RUNNER-UP - Henry Kennedy
Super effort Henry Kennedy from Ayr, our runner-up who wins a coach tour holiday for two to the Scottish Highlands. An essay all about his memorable trips and in particular his love for our Turkey and Tinsel Tour format. We hope you all enjoy this as much as we have!
HIGHLAND HOLIDAY FOR A SCOT!!
I have been on Highland Heritage holidays on numerous occasions and I have found that every holiday is different – you meet people that are complete strangers to you. If I travel by coach to the Ben Doran Hotel, I get picked up at Ayr – most of the people on board the coach are Irish, so you are sure of a warm welcome. When the coach arrives at the hotel, the manager will be waiting to welcome everyone, and when you receive your room key and go to your room, your luggage awaits! First class service! After a shower and a change of clothes it’s upstairs to the dining room. You will be allocated a table for the rest of your holiday and can introduce yourself to the other people at your table. Whilst waiting for my dinner to be served, if my luck is in, I will hear a broad Glaswegian voice that can only be “Oor Mary”! It will not be long until she brings a smile to people’s faces!
After a lovely meal it is through to the entertainment lounge. This lounge plays a big part of my holiday – I love music and I like to dance. I have seen so many people of all age groups enjoying themselves, those who are unable to dance are entertained by the antics of some of the dancers – all good fun.
At Turkey & Tinsel, it is great to see the staff from different countries standing alongside people like myself singing Christmas Carols. At the end of our holiday, after the last dance, the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” is sung. When I am standing in the circle holding hands, I always look at the faces of the people around me – most are singing their hearts out, but a few will have a tear in their eye. It is a wonderful atmosphere – we all arrived as strangers and finish up like one big family. An old Scot’s saying sums it up, “We are all Jock Tamson’s bairns”.
I have been on most Highland Heritage day trips and no matter what the weather is like, there is always something there to interest you. When the sun is shining, sit back, relax and admire the stunning scenery. When it is raining, there is still splendour to be seen, like the silver torrents of water rushing down the gullies on the sides of the hills and mountains, creating spectacular waterfalls. When the snow is on the ground, the hills and mountains look so dominant – the mountains look like a giant ready to flex his muscles – breath taking scenery disguising hidden dangers.
On all of these trips the guests on the coaches will be told the local history by the very knowledgeable coach drivers. After each day trip, I find that you get to know your fellow passengers better, and come the end of the holiday you are like a family. The last time I was at the Ben Doran, I was a passenger on the Irish coach – the driver and I were the only two people that were not Irish – and from the moment I joined the coach I was treated just like one of the gang!!!By the time I returned to Ayr, every one of them called me by my first name – wonderful people and wonderful memories!!