When I originally began planning my trip around attending the Edinburgh stop of Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour, I knew that I wanted to take the most interesting tour I could have of the Scottish countryside. After browsing ideas (renting a car, ha! Hell no) I settled on the West Highlands, Lochs & Castles Tour by Rabbie’s Tours. I felt that it offered the highlights of what I wanted – without much fluff. Above all, my top goal on the tour was to see a hairy cow.
Meeting for Rabbie’s Tours
After speed walking as fast as I could from the Kimpton Charlotte Square to Edinburgh Bus Station, I arrived at the Rabbie’s check in area. It was relatively easy to find, in the back of the bus stop in the tour bus area. After a quick check in, I was put on a bus with Robert as our guide and bus driver.
Stirling Castle and Stirling Old Town
As we drove out of downtown Edinburgh, we made our way into the outskirts and onto the highway. I learned that the majority of the buildings in Edinburgh were made from sandstone and are some of the most outstanding examples of Gregorian architecture to date.
I learned that the yellow flowers that colored the green landscape were rapeseed flowers – which are the source of canola oil. Robert also taught us about water kelpie, the spirits in mythology that haunt the lakes, or lochs, of Scotland.
Our first stop was at an overlook for Stirling Castle. It was stunningly beautiful. Upon showing her a photo of the castle later, my friend Katharine said that she felt connected to the castle from a past life. It was lovely to stretch my legs, take some photos and really connect to the land of Scotland.
Luss, Loch Lomond, The Trossachs National Park
Next was a light stop at the village of Luss to view Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Luss was such a quaint and beautiful village. Our stop was much too short for an adventure. But, I took as many photos as I could during my quick walk from the car park, to Loch Lomond and back.
Rest and Be Thankful pass and Argyll Forest Park
Soon, we were on our way to our next stop, Rest and Be Thankful pass, at the edge of Argyll Forest Park. It was stunningly green, luscious and historic. I stood there, camera in hand, and walked the pathways which ancient travelers had passed before.
When we stopped in Inveraray for lunch and personal sightseeing time, I was more interested in finding a solid place for lunch than touring the Inveraray Castle or Inveraray Jail. So, after taking photographs of Loch Fyne, I made my way to The Cocktail Bar at The George Hotel for lunch.
We next stopped at a lookout point for Loch Awe, the longest loch in Scotland. The bright blue sky, dotted with clouds, hovering beautifully above a bright green landscape of rolling hills is one of my favorite photos from the trip. The ruins of Kilchurn Castle lay in the background of the landscape. Simply put, it was life enriching beauty.
Hamish Dubh, Honey and Holly the Hairy Highland Cows at Trossachs Woolen Mill
In Kilmahog, we stopped at Trossachs Woollen Mill to see the world famous Hamish Dubh, Honey and Holly – the Hairy Highland Cows of Trossachs. Literally, seeing the hairy cows was one of my top wishes for my trip to Scotland. It made the inner child within me dance in joy.
Our final tour stop was Doune Castle. Perhaps it was the lateness in the day. But, I just felt okay about it. I didn’t want to walk anymore. So, I simply visited the gift shop, bought the cutest Scottish teddy bear, and walked around the perimeter. Again, it was interesting to see and walk the pathways of the castle. But, I was tired and ready to head back to Edinburgh.
We pulled back into the Edinburgh station a little after 6pm. Even with Robert’s sometimes meandering boomer ass conversations of one (didn’t expect to hear a tirade about traffic in London, the immigration problem or Scotland should try again to cede from the UK again) I was profoundly thankful for booking the experience. The location of where to meet the bus was easy to get to, the information provided at various stops was useful and I got the chance to get out of the city and have a lovely time in the West Highlands of Scotland.
Rabbie’s Bus Tours
Edinburgh Bus Station