Our tour driver Nick, took this great photo on the Best of the Lake District tour in April. A worthy winner of this months prize!
Well here I go again writing a blog about a Scottish Tour. For many of our returning clients who have travelled with me to Scotland over the last five years know of my passion for the Bonnie Land I come from.
Scotland is a place for renowned history with our neighbours in England when battles were fought and victory was sought sometimes for both sides, and to be the victorious in earlier days acclaimed the right to rule the land, a beautiful land full of high towering mountains shadowing the lochs with pride and sometimes when the weather is nice, the mountains display themselves with a magnificent reflection on the surface of the calm water in the loch.
Now Scotland for me is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in my heart, but not only the history noted above, it is a place that is on the tick list for people from all over the world.
Because of The Highland clearances when Scott’s were replaced with sheep as they were more profitable and shipped to America and Canada Americans return retracing their history of their ancestors.
People come from all over the world following and believing legends and myths such as the Loch Ness monster!!.. Now that would certainly be the most magnificent sight of wildlife to see !!..
Visitors like to absorb the culture the folklore the scenery the history and of course the magnificent wildlife to be found in Scotland.
One of my favourite forms of wildlife has got to be the Golden eagle the second largest bird of prey in Scotland with over 800 breeding pairs. An elegant and very intellectual bird that soars the landscape of Scotland seeking it’s prey.
Day 1: Well this was the journey from London to Drymen, a very typical and peaceful village within the vicinity of Loch Lomond. On leaving Thurrock with 420 miles to go it’s always a thought on my mind, please no hold ups, but the run up was good scenic and when we crossed the border (passports were not required) the sun was shining, well what I mean it was dry. We arrived in the best time possible for 19.30 and welcomed by a hearty Scottish meal and a very comfortable bed at the Winnock Hotel.
Day 2: We started our day with an early entry in to the sea life centre on the banks of Loch Lomond to view the captive otters being fed their breakfast and doing a trick or two. We then had time for an included tea and shortbread to view the splendour of Scotland’s largest body of freshwater.
From here we travelled over one of Scotland’s must travel roads the infamous dukes pass a narrow pass with 180 corners to twist and turn with amazing views over the Trossachs to Loch Katrine for a trip on the SS Sir Walter Scott, an elegant steam ship that creates beautiful patterns on the picturesque loch surrounded by an amphitheatre of gentle sloping hills. The sound of the engine puffing away makes the journey so pleasant and tranquil with the opportunity to see wildlife. Before our trip on the loch we had a nice lunch which consisted of home made soup, sandwiches and cakes, it was well presented and very very nice.
After our boat trip we headed to Ardgaty farm to view Red kites a breed of prey reintroduced to our country. We saw them feeding and as they elegantly swept down for their food it was quite a wonderful sight. The guide at the farm was very informative, detailing the history of this bird and the ways of how they survive and breed.
Day 3: Today was the day of our Safari on the outskirts of the highland village of Aberfeldy. The drive was pleasant and scenic as we skirted by the Lochs of Luibnaig and Loch Earn. On route we spotted Red Deer and a capercaillie, a rare bird with a beautiful blue colour. On arrival at Aberfeldy we divided the group for a trip up the mountain to view any form of wildlife. The guides were entertaining and very knowledgeable and the journey was quite an experience.
Day 4: Well today was a day enjoyed by all as we set out to travel to North Berwick for a boat trip out to Bass Rock an island inhabited by over 150,000 gannets. The weather was stunning as always in Scotland !!.. And the sight of these birds dominating this island was quite spectacular. The young lady on the boat was very informative and pointed out to us also the rare puffin although at this time of year few and far between. But some were sighted.
On returning back to North Berwick I found this a stunning spot of Scotland that even I had never seen and took a liking to the golden sandy beach, the stunning coastal scenery and a town with the most expensive houses in Scotland.
So on our return journey I took it into my own hands just to do something extra to enhance the holiday. I diverted after coming round the city bypass of our capital city Edinburgh to view the most iconic structure of Scotland, The Forth Rail bridge.
I had never been that close with my coach, so after a few wrong turns and narrow streets we arrived to this view.
With my diversion and me boasting the land I come from and the land I pride, I forgot to mention we also had a bird of prey display right outside the front of the hotel and this is the picture of the Golden Eagle at the start of this blog.
So this was our last evening in Scotland and it was our Scottish night with haggis addressed to the crowd of hungry clients eager to taste the wild beastie that had been captured to put on our plate. They are easy to catch and easy to see and hear as they squeal like a really bad bagpipe player, but you must be equipped with your skigh n dubh to taste the most infamous beastie of Scotland.
Haggis addressed and eaten it was time for a ceilidh, so to conclude the tour I presented myself with a bit off class and adorned my Scottish attire.
Now as a known representative I was requisitioned to a barn dance but I did have to disperse and change into my jeans because swinging an swaying is something you have to be careful of when wearing the highland attire.
The holiday was enjoyed by all, although wildlife can not be arranged by appointment, but it is there and you never know what you will see.
Thank you so much to all my clients who travelled with me and enjoyed our experience of Scotland.
Best Regards as always, many thanks for traveling with Crusader Holidays and Motts Travel and hope to see you all returning for a trip to the Bonnie Land with me.
Haste Ye Back
Day 1: Sleeping on the ferry
We were a bit late away from interchange, but no problem, my only pick up was in Dover. The ferry was a bit late but we made up the time, it was a very nice day for the crossing. On the journey across to France it was a bit wet but as I was asleep it wasn’t a problem! We arrived at the hotel at about 10.30pm.
Day 2: Christmas Shop & Lake Titisee
Our first stop was near Hornberg to a Cuckoo Clock Shop, which now has the upper floor open as an all year Christmas Shop and the café was open too. From there, we climbed up into the Black Forest High Road which offers good views off towards Feldberg, the highest point of the Black Forest and Switzerland. On this particular day, May 13th we had a downpour of snow!
When we arrived at Lake Titisee, it was wet and did not stop raining, so some guests enjoyed a boat ride on the lake. After Lake Titisee we journeyed to Freiburg via Hollental, a nice afternoon. We returned to the hotel by 6pm.
Day 3: Strasbourg & Bingo
A good day for Strasbourg, it was nice & bright. We did the tour with our tour guide Eveline, who was good as always. When the tour of city was finished I went and fuelled up then I did what I often do which is ride up and down on the trams! Great! €1.30 for an hour and all I do is go to the end of the line wherever that is and get off, have a coffee, then go back into the city and go in the other direction, sad really.
I picked up my clients at 3.45pm, they all enjoyed the Strasbourg a lot, they went on the canal boat which with the weather was a nice way to spend an hour or so. Then, this evening Armin the Hotelier played his ‘1 Million Euro Bingo’, which people find very amusing because it ain’t bingo like we know it!
Day4: Alsace Villages
Today we toured the Alsace Villages, the weather was a bit cool but dry and the sun was trying to come out. Kaysersberg was a bit chilly, but by the time we arrived the guests went on the Noddy Road Train which is very good, because it goes up into the vineyards and you get great views over the vines and way across the Rhine to the Black Forest. After lunch at Riquewihr, we drove the short distance to the Ribeauville, passing on the way the Stork Park Reserve and the Butterfly Papillon Park which has a very nice display in the shape of a Butterfly. After a last stop here at Ribeauville, we make our return to the hotel after a good day out visiting the Alsace Villages , arriving about 5.15pm.
Day 5: Return home
After an early breakfast we head back towards Calais with a couple of stops en route for the 3.20pm ferry.
See our tour to the Black Forest & Alsace Villages
Crusader Holidays parent company, Motts Travel, provide coach hire for the Helicopter Club of Great Britain.
Motts Travel provide quality coach transport hire in Buckinghamshire as well as surrounding Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire not to mention North, South, West and Central London.
Motts Travel were asked to assist Woburn Abbey & Safari Park in Bedfordshire to perform a semi-VIP trip on behalf of the Helicopter Club of Great Britain.
The coach picked up guests from the 17th Century Abbey to do a tour of the grounds and Safari Park which contain species such as White Rhino, Elephants, Tigers and Black Bears.
After the tour the club members then took flight into Woburn in a number of their helicopters.
The group specifically flew to the Woburn Estate for the tour and our coach met them at the Abbey.
They departed from the Estate by various helicopter(s) after they had enjoyed an afternoon tea at the Abbey Tea Rooms.
The hire was completed on the 20th May 2014, with Brian Davis driving CT10 MTT a Volvo B7R, Sunsundegui Sideral, which seats 38 guests.
Woburn Abbey & Safari Park have shared with us the above images which showcase the wonderful and unique day out.
An historic journey into the heart of ‘Cultural Germany’ with included visits to Dresden, Leipzig & Colditz Castle, where our brave servicemen struggled for freedom. Saxony is a unique cultural landscape in the heart of Europe where East meets West. This region was part of East Germany until the uprisings in 1990 and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Ironically, Saxony’s cities and towns owe a great deal for their beauty to the many wars of conquest – all this called for impenetrable fortifications, imposing castles, watch-towers and thick walled dungeons.
Neukirchen, Germany – Monday Afternoon
We arrived early at 4pm, seeing the hotel it’s beautiful and very peaceful. Dinner was booked for 6pm and I was hoping to take in any interesting sights of the surrounding area – I have 2 hours. Two hours later, I have seen 102 sheep, 37 cows of various colours, 225 chickens and 2 roosters fighting!
I have seen a sign pointing towards someone called Norma – what she does I am not sure but I am hoping to pay her a visit on our free day…
Dresden- Tuesday Morning
We passed Norma after leaving the hotel – turns out she is a brick built supermarket! Free day dreams dashed!
I have never been to Dresden, but I love exploring! Once we met our guide, we enjoyed a really good city tour with lots of photo stops; along the river, all over the old town and then we enjoyed plenty of free time in the afternoon.
Have forgotten all about Norma ….and have fallen in love with a Thuringuian sausage from the Spring Market in the old square – best 3 euro lunch I have eaten! It was a great place to eat, lots of stalls selling different food, drink and a great atmosphere. Then topped it off with a piece of local cake – Eiers Checke; made of honey, eggs, pastry & cream.
I absolutely love Dresden!
Leipzig & Colditz – Wednesday
Another first time for me. Leipzig was stunning, it has a huge main square and a lovely old town. There was lots of shopping to do be done. I strolled into what looks like a very upmarket store on the main square and in the foyer was a 1960’s Cadillac Eldorado Coupe in Beige – the size of an ocean liner! Beautiful!
We also visited Colditz. I have been there before; it has a dinky main square with a castle overlooking it. Same views as prisoners had from their windows and the courtyards. Still marvel at the ingenuity of the prisoners and their attempts to escape. We had a very informative guided tour of the castle and then time to look around.
Our free day- Thursday
I started the day by cleaning the coach; whilst I was cleaning I saw two blue jays zooming passed me into the trees – stunning colours! I got the camera out for wildlife shot, but every time I took aim they jumped up to a higher branch – maybe they were scared of photos…
Dinner at the Castle – Thursday Evening
Dinner was enjoyed in a fabulous room, adorned with suits of armour and almost a waiter each! It was a lovely meal, we took some great photos and then off we went for an early night!
Journey home – Friday
Friday it was the usual journey home. I have been really impressed with Saxony. It was like a huge forest everywhere, I am not a birdwatcher but you surely cannot fail to be impressed by the huge amount of birds of prey. Just magnificent!
Started at Frinton this morning, then interchange at Thurrock – South Mimms, a nice group, quite jolly after leaving South Mimms. Then onto the M1 and M6 toll, where we stopped for lunch at Norton Canes on M6 toll, it’s all changed here, lot of different outlets for food, very busy. After lunch we continued on the M6, then M56 Chester Services for short breaks. We arrived at Warners at 5pm, all passengers very pleased with the accommodation, food and all enjoyed the first nights evening entertainment.
Usual start to the day, washed the windscreens, hoovered the bus, had a cup of tea and chinwag with other drivers. Today, we went into the Snowdonia National Park with a stop at Betws-y-Coed, which people enjoyed. Then we had a drive over Llanberis pass to Llanberis, which was a nice drive with spectacular scenery. At Llanberis, some of the clients went on the Lake Train, which is a 1 hour trip with a little steam train which runs along side the lake, all enjoyed. Others went into the Slate Museum, which they found interesting, particularly the demonstration. We returned to the Hotel at 4pm, clients, once again, enjoyed the night’s entertainment which was themed on the 50’s.
Free day today, an exciting day in the life of a Crusader coach driver! Wash the bus, hoover, clean windows, lovely. This afternoon, I went to see if I could knock a few balls on the snooker table, unfortunately it was occupied.
First stop, the place with the long name (Llanfair…P….??) where we made a stop for photos and coffee. Then onto Beaumaris, where the weather was kind to us. Our final stop was Conwy where coach drivers face tricky manoeuvres because of the Arches. It was a wet afternoon so I went to the pick up early, clients were waiting so we made an early return for the Hotel.
Having returned to the Hotel, I found a driver from another coach company playing snooker so we had a game. He told me he wasn’t very good but proceeded to go 20 points in the lead but if I say so myself with magnificent doubles on the pink, black, I won the game with two. Frame two, again he was leading but I clawed my way back and I won 2 nil. Then, he decides he could play Table Tennis but again 4-1 to Crusader. Good fun!
A drive home in the wet, but clients I think enjoyed themselves.