Whoohoo, an unexpected last-minute trip to Scotland. A birthday gift from my Dad, and as a travel enthusiast there is no better birthday gift to give! We had 4 full days to travel through Scotland, what to do?
Day 1: Alnwick castle and border town abbeys
From IJmuiden my Dad and I took the ferry to New Castle. Upon arrival we drove straight to Alnwick Castle, about a 45 minute drive North. The castle is well known because of the Harry Potter movies that were filmed here. It’s just a beautiful castle to walk through, including the fabulous backdrop with its gardens.
Alnwick Castle (pronounced as Ennick Castle)
After visiting the castle, a stunning countryside road trip was waiting for us. We started on the B6341 (SouthWest) through the hilly landscape and came upon the A68 (NorthWest) to the border of Scotland and the border town abbeys. The abbeys are definitely a must-see in this area. My personal favourite and the first stop was Jedburgh Abbey. Being blessed with a sunny day we first had lunch across the street outside before we entered this ruin from 1100 AD.
The other abbeys are Dryburgh Abbey and Melrose Abbey. We stayed the night in the cute small town Melrose.
Day 2: Edinburgh
Not all days can be sunny and shiny, but with an umbrella in our hand we strolled through the old town of Edinburgh. What I enjoyed most about Edinburgh was the difference in height between the station below and high street where all the touristy stuff is happening. The visit to Edinburgh Castle was very crowded, plus the cold and the rain didn’t help not to really appreciate this place.
Day 3: Loch Lomond
Being in Scotland I definitely wanted to see some of the rugged countryside. That’s why our road trip brought us to Loch Lomond. A popular area for local British tourists just North of Glasgow. With only one day here I chose to drag my Dad along to climb Conic Hill, a breathtaking (pun intended) hike with magnificent views as a reward.
To hike Conic Hill, start at the car park in the centre of Balmaha. The beginning of the trail starts at the very back of the car park where you immediately turn right, after a short distance you’ll find another junction, turn left and from here just follow the path to the top. The first part of the hike is through the forrest, after which you’ll walk through a gate and get onto the open plains. From here the view will get better every time you’ll ascend a bit more.
Views from Conic Hill at Loch Lomond
Day 4: Hadrian’s Wall & New Castle
Driving from Scotland to England we passed the famous Hadrian’s Wall; a defense fortification built 122 AD. Walking enthusiasts can walk the entire path along the wall. We were a bit lazy and drove to “Walltown Crags – Hadrian’s Wall” next to Greenhead.
New Castle really surprised me in a positive way. I didn’t expect much of this city. But it’s a vibrant place. We spend the last day here, checking out the various stores, eating delicious food at Harry’s.