Tag Archives: Exploring

A Scotland Adventure – Part 10, Aberdeen the second


Hello, and welcome back to your annual story time of Ben and Sarah’s international adventures! Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, Sarah and I visited with her family, this year going back to Scotland.


Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 01 through 03-Jan-2020


After returning to Skye, we ate pizza.

Seriously – we had Dominos!  It was really cool, getting to see an American staple in the UK… it was different, to be sure, but in a lot of subtle ways… different general crust styles, different names for topping sets, that sort of thing.  Overarchingly though, it wasn’t different in any major ways.  Definitely not different enough that it wasn’t the perfect food to have after a long day on the road.


Our last few days in Scotland were pretty low key, and extremely relaxing.  A good rest before heading back to the hectic energy of the States, you know?

We did get up to a few good adventures though – both in Aberdeen, and around the surrounding countryside!


In Aberdeen itself, we spent some time city-ing, walking around and seeing the sights.  Of major note were the Maritime Museum and the Tollhouse museum – both of which gave really interesting backgrounds on the history of Aberdeen, and the entire surrounding area.

The Tollhouse museum focused more on the city itself, and how it grew and flourished from feudal times into the current era.  It was really cool seeing some of the old artifacts, but one quick spoiler to anyone going to visit?  Look out for the mannequins!


We didn’t just spend time in Aberdeen, though – on Thursday, we headed out into the country!  We got some views in, some nice hiking, and even saw a really cool old cattle rustling hideout!  I don’t know if I should technically use that term, since it’s Scotland and not the Wild West, but the idea is the same – it was a really cool geological formation where old-timey thieves would hide their take.

A quick summary of the places we explored:

    • Queens View
    • Tomnaverie Stone Circle
    • Muir of Dinnet – Burn O’Vat area (This is the Rustling spot!)
    • Lunch at The Boat Inn – A really cool small Scottish inn, with an excellent BLT!
    • Glen Tanar & St. Lesmo’s chapel
    • Hairy Coos!
    • Cullerlie Stone Circle!


A Scotland Adventure – Part 6, the town of Portree


Hello, and welcome back to your annual story time of Ben and Sarah’s international adventures! Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, Sarah and I visited with her family, this year going back to Scotland.


Sunday, 29-Dec-2019


On the isle of Skye, we stayed in the town of Portree.  It’s a gorgeous town, sort of windswept, but also very ocean-focused… It was sort of like Cape Cod to me, but not completely; there was a vague resemblance, sort of like a distant cousin.

The first evening we were on Skye, we went to an amazing restaurant called ScorryBreac – and had an unbelievably delicious multi-course meal, along with amazing evening views of Portree harbor.  I can’t quite remember if we walked from the house, or if we drove, but either way I do remember the evening being lovely, if a bit misty, and an excellent introduction to Skye!

An interesting quick trivia fact, the name of “Portree” has a pretty interesting history – Portree has two possible etymologies, from what we learned.  One, is the english phonetic of the Gaelic word “Port Righ”, or “Port Royal”, named after a time that King James visited the town.  The other option is “Port Ruighe”, which describes the landscape as “Slope Harbor”… either way is pretty interesting, and definition a cool trivia fact.


We had the chance to explore Portree pretty frequently, and got to know the town as the days rolled by.  Sarah and I had the chance to explore two areas on our own – “The Lovely Muck” and “The Lump”.  Folks on Skye just have an amazing way with words, don’t they?

The Muck is an area by the harbor, almost a tidal flood plain, where we found a few firepits and lots of in-work fishing ships.

The Lump is a peninsula jutting out into the harbor, topped off by an old apothicary’s tower and the site for Portree’s highland games!  Very beautiful, and an amazing place to see the whole town and gaze off over the water…


One other interesting feature of Portree – the Isles Inn.  We ended up using this Inn as something like our main base, since it was open later than most other places, and had an amazing slew of lunch options.  We all got to know the Cullen Skink specifically – “Skink” is a type of Scottish soup, very similar to Chowder, and “Cullen” is the town where the soup itself is from.  It’s really similar to clam chowder, but with smoked haddock instead of clams, and The Isles chef was an artist at making it.

Past that, Portree was simply a lovely town – small, quiet, and a beautiful place to relax and enjoy Skye!


A Scotland Adventure – Part 1, the overview!


Hello, and welcome back to your annual story time of Ben and Sarah’s international adventures! Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, Sarah and I visited with her family, this year going back to Scotland.


From Saturday, 21-December, 2019 all the way through to Saturday, 04-Jan, 2020


Part 1 – The overview, and photo highlights

The general framework of the trip is detailed below; we didn’t come into the trip with any major plans or goals, we were really looking forward to the time to relax after the busyness of 2019. It’d been a pretty amazing year, full of huge amounts of growth… but with that growth had come a number of challenges that left us fairly drained.

A visit to the Highlands was exactly what the doctor ordered.


Quick summary of our trip to Scotland!

  • Leave Portland on Saturday, 21-December-2019
  • Get stuck in San Francisco due to a delayed flight, and stay overnight at the super-posh Grand Hyatt while also getting to walk around the city and visit my cousin
  • Arrive in Scotland on the 23rd… but unfortunately without our checked bags
  • Explore Aberdeen for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday), getting to see the Art Museum, attend the midnight mass at St. Maccars, and even watch dolphins jumping in the surf outside of town
  • Drive to the Isle of Skye, staying overnight at the BenLeva Inn on Loch Ness. We don’t see Nessie… but we do have a full can of Irn Bru (a type of soda) vanish, leaving only the pierced and empty can…
  • We spent three full days on Skye, and had an excellent time exploring and photographing everything we could find. Some major adventure points were:
    • We hiked up to the Storr (in the rain)
    • Explored the town of Portree, and ate some extremely good Cullen Skink
    • hiked the Quiraing route from the parking lot down to the town of Flogetty
    • Walked out to the Fairy Pools
  • Back in Aberdeen, we spent a day touring around the countryside, seeing standing stones and other amazing points of interest.
  • We spent another day back in Aberdeen exploring the city – seeing Greta’s office, visiting shops, and walking through some amazing museums