Hi everyone! My name is Julia Miller and I am a new(ish) member of the Timberbush Tours team. I was excited to find out I was going on a second tour as I had really enjoyed myself on the previous tour I had done (read about my journey on the West Highland Lochs, Mountains & Castles 1 day tour here!). My journey started just at the top of Royal Mile where I was met by a lovely line of Timberbush coaches. The tour of choice for this early summer’s day was the ‘Loch Lomond, The Trossachs and Stirling Castle’ tour. I was swiftly introduced to my Driver-Guide, Davy.
You can find Davy's Driver-Guide interview here!
From the off-set, I could tell that Davy was going to be a fantastic Driver-Guide as he was full of enthusiasm and had a real Scottish charm about him. After we all settled on the bus, we departed off the Royal Mile and out of the city as Davy delivered some fascinating historical stories about Edinburgh which were packed full of historical dates and facts. He certainly had a real enthusiasm about everything he was telling us which was great!
We headed north-west towards the old capital of Scotland; Stirling. Stirling is located at the mouth of the River Forth and historically it was a strategically important city as it was known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ with its position near the Highland Boundary fault between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands. When we arrived in Stirling, we were allocated a leisurely 2 hours to either go inside the historic Stirling Castle or to have a wander around the small city of Stirling. The majority of the group, including myself, chose the castle which certainly did not disappoint as it was a real highlight of my trip.
Stirling Castle is a remarkable symbol of Scottish Independence & a source of national pride for Scotland. It was the scene of many great battles as well as a turbulent history which is often associated with great figures from Scotland’s history and past such as William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots.
I discovered that the oldest surviving football dating back to 1540 was discovered at Stirling Castle. It was found behind the panelling of the Queens chamber and was believed to have belonged to Mary Queen of Scots. It was made from cow’s leather and a pig bladder, and records of Mary Queen of Scots diary reveal that the ball may even be older as she reminisced about playing football as a child.
The view over the Forth Valley taking in the Ochil Hills and the Wallace Monument really does fill you with awe; Scotland is naturally beautiful and moments like that, looking over the centuries old castle wall, confirm it.
We all met back at the bus where Davy was waiting for us. We set on from our tour of Stirling and continued past the medieval Doune Castle, which is where the famous film, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ was made. We soon arrived at a pretty little town called Callander where we stopped for some lunch.
There were lots of options to choose from such as pubs, bakeries and little cafés. I went with one of the reccomendations the Driver guide made; a sweet chic bakery/café called Mhor. Mhor offers award winning pies and as well as delicious artisian bread sandwiches which I would highly recommend.
After my delicious lunch, we continued our drive towards Loch Lomond, driving through The Trossachs National Park, which I discovered is also known as “the Highlands in miniature”. The views from the coach were extremely picturesque as we drove through the winding country roads, admiring the heather, fern and bluebells that were sprouting up on the banks of the roads. I was surprised to discover that the bluebell is Scotland’s national flower as I had always thought it was the thistle. The thistle is in fact Scotland’s national symbol. We stopped for a few photo stops as you can see from my pictures below.
We soon arrived at the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, which is by far the prettiest loch I have ever seen. I decided to do the hour long Loch Lomond boat cruise to get the best views of the famous loch and its surrounding islands and mountains. While on the boat there was some commentary which I found to be really informative as it explained the history of the loch and some of the surrounding buildings.
The boat dropped us off of the pretty loch-side conservation village of Luss where Davy was waiting to pick us up at the pier. We had a short time in Luss to grab a quick refreshment and then we commenced our return journey back to Edinburgh.
Our return journey back to Edinburgh was filled with lots of traditional Scottish music from acts such as The Proclaimers, Dougie Maclean and the more recent Scottish sensation Paolo Nutini as we took in some final sights of Scotland’s beautiful scenery.
This 9 hour Scotland tour is ideal for anyone interested in exploring the historic Stirling castle, visit traditional Scottish villages and witness the stunning views at the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. Davy was a brilliant and informative Driver-Guide and I would 100% recommend this tour!