Scotland Itinerary Ideas: Dumfries & Galloway

October 15, 2014 by Keith Savage
Flowers at Threave Gardens

Late last year I rolled out a series of Itinerary Ideas articles that each highlighted a different section of Scotland. When I’d written as many as I could, I couldn’t help but notice there were still glaring holes on the map, little wastelands of knowledge here on my site. It was this process that kickstarted the planning of my next trip – I needed to dig into and explore these areas that didn’t have their own articles, and so I hit the road this past spring to ferret out some of the great visitor experiences of southern Scotland.

Coming up next – Scotland itinerary ideas for Dumfries & Galloway! Read more...

Picture This: The Glens of Moniaive

October 8, 2014 by Keith Savage
The glens of Moniaive

The high moors of Nithsdale bend the evening light into the narrow glens leading to Moniaive. A thousand years of history nestle in this crease of the southern uplands, the slow green slopes around town protecting it like inverted earthen ramparts. The stones released from the ground have become the battlements of sheep, and yet here and there a lone tree still stands against the pinkening sky. The wind speaks in my ears but the language escapes me.

On first blush, this feels like a forgotten place, but after three nights there can be no doubt the memory of Moniaive is strong with those who know it.

Caerlaverock Castle’s Ruinous Allure

October 1, 2014 by Keith Savage
Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

The south of Scotland gets horrendously short shrift by the vast majority of visitors. Even Scots tend to go north, perhaps in an attempt to avoid the English pouring over the border (perhaps history does repeat itself?). I am, of course, kidding – about the English, that is. The south is summarily dismissed by all but the most time-rich and curious travelers. More’s the pity, for, as the scene of many long-remembered battles for Scottish Independence, the south is littered with the ruins of stout fortifications and victimized places of worship.

For a history buff like me, the south ranks very highly indeed. Read more...

State of the Savage: September 2014

September 24, 2014 by Keith Savage
Keith on Driftbourne

Just last week, one of the most important moments in Scottish history, the independence referendum, came and went. I followed along from my home in Wisconsin by streaming BBC coverage and denting a couple bottles of whisky with friends. As the night wore on and the results came back for each voting area, it became clear that the Scottish people had voted against independence. My friends and I turned down the volume, focused on the Scotch, made plans for future weekends, had a pipe – that sort of thing.

It didn’t really hit me until later.

Stirlingshire came back against independence, and the BBC’s weird, angular map of Scotland was all red save for a few, tiny blips of blue… Read more...

Yes, No, Maybe the Duke Will Know: A Timely Visit to Drumlanrig Castle

September 17, 2014 by Keith Savage
The 'Pink Palace' of Drumlanrig Castle

My time in Moniaive was filled with pleasant surprises, not least the Three Glens Luxury Eco House, which turned out to be one of my favorite accommodations anywhere. Neil and Mary proved to be excellent and friendly hosts, spending their evenings with me and inviting me into their home. One evening before dinner, Neil posed a question I’m likely to hear only once in my lifetime.

“Would you like to meet the Duke?” he asked, a big grin on his face.

I paused, the glass of Bailie Nicol Jarvie halfway to my mouth. “Um, yes.” I believe those were my words. Read more...