Our warmest thanks go to both Margaret Pavlides and Geoff Sharp for organising such a lovely holiday in Scotland. The trip did not go without its hiccups but these were kept to a minimum and were easily surmountable.
Mention must also be made of our coach driver in Scotland, Ken, who handled the roads really well, especially the very narrow country lanes, where I don’t think I would have driven a car, let alone a coach. Also I would like to compliment the hotel staff at the Best Western Queens Hotel Perth, for the manner in which we were treated, all of them were very friendly and the food was very good and plentiful.
The trips included a visit to Caithness Glass Factory, which I felt was a little disappointing, and then Drummond Castle Gardens, which were beautiful, even in the rain.
Saturday saw us on the road to Edinburgh, to the Castle, which was very awe inspiring, however we spent too little time here to view everything, caused by the vast amount of other visitors, so some time was spent queuing. After lunch we had some free time in Edinburgh, when the weather turned against us again with a cloudburst.
Sunday was probably my favourite visit of the trip, the Falkirk Wheel, we had a short boat ride as well as being raised over100 feet by a mechanical wheel, it was magnificent. Followed by a photo shoot of the two Kelpies, horses heads made from steel, and some free time in Stirling.
Monday was the alcoholics dream trip, to a distillery. Edradour, before this trip, was not a distillery I had heard of, however we breathed in the aroma of casks of whisky plus the mandatory nip of whisky, which at such an early hour was wonderful. This was followed by an enlightening talk at the Pitlochry theatre ahead of their annual festival, an eye opener to say the least. We then strolled by the side of the River Tummel to the dam and Loch Tummel, where we saw two salmon using the salmon ladder to go upstream to spawn, Margaret and Geoff did wonders in arranging for the fish to be there.
The last day of trips was soon upon us with a visit to Scone Palace, followed by a free afternoon in Dundee. As we got off the coach at Scone we were met with a peacock in full show trying to impress a peahen who was close by only to be outwitted by another peacock who turned up on the scene. That was a truly wonderful sight.
Our final day was Wednesday where we had a good drive to get the train in Edinburgh, and I have to commend Virgin Trains for their punctuality, both the journey to and from Edinburgh arrived on time.
The one downside to the trip was the journey from Tonbridge to Kings Cross and back again, the traffic was horrendous and again I would like to compliment our driver for his patience.
All in all this was a very good, well planned trip and I think all 43 of us enjoyed it, well done to Margaret and Geoff.
Paul & Viv Giles
This was my second trip with Tonbridge U3A. After a foreign holiday last year it was time for a trip within the UK. This year the destination was Scotland comprising the History and Heritage of Central Scotland and Edinburgh. The trip was organised by Margaret and Geoff from the U3A Travel team.
We took the train from Kings Cross, having been taken there comfortably on a coach from various pick up points in Tonbridge.
Whether you were travelling as a couple, with friends or solo, if you did not know your seat companions on the train it was a good opportunity to get to know them and their interests.
It might even have given new ideas to join other groups within the U3A framework..The opportunity to meet new people and catch up with former fellow travellers was there throughout the trip as people were friendly and outgoing.
The itinerary of the trip was full of variety and would appeal to all tastes and interests. There was a coach at our disposal throughout the holiday and also a tour guide in Edinburgh.
Amongst a variety of visits to castles, gardens and cathedrals we could admire the technicality and experience the workings of the Falkirk Wheel and on the other hand had an impromptu arranged visit to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre for an enlightening talk about the history of the festival and the staging of their varied productions.
We even had a white knuckle ride to Loch Tummel over a very steep narrowly winding road which was maybe eased by our earlier visit to the smallest Whisky distillery.
In addition to organised visits there was also time to explore the various towns and find places of interest not on the schedule and especially little places for tasty lunches.
We stayed in a very comfortable hotel on half board basis where we were made very welcome and received excellent service. The very eager could even go for a swim to work off the calories from breakfast and the multi choice dinners.
We even had the right weather or maybe just the right clothing.
Would I join any future trip? You bet.
A few lines which I hope express something about the hospitality and good value of the Hotel
One day in May
The Tonbridge U3A
Travelled to cross the River Tay
Guess what we found
In Perth and around ?
True hospitality and SMILES abound
The itinerary was excellent and I enjoyed every aspect of it especially the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Falkirk Wheel
and many others
Our thanks go to Nigel and Eva Trippett for their pictures of the Scottish Parliment and Stirling Castle