Our Brush with Fame and a Scottish Sunburn. Scotland Day 7

So…. the day before, my friend discovered that our favorite show Outlander “might” be filming in nearby Paisley.  We had plans to go sailing on our friends boat today, but were not leaving until closer to lunchtime. We decided to grab a quick coffee and pastry for breakfast and head out to see if we would get lucky and see some Outlander.

We had to make sure we didn’t end up on one of the streets that were to be closed off for filming and somehow, we lucked up and found a parking spot just around the corner from the action and yes there was action!  As we walked up to the barricades we could see multiple large trucks and a vintage car that appeared to be staged for filming, we could not believe our luck and the excitement was building, who would we see?

Imagine our excitement when one of the stars of the show, Caitriona Balfe (Claire) shows up!  I think this was already becoming one of the highlight days of our already spectacular trip.  We were able to watch the entire process of filming the scene with “Claire” exiting the car.  When this was complete, they were like a mound of ants scurrying to clean up and move along to the next set, which appeared to be inside the large church just up the street.  They started allowing pedestrian traffic, so we walked down to the other end of the blocked off street, so that we could get a better glimpse of the activity going on at the church.  We saw many actors in vintage dress and again caught a glimpse of Caitriona.  It was said at the end of filming she came out and met the fans that were still there, this was late in the afternoon so we were long gone and off on our next adventure, sailing!

We hopped in the car and headed towards the marina in Inverkip, near the port of Greenock, which is where you will dock if arriving by cruise ship.  We could not have asked for better weather for sailing, it was a gorgeous sunny day again with blue skies as far as the eye could see.

We were sailing over to the Isle of Bute to have a quick look around.  Our friends had picked up sandwich supplies and sodas as well as some Scottish staples like meat pies and Tunnock’s confections for dessert.  We enjoyed a really nice lunch surrounded by water, fresh air, sunshine and good company.  When we arrived at Bute, we docked at the main town on the island, Rothesay.  The island was known as Rothesay in the Viking era and the town’s name is a carryover from that.  One thing Rothesay is known for and we were told we should see,  are the Victorian toilets located beside the harbor. Yes you heard that right, we were checking out some potties!  The men’s toilets are the one’s that should be seen and us girls managed to get a peek at them too.  It is worth a peek in, if you would like to see a well preserved example of Victorian era plumbing and architecture.  After our look into the loo, we walked around the waterfront of the town, you can see the ruins of Rothesay castle from there but we did not go for a closer look. Instead, we hit up a chip shop and I had the pleasure of trying some vinegar and salt chips served up in a greasy newspaper…sure wish I could have an order of these every day.  (I just realized I didn’t take a photo of these amazing chips, guess I was too busy chowing down.)

It was time to head back, we still had really amazing weather and the cruise back was just as sunny and cool as the trip out.  It was so comfortable in fact, that without even realizing it,  my husband (and I to a certain extent but not nearly as bad,) got a terrible sunburn.  That’s right, two Florida natives got a sunburn, in of all places, Scotland.  It was worth it though, what an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

We were so exhausted when we got back to the hotel that we changed our plans to walk over to Lebowski’s for burgers and instead made the big mistake of eating in the hotel’s restaurant,  Limelight Bar & Grill.  If you like mediocre food, poor service and high prices, then it is the place for you.  I really regret that decision, we should have sucked it up and walked somewhere for dinner.  No photos to remind myself of that subpar experience.

Tomorrow, we finally head off to the Highlands!




Mary Queen of Scots, Kelpies and yes… more Outlander…. Scotland Day 6 Edinburgh to Glasgow by car.

Today we would head back for another night in Glasgow before heading out into the Highlands.   We started off with breakfast at Cote Brasserie, a French inspired eatery with affordable breakfast.  It was a farther walk from the hotel than the previous morning but breakfast was good…surprisingly I neglected to take photos here which I blame on the long walk before having my coffee.

After breakfast, we collected our bags and checked out of the Indigo Princess street and headed out to our first stop of the day, Linlithgow Palace.  Linlithgow Palace is the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and a filming location for Wentworth prison scenes in Outlander.  Next door to the palace is St. Michaels church whose unique steeple we had seen (and wondered about) a few days earlier from the train to Edinburgh.  We were in a bit of a time crunch with so much to see so we decided not to tour the inside, which I am now regretting.

Our next stop was a more modern Scottish icon, the Kelpie sculptures at Helix park in Falkirk.  The Kelpies are two, 300 ton, steel horse sculptures that opened to the public in 2014, which makes them quite a lot newer than anything else we were in Scotland to see.  They are located in a pretty park with a canal running to one side and a turning pool that is part of a new connector between two existing canals.  They were spectacular on the gorgeous sunny day we visited but I would love to revisit them at night on our next trip, to see them lit up.

We were starting to get hungry and decided it was time for lunch, we had initially planned to have lunch at a fantastic looking Italian restaurant in Linlithgow but the timing was off.  Since we had our hearts set on Italian for one meal of the trip, a quick search of Yelp found what we were looking for in Falkirk, a fairly nice place called Gambero Rosso.  Again I forgot to take photos of our meal here, which seemed to be a theme for today, so far.  The meal was good but not memorable.

After lunch, the Outlander excitement was building again, we were off to Castle Leoch (Duone Castle!!!!) This castle has also been used for filming in Game of Thrones and Monty Python. It is located in the small town of, you guessed it, Duone.  Parking on sight is extremely limited, when we arrived there were no spaces available and we were told to go find parking in town…… which took some driving around, on often times very narrow streets, to find a spot to park.  I feel a little sorry for the people who live here, I am sure the busy summer season is quite aggravating when it comes to parking and getting around.  Once we were finally parked and made the walk back to the castle, we did pay to tour the interior.  The exterior was having some restoration work done and there was scaffolding, not only on the outside but in the iconic (if you are an Outlander fan) courtyard.  The interior, like just about every place we toured, was mostly bare stone and unfurnished but in good condition.  I would like to go back when restoration work is complete, to see it without the unsightly scaffolding.  When we were through touring the castle, it was time to get going for Glasgow. We had reservations for dinner with our Glaswegian friends and needed to get settled into the hotel in time to walk to the restaurant.

We were staying at the Indigo Glasgow tonight, and after a very pretty drive back, we arrived with barely enough time to get ready for dinner.  We were eating at the highly rated, The Butterfly & The Pig.  This restaurant is another I can recommend, they had very tasty food and drinks served in a charming and cozy atmosphere.  Oh and my dry streak on food photos finally ended here!

To end the day, we made a stop at a couple pubs, including the famous Nice N Sleazy, a pub and music venue that has had celebrity patrons in the past.  It was another amazing and full day in Scotland with great, sunny weather.  We didn’t make it too late of a night because the next morning we were heading out (insert excited scream) to the Highlands!!!