At Easter time last year my wonderful best friend Sally and I decided to take a trip to the the kilt-wearing, haggis-eating, Mel Gibson-hating land of beautiful Scotland. We jumped on an overnight bus from London to Edinburgh where we met up with another of Sally’s lovely friends, Emma. After a very quick stroll up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle and a ramble through the gorgeous Princes Street gardens it was off to the airport to pick up our hire car and head for the heart of Scotland – stunning Perthshire.

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Edinburgh Castle

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Bagpiper on The Mound

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Greenskeeper’s Cottage – Princes Street Gardens

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Princes Street Garden

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Scott Memorial

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Scottish National Gallery

Our base for the weekend was to be the gorgeous town of Pitlochry where we staying in the charming Rowan’s B&B. But first thing first, it was time to try some haggis! I always love trying the local foods and drinks wherever I travel so it was with some trepidation that we made our way to McKays Bar and Restaurant on the main street of Pitlochry to tuck in to some haggis, neeps and tatties (parsnips and potatoes). And you know what? It wasn’t too bad at all! It was very interestingly presented, with mashed potatoes and parsnips, but I have to say I quite enjoyed it.

For those of you who aren’t sure, according to wikipedia, haggis is “a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a sausage casing rather than an actual stomach.”

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Main street of Pitlochry

Pitlochry was the perfect place to stay as we were close to so many beautiful attractions including Blair Castle and Gardens, several Scotch distilleries, other picturesque towns such as Kinloch Rannoch and my personal favourite, Scone Palace.

Blair Castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and houses a great collection of fascinating historical artefacts, including antique furniture, art, period dress and arms and armour. However, the real highlight is the spectacular gardens.


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Sal and one of the locals

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Just outside of Pitlochry is Edradour distillery, the smallest distillery in Scotland. We had hoped to have a tour of the distillery that usually includes a tasting session, but we just missed the last one of the day. However, that didn’t stop us from buying a few bottles so we could try some on our own time. And once again, it was very enjoyable to try the local beverage, especially alongside some other local produce inlcuding cheese, meats and oatcakes.

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We also took a trip to the nearby town of Kinloch Rannoch because the town is where Sally used to work when she was over here a couple of years ago and therefore had a fondness in her memory. And I could see why, as it was a delightful and very quiet town on the banks of Loch Rannoch and surrounded by mountains.

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Now, as most of you know my home town in Australia is Scone, so we of course had to visit the town of Scone in Scotland and Scone Palace. Scone Palace has an amazing history being the home of the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny) upon which all Scottish Kings were crowned from the 9th century up until Kind Edward I took it in 1296 and placed it within Westminster Abbey. Although, there are some people who believe that monks at Scone hid the real stone so the one that was stolen from Westminster Abbey by students in 1950, subsequently returned and then handed back to Scotland to be kept in Edinburgh Castle  from 1996 isn’t actually the original artifact. Man, I love this history stuff!

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A replica of the Stone of Scone in front of the chapel at Scone Palace

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Ready to be coronated…

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Some of the local Scone residents…


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A stunning albino peacock in the grounds of the palace

If you’re looking for a quiet place to take in the striking scenery of Scotland and sample the best of what the area has to offer, then Pitlochry is the ideal location. I’d also highly recommend the Rowan’s B&B; the hosts are the loveliest people, the rooms are beautiful and the breakfast, divine.

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