Visiting Scotland in the Regency

Welcome_to_Scotland_sign_A1_roadNicola here. It’s no secret that amongst the Wenches and our
readers there are a lot of fans of all things Scottish. It’s a beautiful
country, one of the places in the world I could never tire of visiting and I
have had some amazing experiences there, from climbing mountains to swimming in
the lochs, from sailing amongst the Northern Isles to wandering the cobbled
streets of Edinburgh. I’ve fallen over in Scottish bogs, been bitten by midges,
danced at a ceilidh and been marooned in every sort of weather you might
imagine, flood, fog and snow. It’s been brilliant.

In making my frequent trips to Scotland I’m hardly unique.
Nor is heading to the Highlands a recent phenomenon. Scotland was a tourist
destination as early as the 18th century and in the later years of that century and in the early 19th century its popularity exploded. “It has now become fashionable to make a tour
into Scotland for some weeks or months,” The Weekly Magazine commented in 1772,
whilst Eliza Diggle observed in 1788: “All the world is travelling to Scotland
and Ireland.”

Here are a few of the snippets I've picked up about the history
of tourism in Scotland when I was researching the background to The Lady and
the Laird
(with a few of my own photos for illustration!)

Intrepid Travellers

The earliest authors who wrote about Scotland, including
Martin Martin in 1698 and Daniel Defoe in
Intrepid travellers 1724, were intrepid individuals whose
writings inspired other travellers to venture into those wild lands. In 1771
Thomas Pennant published his Tour In Scotland, which was a vast success.
He had previously written a similar guide to Ireland, which he admitted was
very incomplete “owing to the conviviality of the country.” Visitors to
Scotland were attracted by Pennant’s descriptions of landscape and his account
of folklore. His enthusiasm for picturesque views and for nature was keen. He
did much to inspire Dr Samuel Johnson’s travels and despite disliking Pennant’s
politics Johnson said of him: “He is the best traveller I ever read; he
observes more things than anyone else does.”

Dr Johnson and James Boswell followed swiftly in Pennant’s
footsteps, travelling mainly through the Western Isles. Here they found the
Highlands in a state of change. The clan system had been dismantled, the
wearing of tartan was prohibited and the land was being cleared. Johnson
wondered if he had left it too late to witness the “old” way of life of the
Highlands. He did note, however, that illegal whisky distilling was common and
that there was a custom called the skalk, whereby a man took a glass of whisky
as an aperitif before breakfast. (My husband turned a bit pale when he heard
that. He likes a wee dram but not before breakfast. I remember visiting the
Talisker Distillery last year and doing some whisky tasting at about 11 in the
morning. The rest of the day is a bit hazy.)

The Guidebook – An Insipid Tour

Edinburgh guide bookBy the turn of the 19th century guide books to
Scotland abounded. The Quarterly Review of 1806 complained: “There is Johnson’s
Philosophic Tour, Pennant’s Descriptive Tour, Gilpin’s Picturesque Tour,
Stoddart’s Sketching Tour, Garnet’s Medical Tour, Mrs Murray’s Familiar Tour,
Newte’s Nautical Tour, Mawman’s Bookselling Tour, Campbell’s Crazy Tour,
Lithie’s Insipid Tour…All those Caledonian memorabilia that the more desperate
visit in person.”  I must admit I am a
keen reader of guidebooks. The guide book to Edinburgh I used last year was
particularly good on helping me put my itinerary together even if it wasn’t
called “An Insipid Tour of Edinburgh.” (Here is a photo of me consulting it in the famous Greyfriars church yard.)

It’s difficult to know how many of the 18th and
19th century travel guides were bought by people who simply had an
interest in reading more about Scotland and were not actually intending to
leave the comfort of their armchair. The tour guides definitely played a part
in encouraging a growing interest in the country, its landscape, the rugged scenery,
the geology, the literature and the legends. Perhaps some of those people who
read about the country still saw it as too wild and dangerous to visit but
reading about it at home made it seem safer.

At the same time the refurbishment of inns and the development
of hotels does suggest that people were travelling in increasing numbers. The
Napoleonic Wars certainly benefited travel in Britain as much of the continent was closed to tourists; one newspaper commented:
“Edinburgh is as much visited by every dashing citizen who pretends to fashion
as Margate or Tonbridge.”

An Opportunity for Tour Guides

With tourism came a need for people to show the visitors
around. Guides could make a good income
Handbook from fees and tips and some
supplemented their talks by selling handbooks and souvenirs. By the 1790s the
more entrepreneurial were designing advertisements offering their services.
Towns such as Perth and Sterling appointed town guides and abbeys offered
guided tours, as did stately homes. In 1814 the Duke of Atholl’s factor devised
a set of guidelines for the people who showed visitors around the gardens at
Dunkeld. They had to wear a badge for identification and they had to ensure
that all visitors signed in. The tourists were not permitted to walk round on
their own because some of them would help themselves to “souvenirs” of plant
cuttings or carve their initials on the trees! The Head Gardener himself would
show the more important guests around although on one occasion he made a
mistake when two rich American visitors came posing as sailors. He took one
look at their shabby attire and consigned them to an underling, thus missing
out on a substantial tip.

The Visitor’s Book

In Scotland the visitor’s book started its life in the 18th
century as “the album given to strangers.” Most people simply signed their
names but a few made comments about the place and whether or not they had
enjoyed their visit. From this developed the idea of feedback on the
attractions which today manifests itself in Trip Advisor! I haven't found any rude comments in Scottish visitors' books but I was
intrigued to read that the gardens at Nuneham Courtenay in England had a
problem with people writing uncomplimentary comments in the visitors book in 1815. One
visitor wrote: “Well does the dinner and the day agree; the food is cold and so
are we.”

By Land and Sea

Taymouth_Castle_James_NorieAs tourism started to take off it gave a boost to Scottish
hotels and inns. This was much to the relief of the nobility and gentry who had
previously offered friends and acquaintances accommodation in their own houses.
In 1773 Lord Breadalbane commented that: “We have had a good deal of company
here this summer… Many of them from England, some of whom I knew before, others
recommended to me. Sometimes it is a little troublesome…” Guest had to be fed
and entertained, which could be expensive, and they all wanted to participate
in some Scottish country dancing.  Poor
Lord Breadalbane found that he had barely a moment to himself before the next
carriage load of visitors rolled up to the door!

Of the inns, the best were excellent but the worst had a
name for being appalling. The Inchture Inn between Perth and Dundee was noted for
serving a very poor breakfast of stale eggs, rancid butter and inedible bread.
The well-organised tourist sent ahead to organise rooms, request fresh bedding
and make sure there would be good food. The roads were equally mixed, some in
excellent condition, others very poor. Whilst highway robbery was almost
unknown by this period, other mishaps were all too frequent. Tourists
frequently got lost because there were no road signs. Even Queen Victoria got
lost in the hills above Dunkeld, and carriages could easily overturn and horses
go lame. North of Perth the inns did not always provide horses for hire which
meant that travellers had to rest their own teams until they were able to continue.

Travel on the water was even more perilous. The journey to
see the famous Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of
StaffaStaffa was considered extremely
dangerous (and I have to admit that it was pretty rough the day we visited and
our dog didn’t much appreciate being lifted in and out of the boat by two hefty
sailors!) This is one of our photos showing the sea breaking over the entrance to Fingal's Cave.

The Medicinal Visit

The therapeutic value of sea bathing was not as quickly
recognised in Scotland as it was in England, perhaps because it’s cold getting
in the water in Scotland whatever the season.  (There is a photo of me swimming in Scotland but it's censored because of my horrified expression when the cold water hits!) A saltwater bath was built at
Peterhead in 1762 to augment the existing mineral spring treatments and in 1788
there were bathing machines for hire at Tynemouth and other resorts. By the
turn of the 19th century there were a number of seaside towns near
Edinburgh that offered sea bathing and this was generally recognised as being
good for the health.  Dr William Buchan
recommended seawater as a cure for skin complaints and a preservative of
general health. These towns also developed coffee rooms, circulating libraries
and music chambers for those occasions on which the weather turned wet.

Nicola at the top of the mountainScotland also offered other opportunities for a healthy
holiday. Equestrian trips, pedestrian tours and mountain ascents were all on
offer by the end of the 18th century. As the 19th century
progressed the idea of a picturesque tour of Scotland to admire the scenery or
a medicinal visit for exercise and sea bathing was joined by the sporting visit
so beloved of Victorian and Edwardian aristocrats. Scotland’s popularity as a
tourist destination hasn’t waned since. 

Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to taking a
trip? Do you like to read the guidebooks beforehand or simply turn up and
decide what to do when you arrive? And have you ever visited somewhere that was
completely different from how you expected it to be? (For me it was Stonehenge – I expected it to be bigger!)

130 thoughts on “Visiting Scotland in the Regency”

  1. Great post, since I’m currently on the train back to London after about 10 days in Scotland! I have a question that’s not in the Rick Steves book, however. Where did Edinburgh society assemble for balls, etc.? I’ve read a few Regency books that had scenes in Edinburgh, but I don’t recall.

  2. Great post, since I’m currently on the train back to London after about 10 days in Scotland! I have a question that’s not in the Rick Steves book, however. Where did Edinburgh society assemble for balls, etc.? I’ve read a few Regency books that had scenes in Edinburgh, but I don’t recall.

  3. Great post, since I’m currently on the train back to London after about 10 days in Scotland! I have a question that’s not in the Rick Steves book, however. Where did Edinburgh society assemble for balls, etc.? I’ve read a few Regency books that had scenes in Edinburgh, but I don’t recall.

  4. Great post, since I’m currently on the train back to London after about 10 days in Scotland! I have a question that’s not in the Rick Steves book, however. Where did Edinburgh society assemble for balls, etc.? I’ve read a few Regency books that had scenes in Edinburgh, but I don’t recall.

  5. Great post, since I’m currently on the train back to London after about 10 days in Scotland! I have a question that’s not in the Rick Steves book, however. Where did Edinburgh society assemble for balls, etc.? I’ve read a few Regency books that had scenes in Edinburgh, but I don’t recall.

  6. Thank you very much, Grace. I think I’d need to do a lot more research before I felt qualified to write a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour but that is a terrific idea!

  7. Thank you very much, Grace. I think I’d need to do a lot more research before I felt qualified to write a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour but that is a terrific idea!

  8. Thank you very much, Grace. I think I’d need to do a lot more research before I felt qualified to write a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour but that is a terrific idea!

  9. Thank you very much, Grace. I think I’d need to do a lot more research before I felt qualified to write a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour but that is a terrific idea!

  10. Thank you very much, Grace. I think I’d need to do a lot more research before I felt qualified to write a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour but that is a terrific idea!

  11. Wonderful post, Nicola! And I am certain Monty was affronted at the insult to his dignity being lifted in and out of the boat.
    Ooh! I love the idea of a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour of Scotland. I have only visited Scotland once and it was many years ago when I was in college. I loved Edinburgh and we camped out at Loch Ness. However, we visited in March and it was brutal cold!
    How funny that the people of England saw Scotland as such an exotic place to visit.

  12. Wonderful post, Nicola! And I am certain Monty was affronted at the insult to his dignity being lifted in and out of the boat.
    Ooh! I love the idea of a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour of Scotland. I have only visited Scotland once and it was many years ago when I was in college. I loved Edinburgh and we camped out at Loch Ness. However, we visited in March and it was brutal cold!
    How funny that the people of England saw Scotland as such an exotic place to visit.

  13. Wonderful post, Nicola! And I am certain Monty was affronted at the insult to his dignity being lifted in and out of the boat.
    Ooh! I love the idea of a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour of Scotland. I have only visited Scotland once and it was many years ago when I was in college. I loved Edinburgh and we camped out at Loch Ness. However, we visited in March and it was brutal cold!
    How funny that the people of England saw Scotland as such an exotic place to visit.

  14. Wonderful post, Nicola! And I am certain Monty was affronted at the insult to his dignity being lifted in and out of the boat.
    Ooh! I love the idea of a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour of Scotland. I have only visited Scotland once and it was many years ago when I was in college. I loved Edinburgh and we camped out at Loch Ness. However, we visited in March and it was brutal cold!
    How funny that the people of England saw Scotland as such an exotic place to visit.

  15. Wonderful post, Nicola! And I am certain Monty was affronted at the insult to his dignity being lifted in and out of the boat.
    Ooh! I love the idea of a Historical Romance Writer’s Tour of Scotland. I have only visited Scotland once and it was many years ago when I was in college. I loved Edinburgh and we camped out at Loch Ness. However, we visited in March and it was brutal cold!
    How funny that the people of England saw Scotland as such an exotic place to visit.

  16. Thank you, Louisa! Yes, you should have seen the look on Monty’s face when they picked him up unceremoniously and dropped him in the boat!
    You were very brave to camp at Loch Ness in March (I don’t mean because of the Monster!) I’ve never been earlier in the year than April and it snowed then so I would imagine you would be shivering!

  17. Thank you, Louisa! Yes, you should have seen the look on Monty’s face when they picked him up unceremoniously and dropped him in the boat!
    You were very brave to camp at Loch Ness in March (I don’t mean because of the Monster!) I’ve never been earlier in the year than April and it snowed then so I would imagine you would be shivering!

  18. Thank you, Louisa! Yes, you should have seen the look on Monty’s face when they picked him up unceremoniously and dropped him in the boat!
    You were very brave to camp at Loch Ness in March (I don’t mean because of the Monster!) I’ve never been earlier in the year than April and it snowed then so I would imagine you would be shivering!

  19. Thank you, Louisa! Yes, you should have seen the look on Monty’s face when they picked him up unceremoniously and dropped him in the boat!
    You were very brave to camp at Loch Ness in March (I don’t mean because of the Monster!) I’ve never been earlier in the year than April and it snowed then so I would imagine you would be shivering!

  20. Thank you, Louisa! Yes, you should have seen the look on Monty’s face when they picked him up unceremoniously and dropped him in the boat!
    You were very brave to camp at Loch Ness in March (I don’t mean because of the Monster!) I’ve never been earlier in the year than April and it snowed then so I would imagine you would be shivering!

  21. I’m a plotter as far as traveling. I hate to turn up at a site and find out it is under construction, etc. I too was kind of disappointed with Stonehenge. The road is so close to it!
    I wish I could remember which loch I saw once that actually had a US Navy PT boat floating there in 1994. Drove around a bend and there it sat. Very weird to see a US flag away from a military installation.

  22. I’m a plotter as far as traveling. I hate to turn up at a site and find out it is under construction, etc. I too was kind of disappointed with Stonehenge. The road is so close to it!
    I wish I could remember which loch I saw once that actually had a US Navy PT boat floating there in 1994. Drove around a bend and there it sat. Very weird to see a US flag away from a military installation.

  23. I’m a plotter as far as traveling. I hate to turn up at a site and find out it is under construction, etc. I too was kind of disappointed with Stonehenge. The road is so close to it!
    I wish I could remember which loch I saw once that actually had a US Navy PT boat floating there in 1994. Drove around a bend and there it sat. Very weird to see a US flag away from a military installation.

  24. I’m a plotter as far as traveling. I hate to turn up at a site and find out it is under construction, etc. I too was kind of disappointed with Stonehenge. The road is so close to it!
    I wish I could remember which loch I saw once that actually had a US Navy PT boat floating there in 1994. Drove around a bend and there it sat. Very weird to see a US flag away from a military installation.

  25. I’m a plotter as far as traveling. I hate to turn up at a site and find out it is under construction, etc. I too was kind of disappointed with Stonehenge. The road is so close to it!
    I wish I could remember which loch I saw once that actually had a US Navy PT boat floating there in 1994. Drove around a bend and there it sat. Very weird to see a US flag away from a military installation.

  26. A very enjoyable and informative post, Nicola. I took note especially of the name of Gilpin in the list of old guidebooks. My (now ex) husband and I were partners with a Gilpin in the Thoroughbred business, and he had shared with us the stories of his ancestors’ Scaleby Castle in Cumbria. His parents named their estate in N. Va. Scaleby after it.

  27. A very enjoyable and informative post, Nicola. I took note especially of the name of Gilpin in the list of old guidebooks. My (now ex) husband and I were partners with a Gilpin in the Thoroughbred business, and he had shared with us the stories of his ancestors’ Scaleby Castle in Cumbria. His parents named their estate in N. Va. Scaleby after it.

  28. A very enjoyable and informative post, Nicola. I took note especially of the name of Gilpin in the list of old guidebooks. My (now ex) husband and I were partners with a Gilpin in the Thoroughbred business, and he had shared with us the stories of his ancestors’ Scaleby Castle in Cumbria. His parents named their estate in N. Va. Scaleby after it.

  29. A very enjoyable and informative post, Nicola. I took note especially of the name of Gilpin in the list of old guidebooks. My (now ex) husband and I were partners with a Gilpin in the Thoroughbred business, and he had shared with us the stories of his ancestors’ Scaleby Castle in Cumbria. His parents named their estate in N. Va. Scaleby after it.

  30. A very enjoyable and informative post, Nicola. I took note especially of the name of Gilpin in the list of old guidebooks. My (now ex) husband and I were partners with a Gilpin in the Thoroughbred business, and he had shared with us the stories of his ancestors’ Scaleby Castle in Cumbria. His parents named their estate in N. Va. Scaleby after it.

  31. Yes, I think the road really spoiled the approach to Stonehenge, Angelina. They have closed it now and are building a new visitor centre which will make a big difference, I think.
    That’s interesting about the US Navy boat. We came across on in a loch north of Inveraray. There’s a lot of WWII history around there and a lot of shared UK/US naval history.

  32. Yes, I think the road really spoiled the approach to Stonehenge, Angelina. They have closed it now and are building a new visitor centre which will make a big difference, I think.
    That’s interesting about the US Navy boat. We came across on in a loch north of Inveraray. There’s a lot of WWII history around there and a lot of shared UK/US naval history.

  33. Yes, I think the road really spoiled the approach to Stonehenge, Angelina. They have closed it now and are building a new visitor centre which will make a big difference, I think.
    That’s interesting about the US Navy boat. We came across on in a loch north of Inveraray. There’s a lot of WWII history around there and a lot of shared UK/US naval history.

  34. Yes, I think the road really spoiled the approach to Stonehenge, Angelina. They have closed it now and are building a new visitor centre which will make a big difference, I think.
    That’s interesting about the US Navy boat. We came across on in a loch north of Inveraray. There’s a lot of WWII history around there and a lot of shared UK/US naval history.

  35. Yes, I think the road really spoiled the approach to Stonehenge, Angelina. They have closed it now and are building a new visitor centre which will make a big difference, I think.
    That’s interesting about the US Navy boat. We came across on in a loch north of Inveraray. There’s a lot of WWII history around there and a lot of shared UK/US naval history.

  36. We visited Edenburgh in the late 70s.
    Wonderful garden and saw a military “Tattoo” up at the castle.
    Would dearly like to revisit. The hotel had a really big tub up on legs and with heated towel racks.

  37. We visited Edenburgh in the late 70s.
    Wonderful garden and saw a military “Tattoo” up at the castle.
    Would dearly like to revisit. The hotel had a really big tub up on legs and with heated towel racks.

  38. We visited Edenburgh in the late 70s.
    Wonderful garden and saw a military “Tattoo” up at the castle.
    Would dearly like to revisit. The hotel had a really big tub up on legs and with heated towel racks.

  39. We visited Edenburgh in the late 70s.
    Wonderful garden and saw a military “Tattoo” up at the castle.
    Would dearly like to revisit. The hotel had a really big tub up on legs and with heated towel racks.

  40. We visited Edenburgh in the late 70s.
    Wonderful garden and saw a military “Tattoo” up at the castle.
    Would dearly like to revisit. The hotel had a really big tub up on legs and with heated towel racks.

  41. Nicola, this makes me want to book a ticket! Much as I love England, when I first visited Scotland I felt a sense of connection even though I don’t know if I have much, if any, Scottish ancestry. There’s a collapsed black house village on Harris and Lewis that I used for a chase scene in one my books. I visited there long before I started writing, but I looked at those ruins and just knew that they’d be great for my hunted characters to hide out. *G*

  42. Nicola, this makes me want to book a ticket! Much as I love England, when I first visited Scotland I felt a sense of connection even though I don’t know if I have much, if any, Scottish ancestry. There’s a collapsed black house village on Harris and Lewis that I used for a chase scene in one my books. I visited there long before I started writing, but I looked at those ruins and just knew that they’d be great for my hunted characters to hide out. *G*

  43. Nicola, this makes me want to book a ticket! Much as I love England, when I first visited Scotland I felt a sense of connection even though I don’t know if I have much, if any, Scottish ancestry. There’s a collapsed black house village on Harris and Lewis that I used for a chase scene in one my books. I visited there long before I started writing, but I looked at those ruins and just knew that they’d be great for my hunted characters to hide out. *G*

  44. Nicola, this makes me want to book a ticket! Much as I love England, when I first visited Scotland I felt a sense of connection even though I don’t know if I have much, if any, Scottish ancestry. There’s a collapsed black house village on Harris and Lewis that I used for a chase scene in one my books. I visited there long before I started writing, but I looked at those ruins and just knew that they’d be great for my hunted characters to hide out. *G*

  45. Nicola, this makes me want to book a ticket! Much as I love England, when I first visited Scotland I felt a sense of connection even though I don’t know if I have much, if any, Scottish ancestry. There’s a collapsed black house village on Harris and Lewis that I used for a chase scene in one my books. I visited there long before I started writing, but I looked at those ruins and just knew that they’d be great for my hunted characters to hide out. *G*

  46. Great post Nicola. I have tried to visit Scotland each time I have visited Britain, but with no theme, or guide book. This post makes me want to go back again, this time after reading a guide book first. I have had some fun times there. Once I and some friends were staying in a youth hostel in May, and discovered they turned the hot water off on 1 May. One chirpy Scottish child (about 10 years) told us it was invigorating. Yikes, it was freezing.

  47. Great post Nicola. I have tried to visit Scotland each time I have visited Britain, but with no theme, or guide book. This post makes me want to go back again, this time after reading a guide book first. I have had some fun times there. Once I and some friends were staying in a youth hostel in May, and discovered they turned the hot water off on 1 May. One chirpy Scottish child (about 10 years) told us it was invigorating. Yikes, it was freezing.

  48. Great post Nicola. I have tried to visit Scotland each time I have visited Britain, but with no theme, or guide book. This post makes me want to go back again, this time after reading a guide book first. I have had some fun times there. Once I and some friends were staying in a youth hostel in May, and discovered they turned the hot water off on 1 May. One chirpy Scottish child (about 10 years) told us it was invigorating. Yikes, it was freezing.

  49. Great post Nicola. I have tried to visit Scotland each time I have visited Britain, but with no theme, or guide book. This post makes me want to go back again, this time after reading a guide book first. I have had some fun times there. Once I and some friends were staying in a youth hostel in May, and discovered they turned the hot water off on 1 May. One chirpy Scottish child (about 10 years) told us it was invigorating. Yikes, it was freezing.

  50. Great post Nicola. I have tried to visit Scotland each time I have visited Britain, but with no theme, or guide book. This post makes me want to go back again, this time after reading a guide book first. I have had some fun times there. Once I and some friends were staying in a youth hostel in May, and discovered they turned the hot water off on 1 May. One chirpy Scottish child (about 10 years) told us it was invigorating. Yikes, it was freezing.

  51. Lovely post, Nicola. I do consult guidebooks to some degree, but I also like to be open to whimsy and impulse. The first time I saw Stonehenge it seemed very big — I was 8 and a damp day and there wasn’t all the “stuff” around it there is now, just us and the windswept moor, and it felt very atmospheric and in keeping with the stories my dad had told us. The next time I went back wasn’t nearly as wonderful.

  52. Lovely post, Nicola. I do consult guidebooks to some degree, but I also like to be open to whimsy and impulse. The first time I saw Stonehenge it seemed very big — I was 8 and a damp day and there wasn’t all the “stuff” around it there is now, just us and the windswept moor, and it felt very atmospheric and in keeping with the stories my dad had told us. The next time I went back wasn’t nearly as wonderful.

  53. Lovely post, Nicola. I do consult guidebooks to some degree, but I also like to be open to whimsy and impulse. The first time I saw Stonehenge it seemed very big — I was 8 and a damp day and there wasn’t all the “stuff” around it there is now, just us and the windswept moor, and it felt very atmospheric and in keeping with the stories my dad had told us. The next time I went back wasn’t nearly as wonderful.

  54. Lovely post, Nicola. I do consult guidebooks to some degree, but I also like to be open to whimsy and impulse. The first time I saw Stonehenge it seemed very big — I was 8 and a damp day and there wasn’t all the “stuff” around it there is now, just us and the windswept moor, and it felt very atmospheric and in keeping with the stories my dad had told us. The next time I went back wasn’t nearly as wonderful.

  55. Lovely post, Nicola. I do consult guidebooks to some degree, but I also like to be open to whimsy and impulse. The first time I saw Stonehenge it seemed very big — I was 8 and a damp day and there wasn’t all the “stuff” around it there is now, just us and the windswept moor, and it felt very atmospheric and in keeping with the stories my dad had told us. The next time I went back wasn’t nearly as wonderful.

  56. Louis, I’ve never seen the Edinburgh tattoo and I think it must be a very stirring experience.
    LOL, Jenny! They are tough up North, you know! There is a tradition of turning off the heating at the end of April and not turning on until October. And even then you are considered soft for not hanging on until November!

  57. Louis, I’ve never seen the Edinburgh tattoo and I think it must be a very stirring experience.
    LOL, Jenny! They are tough up North, you know! There is a tradition of turning off the heating at the end of April and not turning on until October. And even then you are considered soft for not hanging on until November!

  58. Louis, I’ve never seen the Edinburgh tattoo and I think it must be a very stirring experience.
    LOL, Jenny! They are tough up North, you know! There is a tradition of turning off the heating at the end of April and not turning on until October. And even then you are considered soft for not hanging on until November!

  59. Louis, I’ve never seen the Edinburgh tattoo and I think it must be a very stirring experience.
    LOL, Jenny! They are tough up North, you know! There is a tradition of turning off the heating at the end of April and not turning on until October. And even then you are considered soft for not hanging on until November!

  60. Louis, I’ve never seen the Edinburgh tattoo and I think it must be a very stirring experience.
    LOL, Jenny! They are tough up North, you know! There is a tradition of turning off the heating at the end of April and not turning on until October. And even then you are considered soft for not hanging on until November!

  61. Mary Jo, that does indeed sound like the perfect setting! There is something about Scotland that lends itself to a scene like that, I think. So atmospheric. I can picture it simply from your description. I haven’t been to the Outer Hebrides for years but it is such a beautiful set of islands.

  62. Mary Jo, that does indeed sound like the perfect setting! There is something about Scotland that lends itself to a scene like that, I think. So atmospheric. I can picture it simply from your description. I haven’t been to the Outer Hebrides for years but it is such a beautiful set of islands.

  63. Mary Jo, that does indeed sound like the perfect setting! There is something about Scotland that lends itself to a scene like that, I think. So atmospheric. I can picture it simply from your description. I haven’t been to the Outer Hebrides for years but it is such a beautiful set of islands.

  64. Mary Jo, that does indeed sound like the perfect setting! There is something about Scotland that lends itself to a scene like that, I think. So atmospheric. I can picture it simply from your description. I haven’t been to the Outer Hebrides for years but it is such a beautiful set of islands.

  65. Mary Jo, that does indeed sound like the perfect setting! There is something about Scotland that lends itself to a scene like that, I think. So atmospheric. I can picture it simply from your description. I haven’t been to the Outer Hebrides for years but it is such a beautiful set of islands.

  66. I really envy you that windswept moor at Stonehenge, Anne. That sounds wonderful and would make a huge impression on an imaginative child, I think. I think it’s a place that could feel very atmospheric under the right conditions, with no other people and no traffic. I often think that when I go to Avebury stone circle. If you are lucky enough to be there when it’s quiet you can feel the history. I’m not so good at connecting with a place – any place – when there is a lot going on. I need to tune in to the atmosphere!

  67. I really envy you that windswept moor at Stonehenge, Anne. That sounds wonderful and would make a huge impression on an imaginative child, I think. I think it’s a place that could feel very atmospheric under the right conditions, with no other people and no traffic. I often think that when I go to Avebury stone circle. If you are lucky enough to be there when it’s quiet you can feel the history. I’m not so good at connecting with a place – any place – when there is a lot going on. I need to tune in to the atmosphere!

  68. I really envy you that windswept moor at Stonehenge, Anne. That sounds wonderful and would make a huge impression on an imaginative child, I think. I think it’s a place that could feel very atmospheric under the right conditions, with no other people and no traffic. I often think that when I go to Avebury stone circle. If you are lucky enough to be there when it’s quiet you can feel the history. I’m not so good at connecting with a place – any place – when there is a lot going on. I need to tune in to the atmosphere!

  69. I really envy you that windswept moor at Stonehenge, Anne. That sounds wonderful and would make a huge impression on an imaginative child, I think. I think it’s a place that could feel very atmospheric under the right conditions, with no other people and no traffic. I often think that when I go to Avebury stone circle. If you are lucky enough to be there when it’s quiet you can feel the history. I’m not so good at connecting with a place – any place – when there is a lot going on. I need to tune in to the atmosphere!

  70. I really envy you that windswept moor at Stonehenge, Anne. That sounds wonderful and would make a huge impression on an imaginative child, I think. I think it’s a place that could feel very atmospheric under the right conditions, with no other people and no traffic. I often think that when I go to Avebury stone circle. If you are lucky enough to be there when it’s quiet you can feel the history. I’m not so good at connecting with a place – any place – when there is a lot going on. I need to tune in to the atmosphere!

  71. Lovely post Nicola and a beautiful country.I have been visiting for years and even married a scot – his dad was born John oGroats turn left(Dunnet)tho my other half was born here in Dorset !We are off up to see the Edinburgh Tattoo next month.You really should try to go,it is a marvelous spectacle in fantastic surroundings but only if you like bagpipes!!

  72. Lovely post Nicola and a beautiful country.I have been visiting for years and even married a scot – his dad was born John oGroats turn left(Dunnet)tho my other half was born here in Dorset !We are off up to see the Edinburgh Tattoo next month.You really should try to go,it is a marvelous spectacle in fantastic surroundings but only if you like bagpipes!!

  73. Lovely post Nicola and a beautiful country.I have been visiting for years and even married a scot – his dad was born John oGroats turn left(Dunnet)tho my other half was born here in Dorset !We are off up to see the Edinburgh Tattoo next month.You really should try to go,it is a marvelous spectacle in fantastic surroundings but only if you like bagpipes!!

  74. Lovely post Nicola and a beautiful country.I have been visiting for years and even married a scot – his dad was born John oGroats turn left(Dunnet)tho my other half was born here in Dorset !We are off up to see the Edinburgh Tattoo next month.You really should try to go,it is a marvelous spectacle in fantastic surroundings but only if you like bagpipes!!

  75. Lovely post Nicola and a beautiful country.I have been visiting for years and even married a scot – his dad was born John oGroats turn left(Dunnet)tho my other half was born here in Dorset !We are off up to see the Edinburgh Tattoo next month.You really should try to go,it is a marvelous spectacle in fantastic surroundings but only if you like bagpipes!!

  76. Thanks, Jo! I’m so glad you liked the post. Ooh, like me you are married to a Scot! I’d love to see the Tattoo. I’m fine with the bagpipes – within reason! And Edinburgh is up there at the top of my favourite cities list.

  77. Thanks, Jo! I’m so glad you liked the post. Ooh, like me you are married to a Scot! I’d love to see the Tattoo. I’m fine with the bagpipes – within reason! And Edinburgh is up there at the top of my favourite cities list.

  78. Thanks, Jo! I’m so glad you liked the post. Ooh, like me you are married to a Scot! I’d love to see the Tattoo. I’m fine with the bagpipes – within reason! And Edinburgh is up there at the top of my favourite cities list.

  79. Thanks, Jo! I’m so glad you liked the post. Ooh, like me you are married to a Scot! I’d love to see the Tattoo. I’m fine with the bagpipes – within reason! And Edinburgh is up there at the top of my favourite cities list.

  80. Thanks, Jo! I’m so glad you liked the post. Ooh, like me you are married to a Scot! I’d love to see the Tattoo. I’m fine with the bagpipes – within reason! And Edinburgh is up there at the top of my favourite cities list.

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