Day 12 - Monday, 19 May
Breakfast on Monday in the Lake District was with another group of
Rick Steves' groupies. We had lots of fun talking with them, but then we were
off to Scotland.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
After leaving Stoneycroft and passing through Keswick, we made
another attempt to find Castlerigg stone circle. We missed the first place to
turn and ended up coming in the long way, but we did find it. The stones at
Castlerigg are much smaller than at Stonehenge and have no crossing stones on
top. According to our guide book the circle is located between two mountain
tops. However, I could not identify which were the two key mountains. We seemed
surrounded by them.
Castlerigg Stone Circle near
A wrong turn in Glasgow
Driving on toward Oban, we missed an important turn in Glasgow and
added an hour to the drive time. We stopped for a late lunch by the shores of
Loch Lomond, eating sandwiches and stuff we had purchased when we stopped for
petrol earlier in the day. We made another stop by Loch Fyne, where I picked up
some pebbles as souvenirs of my homeland. Someone had made a feast here of
mussels plucked from the loch (lake is the English word).
We stopped briefly in Inveraray where they wanted £8 ($13)
for a tour of an old jailhouse. We passed on the jailhouse and strolled through
the streets, then drove on to Oban. We found our B&B (The Barriemore) just
in time to watch the ferry come in from the island of Mull. At that time we
didn't know that we would be on the ferry the next evening.
We ate dinner at The Studio, a Rick Steves recommended restaurant
which was surprisingly expensive. Rick's book says a full Scottish meal cost
about £11 there but we found £15 more like it. The total bill came
to about $50, by far our most expensive meal during the trip. It was also our
best meal during the trip . We had the misfortune of having a single male
traveler from New York seated beside us, and he wanted to chat. Jim very
quickly decided he wanted no part of him, and I was trapped in the
conversation. We were happy to finally pay our bill and leave.
Our B&B host, Jim McLean, was a charming man and a very
interesting conversationalist, telling many wonderful things about the history
and politics of Scotland, and its place in world affairs. He described Mull and
Iona in such a way that we decided to stay an extra day and take the ferry
over. It meant we had to call our next place and cancel. The lady there so
intimidated Jim that I had to call and tell her we just simply wouldn't be
there. She complained, but I gave her no choice, and she finally said, "Oh
well, never mind." So I guess this made us even in the B&B reservation
game. One canceled us, and we canceled one. It was worth the twinges of guilt
we felt, I think. We had a wonderful day.