On Monday, March 1st, 1999 Dave and I took a train from Birmingham, England, to Edinburgh, Scotland. From there we launched a week-long tour of the country that took us north to Inverness and back down south to Glasgow. While many of the attractions were still closed, we got to experience Highland weather at its most unpredictable. For example, while we were driving around Inverness, it was cloudy, sunny, snowing, hailing, sleeting, and freezing cold, all in 15 minute intervals. And I wonder why I got a 'chesty cold'. {{sigh}}

But it was a wonderful trip, and now I'm ready to do it again. <g> Pictures don't really do it justice, but I'll bet they'll wet your appetite. So come join me on a virtual tour, and then go see it for yourselves. It's a truly beautiful country.

Before we start on the scenery though, here's the contraption that made it all possible--our Fiat Bravo. It looked tiny when we first picked it up, but after I drove it through the streets of Edinburgh, I realized it was actually a Mac truck in disguise. I left more than a little rubber on the curbs of Edinburgh--but more on that later. When we dropped the car off in Glasgow, we'd put 591.3 miles on her, and made her climb through two mountain ranges. Little did Eurocar know who they were renting to…

For those of you who know Scotland (or like maps), here's our general itinerary:

Monday, train to Edinburgh.

Tuesday, bus & walking tour of Edinburgh

Wednesday, we crossed the Forth Bridge and headed north on the M90 to Perth, where we stopped at the Caithless Glass Centre. We continued on the A9 to Pitlochery, Aviemore (where we tried to go to the Highland Wildlife Park, but they were snowed in), and finally, after crossing the Grampian Mountains, into Inverness.

Thursday we took a lot of small (and several single track) roads around Culloden, Fort George, and Nairn. This is where we saw the only stone circles of our trip, at the Clava Cairns. We also took the A82 down the west side of Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle.

Friday we left Inverness on the B862 and drove on the B852 down the east side of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus. While the B852 was mostly a single track road, I'd highly recommend it--the views were absolutely incredible. You'll see pictures of Foyer Falls as you continue on.

After Fort Augustus, we took the A82 to Fort William, with a detour down the A830 to Glenfinnan and back. Then we got on the A82 across the Monadhliath Mountains. We went past the Three Sisters and through Rannoch Moor. *This* was the most phenomenal part of the drive--I've been in the Tetons and the Rockies, but these mountains were simply breathtaking.

The A82 took us back into the lowlands past Loch Lommand, where we ran into a traffic jam near Arden. Sadly, when there's only one road, your choices are limited. <g> Finally, we got the M80 and cruised through Glasgow to the Stepps, an eastern suburb of the city.

Saturday we took the M80 to Stirling, then some local roads to Castle Campbell, in the homesick-inducing town named "Dollar", and back.

Sunday we turned in the poor little Bravo and took a plane back home. Where we let someone else drive us home. <g>

Now on to the pictures…