Hi everyone! My name is Julia Miller and I am the new Marketing and Business Development Assistant at Timberbush Tours. As a new member of the team, I was excited to go out on my very first tour. The tour chosen was the ‘West Highland Lochs, Mountains and Castles’ Tour which is one of Timberbush’s most popular one day tours from Edinburgh.
My morning started off with some typical grey Scottish weather as I walked up the Royal Mile to the departure spot. I felt excited for my first Highland tour as I had seen fantastic comments on the internet about how interesting and knowledgeable the tours are. I soon spotted the immaculate Timberbush vehicles lined up in a row ready to take excited and animated tourists and customers on an unforgettable Highland tour. I also spotted the company director Gary up by the buses greeting customers. After 16 years in the business he still insists in seeing the customers off on their trips himself, which is something I found to be incredibly charming and courteous.
Gary swiftly introduced me to my tour guide for the day, another Gary! And off we set on our journey. Driver-Guide Gary shared some fantastic knowledge about Edinburgh City, and told us some interesting facts and stories about the city as we made our way west, passing Stirling castle, and heading towards Doune Castle. Doune Castle is notably famous as it is where the cult movie ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ was filmed. I would highly recommend going inside the castle for a look around as it really does bring you back in time to another world.
Next was a quick photo stop to see Scotland’s most famous Highland Coo; Hamish at the Trossachs Woollen Mill at Kilmahog.He really was adorable! I was surprised to find out that Hamish is currently the oldest Highland Coo at 21 years old.
After this stop, we headed through the impressive Glen Ogle and stopped for some lunch in the picturesque village of Tyndrum where I treated myself to some scrummy Cullen skink soup. This is a typical Scottish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. I discovered that the name ‘Cullen Skink’ is partly derived from Gaelic; the first element refers to the town of Cullen in Moray (a place name of Gaelic origin) and the second element skink is a Scots word for soup.
After lunch, there was a quick photo stop at the breathtakingly stunning Kilchurn Castle, which is a ruined 15th and 17th century structure on a rocky peninsula at the north-eastern end of Loch Awe, in Argyll and Bute. Despite the weather, this was still a fantastic sight which really captured the whole essence of Scotland for me.
Back on the bus, and we set off for our next stop Inveraray which is a quant town on the shore of Loch Fyne. We were given an option to have a look around the picturesque wee town or to go into Inveraray Castle where the Duke of Argyll lives to this day. I decided to go into the castle, which was certainly worth it. There were stunning lived in rooms, and lots of personal photos of the Duke and his family which was really lovely. There is also a heavenly garden where I had a wee walk around.
Then we started our homeward journey driving through the Arrochar Alps, where we had a brief pause at the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ Pass. Rest and Be Thankful are the words which were inscribed on a stone near the junction of the A83 and the B828 placed there by soldiers who built the original military road in 1753 and that is how the name of this area came to place.
Soon later we arrive at our final stop on our Highland tour; the enchanting Loch Lomond in Luss to take in the stunning scenery before returning home to Edinburgh.
The drive home was filled with even more interesting stories from Gary about the places we had visited, accompanied by some beautiful Scottish music. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone with a love for castles and Scottish history, but it is also ideal for anyone looking to get a real taste of Scotland and its beautiful scenery in just a 10 hour day. My tour guide, Gary, was exceptionally knowledgeable about Scotland and was a pleasure to be around. It really was a day I will never forget.