Badachro Inn, Badachro, Wester Ross, Scotland

Scotland’s northern highlands are a gorgeous wilderness filled with high mountains, sea-scoured cliffs, vacant beaches, and secretive wildlife. There are some humans, too, but the largest town on the northwest coast, Ullapool, has all of 1,500 people. As visitors to this special region we need to calibrate our expectations in the realms of tourism infrastructure and services. There’s just not much out here — that’s a large part of why those of us who like such places like them — so when I find a pub or restaurant out on the edge of Scotland I usually tamp down my expectations. Such was the situation I found myself in after a journey out to isolated Red Point Beach southwest of Gairloch. Read more...

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Glasgow's Merchant City

A couple of years ago I rolled out a series of Itinerary Ideas articles that highlighted different areas of Scotland. When I’d written as many as I could, I couldn’t help but notice there were still some glaring holes on the map. It was this process that kickstarted the planning of my subsequent trips – I needed to dig into and explore these areas in more depth, but one part of Scotland — the most populous part — slipped off the radar: Glasgow. I am rectifying that today with a batch of itinerary ideas to help you make the most of a visit to Scotland’s most metropolitan region.

These Scotland Itinerary Ideas articles collect many of my previous articles on the selected region into one place… Read more...

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The peat fire at Stein Inn, Isle of Skye

There are few things finer than a good Scottish pub. Happily, Scotland’s littered with them. Just about every town has at least one cozy watering hole for locals and travelers alike and often a handful to choose from. Even the forlorn and unpeopled glens and hills often have, as their sole outpost of civilization, a fine institution of the dram and pint, places like the Grouse Inn and the Old Forge. Indeed, finding a fine Scottish pub is not hard.

Finding a pub that beguiles you for a lifetime, that draws you back across oceans and seas to step through that doorway to a tin-ceilinged, peat-smoky memory of old, where a healthy dose of camaraderie is doled out to every patron, well, that is a bit harder. Those pubs are the rare pubs. Read more...

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Bon Accord, Glasgow, Scotland

Lord knows I spent far too much time in pubs on my last visit to Glasgow. It didn’t help that there were several excellent drinking holes near my guesthouse by Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s West End. Well, it didn’t help my liver – all those arduous hours tasting cask ales and single malts while chatting with happy-go-lucky Scots – but I’ve managed to turn the whole sordid ordeal into a new entry in the Savage Pub Crawls series, my first in Edinburgh’s sibling to the west: Glasgow.

Glasgow’s West End is one of my favorite places in any Scottish city. The beautiful greenery of Kelvingrove Park mixes with the University of Glasgow’s student vibe and a varied restaurant scene. For my money, this is the place to be… Read more...

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Sheep Heid Inn, Duddingston, Edinburgh, Scotland

When you’ve heard a pub exists that has been open since the mid-14th century, you climb mountains to get to it. Literally, that’s what I did.

After ascending Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, I descended its southeast face into the time-locked village of Duddingston where stands the most ancient Sheep Heid Inn. A rain had started falling and, as usual, I had arrived before the pub had opened its doors for the day. I took a few moments to acquaint myself with Duddingston’s cobbled streets and antiquated kirkyard before the Sheep Heid’s (pronounced heed) green doors were finally thrown open and I was allowed to bear witness to centuries of strange, fascinating, and often bizarre knick-knacks. Read more...

{ Comments on this entry are closed }