Phew, what a month! No doubt about Scotland is a beautiful place and, from what I experienced, some lovely people. I will never forget an evening surrounded by complete strangers in a Scottish Bothy talking politics and a whole range of unrelated subjects until the early hours. We also met other owners of their lovely AirBnB properties who welcomed us into their lives for a short while to explain the best places to go and how to make the most of our time, I am very happy to now call some of these people friends. I know you will be reading this blog so I would just like to say a very big thank you for making a very memorable trip :-).
Dundee was a place of contradictions. On the one hand it has, much like Edinburgh, some beautiful architecture. Unfortunately in the main shopping area I did not feel they had treated the buildings as well as they could and unless you looked up you'd have struggled to tell it apart from any other shopping mall.....and I won't even go into the Mecca Bingo Hall!! There is the new exhibition centre called the V&A which is on the water front.....errmm, not sure about that one either. Apparently it has the nickname 'Dumpdee', potentially harsh but I can see why. 
Our trip into the Highlands found us based at a little village called Brora. Out for an evening walk soon told me this place was very much like my home town in NZ because everyone said hello, absolutely wonderful place and we had a lovely week here. Not only was the town itself lovely it was also a fantastic base from which to explore local attractions like Dunrobin Castle, John O'Groats, Castle of Mey etc. The local pub also did a meal of pork belly, topped with black pudding, topped with another piece of pork belly then breadcrumbed and deep fried......potentially not to everyone's taste but with a pint on a cold day it was awesome!
From the Highlands it was across to the West Coast to stay at Duror near Glencoe. Oban just down the road was the start of a fantastic day exploring the Isles of Mull, Iona and Staffa. Staffa is a place I've wanted to visit for years so this was an opportunity not to miss. For those who know of the Giant's Causeway in Ireland then this forms the other end of the mythical bridge.....stunning location.
Then after three weeks and plenty of Scottish Whisky fuelled hospitality it was time to head south of the border into England. The plus side of this was finding fantastic English pubs with great meals and lovely beer......the negative side, when combined with the chocolate consumed, is I will need to be on rations for the rest of the year! It has been fun though :-)
Visited the beautiful cathedrals of York Minster, Bath Abbey, Salisbury Cathedral and St Paul's Cathedral. I'd love to bring you pictures of St Paul's Cathedral but you'll need to do your own research on that one or visit for yourself as they don't allow you to take photos in the Cathedral, hmm!
Well, that's enough of my ramblings....onto the images. Should warn you there are a lot....51 of them. I have, for the most part, kept the images I'm showing in this blog to sights I would not normally be able to see on my New Zealand travels as it really is amazing how similar the Scottish and New Zealand landscapes are :-)

Desperate Dan sculpture in Dundee

Ominous clouds (yes it did rain) as I looked out over Bannockburn from Stirling Castle

A lute player in Stirling Castle.....he played very well indeed.

Another cloudy day in Tayport

Somewhere in the Cairngorms National Park. Had intended to get much further than this little village but the road was closed due to snow......oh well, found a pub instead.

It was interesting getting to the point to create this image.....worth it though

There is some beautiful architecture in Dundee, unfortunately not everywhere :-(

Cathedral ruins at St Andrews. If I ever go back I will spend a lot more time in this and surrounding towns

For the Doctor Who fans.......don't blink!

Puffins on the Isle of Skye. Seriously bad wing design for that body!

They're just so darned cute!

As Mum would say, that's a proper Robin

Lovely Pitlochry

Icy cold river by the Dalwhinnie Distillery. Had a lovely tour and whisky tasting there

The lovely fishing village harbour at Brora

Yep, probably have a very similar image in New Zealand, but, I got up early so I'm going to share it :-)

Amazing Dunrobin Castle. That place is huge and parts of it date back to the 1200's

Andy the falconer having a deep and meaningful conversation with his favourite falcon. Two years ago he retired after 25 years as a builder to do this full time.....he is a very happy boy and who can blame him 

The stunning Peregrine Falcon

The landscape is filled with these amazing dry stone walls

There are also numerous ruins!!

Another random harbour building somewhere on the east coast

Great evening light on our journey back from John O'Groats to Brora. No idea where I was when I got this one

A habit of taking random side roads occasionally leads somewhere interesting, like this

Lots and lots of pots...

Luck found me in the cathedral at Dornoch and what a good piece of fortune that was, this place was stunning and so peaceful

Light shines through one of many stained glass windows at Dornoch Cathedral

Stone cottages with white walls and red doors with snow capped hills behind.....must be Scotland ;-)

Have to include the occasional landscape :-)

Hikers beware......following a simple sign to a Loch can lead you on an unexpectedly long and difficult climb! It was good though.

The amazing rock formations on the Isle of Staffa

While I sat and enjoyed the splendour of this Isle at the entrance to Fingal's Cave I became fascinated with the speed most tourists in their brightly coloured jackets raced in for a selfie and dashed off again. I wonder if they even realised just how amazing this location was,

Wonderful cloisters at Iona Abbey

Looking back at Iona and the abbey from the short ferry crossing to the Isle of Mull

Glencoe on a proper Scottish weather day

We had a few calm days the result of which was incredibly smooth water on the lochs. This is Lochleven

Our departure from Scotland started off with this view through Glencoe.....not a bad way to finish the trip

Loch Lomond is huge.....quite how it was this still in the early morning is beyond me

I've seen the Angel of the North before and it still took my breath away seeing how big this sculpture is. Those arms are the same width as a 747 airliner! If you look closely at the foot you will see two people stood next to it....helps to give it some sense of scale

The ever busy shambles in York

No trip to York is complete without a visit to York Minster. The current version was built over 200 years starting in the middle of the 13th century.....the mind boggles!

The original bike ridden by Steve McQueen in The Great Escape at the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience. I had a two hour tour around the factory which was amazing. Thankfully Mum had a good book to read ;-)

Stone circles at Avebury. If anyone knows the film Still Crazy with Bill Nighy, Billy Connolly etc then I can tell you these are the same stones you see in the film when they go to the pub, which just so happens to the be the Red Lion at Avebury. 

Roman natural spa baths at Bath. They are in the process of diverting this hot water outflow to go under the abbey as under floor heating as part of their renovations, what a brilliant idea

One of a few curved buildings in Bath which they are famous for

It rained, rained and rained some more when visited Bath.......should have named it 'Showers'

Small pub lunch ;-)

Salisbury Cathedral reflections in their font.......what a stunning building

Well, it was Sunday, the day of rest ;-)

View from the top of St Paul's Cathedral......apparently it was okay to take pictures from here

I've wanted to visit the Tate Modern for years and after many hours I came away having thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Even the building is quirky with so many curving lines. Luck favoured me as I was taking this abstract of the architecture when she just walked into frame and looked at me.

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