Stirling Castle, Buckle of the Central Belt

July 1, 2015 by Keith Savage
Stirling Castle, Stirling, Scotland

Second only to Edinburgh Castle in sheer magnificence (and only by a kilt’s thread), Stirling Castle commands the Forth Valley passage into the highlands. The two castles are brothers in arms, separated only by a short distance and sharing many visual similarities: Both sit atop volcanic crags and tower over town, both possess age-stained cobbled streets and sandstone structures, and both have been meticulously maintained through the ages so that they now provide two of the best castle experiences in Scotland.

Stirling Castle’s history is rich and bloody – bloodier even than its more famous brother. Read more...

Guardian of Scotland: A Visit to the National Wallace Monument

June 24, 2015 by Keith Savage
The National Wallace Monument, Stirling, Scotland

William Wallace.

Instantly one thinks of Scotland. That tartan-clad warrior burning with the zeal of patriotism, bounding over heathery hills and laying waste to the soldiers of monolithic England with his massive broadsword. He would rather die than be forced into subjugation by a foreign power, and in that thought he is a pure manifestation of the indomitable human spirit.

I admire that force of belief. Surely, most must. He dared to cut through the order of the time for what he believed in – few of us can say the same. Read more...

Old Town Chambers: Dreams Realized in the Heart of Edinburgh

June 17, 2015 by Keith Savage
The Old Town Chambers, Edinburgh, Scotland

Yes, dreams. My dreams.

I’m so choosy about accommodations when I travel and yet I’ve been unable to articulate the particular style and flavor that appeals to me. I just know it when I see it, and this is why I spend countless hours mining the web for something that glitters to my eye.

Edinburgh makes it even harder because it overflows with high-end accommodations, from top-of-the-line B&Bs like Six Brunton Place to world-class hotels like The Balmoral, and every year new and interesting options present themselves… Read more...

Dome Sweet Dome in the West Highlands

June 10, 2015 by Keith Savage
The Ecopod Boutique Retreat, Appin, Scotland

As the years pass and my trips to Scotland continue stacking one upon the other, I’ve noticed that my penchant for accommodations has drifted toward ever more unique and whimsical offerings. Last year, for example, I stayed in a Gypsy-style roulotte in the Borders and an eco-palace in Dumfries & Galloway built only from the materials found on the surrounding farmland.

When it’s good, it’s great.

These kinds of accommodations enhance the travel experience beyond the simple fact of being in Scotland. Read more...

A Sandcastle by the Sea: Hunkering Down in Fife’s East Neuk

June 3, 2015 by Keith Savage
Sandcastle Cottage, Crail, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland

The Kingdom of Fife is an unusual place. This small peninsula juts out of eastern Scotland between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay and defies classification with Scotland’s usual terms. In feel it is neither highland nor lowland, island nor central belt, but a curious mix of them all.

Fife is most known for St. Andrews, that university town and golfers’ Mecca on the east coast, but many visitors would struggle to characterize the rest of the “kingdom.” The wide interior is largely farm fields and market towns, while much of the south coast is industrial wasteland – but there’s another section of the south coast that warrants visitation: The East Neuk. Read more...