Cycling the Spirit of Scotland
Scotland's Castle Trail - Giants of history but even bigger on hospitality.
It’s a cliché but it’s always the small things in life that count. I’ve just returned from our newest UK trip, Scotland’s Castle Trail. The tour links together some of Scotland’s most significant castles; Scone Palace (the crowning place of 42 Scottish kings), the fascinating history of Blair Atholl Castle and the regal residence of Glamis Castle.
Other headline experiences include local distilleries, the picture postcard village of Dunkeld and that feeling of both peace and excitement when pedalling the open road. Yet for me, it was the small encounters which captured the essence of Scotland's heritage.
Expect a warm welcome, but not from the weather!
If you're cycling in Scotland at the end of March, you're main concern is keeping warm - fingers, toes and even ears. No matter what the weather throws at you (within a 20 minute window sleet, sun, rain and lightening all made an appearance!) the scenery is dramatic and gnaws into your soul. I often found myself stopping to absorb the beauty and silence of the open road.
Whilst I may have grabbed a few minutes here and there, a farmer, motorist or well wrapped cyclist would stop for chat. Mostly to ask if I was OK. Was I lost? Did I need anything? I was fine on all counts, but I just adored how this led into an easy going chat driven by the pride local communities clearly have for their heritage.
From chatting to local farmers about the iconic Highland Cows (did you know they are the oldest registered breed of cow in the world?), through to the immaculately dressed George who manned the gate at Galmis Castle (with a perfect tie and smile to match), a warm welcome is the fabric of Scottish society. Castles might be the giants of history but if would rather experience than visit Scotland - get on the road and ride a bike!
If you're interested in cycling Scotland's Castle Trail more information on dates, prices and availability can be found here