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Home » English Articles, Loch Ness

New Jersey Mom Happy to Report a Tale of an Exciting Trip to Scotland

Image taken by Flickr user "(Alex)", 2006-06-28 10:44:17.

Hi, my name is Linda Shute from New Jersey and I’d like to tell you about my exciting trip to Scotland and “The Highlands”. My hunger to travel to far away places has not diminished as I have grow older I still enjoy far away places and like to meet the folks who live there. Being an avid horse enthusiast, and riding since childhood, I like to combine these two pleasures whenever I can.

One day while browsing my new travel catalogue from Equitours, (they offer worldwide riding holidays), I found a trip to Scotland that I just couldn’t pass up. I phoned them and booked the horseback trip and extended the trip to include a week of traveling via rental car and stay at Bed-and-Breakfast homes.

This would ensure I would get off the beaten path to meet the local people and just maybe get a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.

Unlike the trip I took to Ireland, first I did the horseback trip and then traveled on my own in a rental car.

This time I drove around first, then did the horseback trip.

Off to the travel agent I went with checkbook in hand. I paid for the airline tickets and booked the rental car and picked up the Bed-and-Breakfast information. I flew into Glasgow, rented a car and headed east towards Edinburgh.

After getting lost and found several times in this city, I finally found my destination castle.

I took a tour of Edinburgh Castle. This was a breath-taking experience in two ways: the shear beauty of the place and It was a huge, very steep hill, I had to walk up to get to the castle.

Once at the entrance, I asked the guard who was the big bronze statue of and he replied “William Wallace, he is similar to your George Washington in the Americans fight for freedom”.

After the tour of the castle and a peek at the crown jewels it was a much easier trek downhill to the car.

I headed northwest towards Stirling then on to Fort William and Loch Ness. I spent a day and a night in Fort William browsing old museums, enjoying a lovely dinner, complete with local folk musicians and dancers.

In the morning I was off to Loch Ness and in search of the mystery monster.

Loch Ness is a really huge lake 22 miles long with waters as black as pitch, in its deepest parts it’s said to be about 700 feet.

I learned that the legend of ‘Nessie’ the monster dates back to 565 AD. I visited the Loch Ness museum and found some very interesting information. Sonar surveys of the loch using the latest equipment have failed to find any conclusive evidence of Nessie existence, but neither have they proved that she doesn't exist.

Loch Ness has many moods from the sultry to the serene. Strange currents move across and below the surface and even sturgeon have been known to swim across the loch.

The waters are so black from the depth and pitch it’s hard find anything even on sonar, so who knows what people have seen or not seen. You have to make up your own mind whether Nessie swims freely through those dark waters or not.

Next it was onward to Aberdeen to return the car and go to the stables for my horseback part of the trip which was stationed out of a small town called Tomintoul in the Highlands.

I stayed at the same hotel for the week and the horseback tours headed out in a different direction each day and lasted about 5 to 6 hours. I found Tomintoul to be a sleepy little town with not much action you could say they rolled up the sidewalks at dusk.

On this trip there were three other riders from England and one other lady from the US.

For the week we were all suppose to ride the Highland ponies. This I did not like at all. I found them to be slow and pokey with not much get up a go spirit.

At the end of the day my legs were so tired from the constant urging on of this animal I was miserable. I complained so much they finally let me go out into the pasture and pick another mount.

I chose a high-spirited half Arabian mare for the rest of the week and I was very happy with her.

One of our day trips was to the Glenlivet Distillery where we tied our mounts to the fence and wet inside for the tour and taste test.

I’m not usually much of a straight whiskey drinker but on this day I made an exception. Needless to say the ride home was very interesting. Most days where spent on trails through the hills and crossing streams or forest.

The Heather was not in bloom when I was there and this was a bit disappointing, I could see that the hillsides would be blazing with color just a few weeks after my departure. On our last day in Tomintoul were taken to a nearby town and to watch the one and only Highland Games I have ever seen.

They started out with a parade of horse drawn carriages, bagpipers and all the competitors walking behind them all were dressed in Kilts.

They had dancing, log throwing, tossing the caber, tug of war, and other contest I have know idea what the name of it would be it was not like anything I had ever seen before. Everything was more of a Medieval type atmosphere.

At last much to my dismay, my vacation has come to an end and I must return to New Jersey.

With a smile,

Linda Shute

Linda Shute lives in New Jersey and works from home you can visit her websites at
http://www.momwontherace.com and

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