife I took the opportunity to stop at the local Adross Farm Shop and took the chance to take some shoots.

St Monans Old Kirk

Sightseeing in Fife. Between St Monans & Elie & Earlsferry you can enjoy walking along the coastline using the stunningly beautiful Fife Coastal Path, which run all the way from Kincardine to Newburgh taking you along the First of Forth, next to the North Sea and

Are you missing Scotland?

We have had a frosty spring where the overnight temperatures drop below zero most nights. However, this has brought a lot of sunshine. For now I may move around my local council area. So, let’s start with North Queenferry today:

North Queensferry was created by Saint Margaret (wife of Malcolm III) when she installed a ferry service between North and South Queensferry. The service ran for 800 years and only ceased when the Forth Road Bridge was complete in 1964. There are three bridges between the villages, the two road bridges were both opened by the current Queen Elisabeth and her late husband Prince Philip, the latest addition Queensferry Crossing in 2017. These bridges were span over three centuries. The Forth Rail Bridge is the oldest was completed in 1890 and was designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. The bridge contains 53.000 tons of steel and contains 6.5 million rivets. There is a say that tasks that take a while takes as long as painting the Forth Rail Bridge (though since the last refurbishment it is claimed the paint will last 25 years). This bridge was opened by the Duke of Rothesay who later became King Edward VII and in 2000 54.000 people and 10 million tons in freight. North Queensferry has has the smallest lighthouse dating back to 1813 (John Rennie) which is shown in this video. The pier was extended by Thomas Telford in 1828. Nowadays visitors can still board boats from here to explore the river and its islands.

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Visit Lower Largo – virtually

Lockdown is still with us but meanwhile spring is out, the weather is beautiful and I will try to share what I may reach within my very own lockdown boundaries.

Come and see Robinson Crusoe’s birthplace: Lower Largo:

Lower Largo beach
Looking towards Leven

Lower Largo has at least one famous citizen: Alexander Selkirk who was the character who inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe. There is even a hotel called the Crusoe (which is sadly for sale at present). This video shows the Robinson Cruseo statue and a drone shot over the village which like so many in Fife is a seriously old settlement. Besides stunning beaches and views the village is also home to the Lundin Links golf course, all featured in the video too.

If you want more information (virtual or some day soon in person) do get in touch:

Contact

Virtual visits

We are finally approaching spring. There is more daylight, flowers begin to blossom and all in all Scotland is at her best. Sadly, we are stil amidst apandemic and may only move within our council areas. I personally cannot wait to be let free. Meanwhile I thought I would share the places I legally can visit. Today it is: North Queensferry.

Forth Rail Bridge completed in 1890
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North Queensferry was created by Saint Margaret (wife of Malcolm III) in 1068 when she installed a ferry service between North and South Queensferry. The service ran for 800 years and only ceased when the Forth Road Bridge was complete in 1964. There are three bridges between the villages, the two road bridges were both opened by the current Queen Elisabeth and her late husband Prince Philip, the latest addition Queensferry Crossing in 2017. These bridges were span over three centuries. The Forth Rail Bridge is the oldest was completed in 1890 and was designed by Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. The bridge contains 53.000 tons of steel and contains 6.5 million rivets. There is a say that tasks that take a while takes as long as painting the Forth Rail Bridge (though since the last refurbishment it is claimed the paint will last 25 years). This bridge was opened by the Duke of Rothesay who later became King Edward VII and in 2000 54.000 people and 10 million tons in freight. North Queensferry has has the smallest lighthouse dating back to 1813 (John Rennie) which is shown in this video. The pier was extended by Thomas Telford in 1828. Nowadays visitors can still board boats from here to explore the river and its islands.

If you like more virtually or hopefully soon in person, please use the buttom below:

Contact

Little work but sunshine

Tour guiding is obviously still not possible under current restrictions but at least the sun is out and we may travel within our council areas.

Yesterday has been a stunningly beautiful spring day. The images I took I would like to share with your here:

Spring has sprung
Once the sun is out it really does not matter where you go in Scotland
A beautiful spot for a cup of coffee
Lochs and hills wherever you look
Gorse is flowering (but mostly all year around really)
The remains of an old cottage somewhere in the middle of nowhere
Stunning landscapes all round
Starfish Travel Touring Bus

Touring Scotland once again

Gradually, more and more businesses and attractions publish their re-opening.

We are not there yet but there are sure signs that some day in the not too distant future we will be able to offer tours all over Scotland again.

Bespoke Scotland Tours St Andrews
Touring with Starfish Travel

To be honest I cannot wait but would meanwhile provide some re-assurance that our vehicles and drivers are very cautious about Coivd-19 safe processes.

Threrefore our vehicles are fitted with protective screens and are cleaned after each use, both with desinfectant and UV sanitisers, which are also used on our credit card facilities. We operated a DEW air purifiers, hand sanitisers are available to our customers and are used by our drivers. Our drivers wear face mask and we can supply you with a face mask should you have forgotten you own.

Air purifier in operation and free hand sanitisers are supplied
DEW air purifier
UV sanitiser at work
Covid-19 screens fitted
Hand sanistiser for your convinience

The vehicles are all 8 seaters taxis which are currently operated as 6 seater for people from one household.

With all this in place we are very hopeful to provide safe, enjoyable tours all across Scotland in due course. Watch this space or start your journey by filling out this contact form to start planning you next trip!

Staycations

While a plan to ease out of the current lockdown in Scotland has been published the rest of Europe is experiencing the third wave of the Corona virus already. As a matter of fact Germany announced yesterday a full lockdown over Easter.

While I remain hopful that vaccinations will eventually allow us to travel the world again I do believe for the foreseeable future we will be lucky if we can have staycations this year. To be honest if I have the rare airport pick up these days leaving my 5 mile zone does feel like a wee holiday all by itself.

If you are planning a staycation in breathtaking Scotland, please be resonsible so that everyone after you can enjoy the same beauty and remoteness. Visit Scotland has created this amazing video to remind us all:

And while you are packing please also be reminded that Scotland is the place where you can have all four seasons in one day. So please pack you waterproofs alongside your sunglasses and swimming gear and ENJOY!

As Lockdown is still with us…

Realistically it will be a good wee while before I will be able to welcome international guests again.

My 2021 bookings one by one are being postponed to 2022 which is unavoidable and really sad for my clients (and me of course too).

However, at the moement the figures for Scotland are beginning to look better and what is more we are in spring: The days are getting longer and flowers begin to pop up everywhere.

While travelling for work I had the opportunity to stop off at beautiful Falkland village which has a huge history itself but has more recently been noted for serving as Inverness in Outlander. I love the series but let me show there is so much more worth visiting at Falkland:

Crocusses at Falkland village
Falkland
Visit Falkland Palace
Closed entrance to Falkland Palace
Centre of Stewardship Falkland
Falkland countryside

There is always hope

Wandering through the very empty Royal Mile in Edinburgh the other day I was reminded once again how different life during the Covid-19 pandemic has been and still is.

Do you know where this unicorn is located?

The daily COVID-19 updates in Scotland sound quite promising while elsewhere the third wave is being recorded (Italy, Finland & Germany). However, with the vaccination program making good progress and the odd notification from one or the other hotel’s or restaurant’s opening dates I do begin to get hopeful that one day in the not too distance future there will be travelling again.

The Royalmile during lockdown

I do not believe that we will see international travelers return in 2021 but perhaps staycations can be done in a safe manner and also some art, music and sport events could take place.

Certainly spring on the door step lifts my mood and also shows just how gorgeous Scotland is, not just as a holiday location but much more so as an amazing place to live. Keep in mind I am not a native Scot (sadly!)

Early crocus at Falkland

So while we wait for a little more freedom do enjoy these few images of Edinburgh’s heart, the Royal Mile full of emptyness for now:

Edinburgh Castle