WINNERS - Janet and Graham Buckle
Great effort and well done to Mr and Mrs Buckle from Derby who win a coach tour holiday for two people to the Scottish Highlands. We hope everyone enjoys reading and viewing the pictures as much as we did!
Where can you stay in a magnificent Victorian hotel complete with turrets and in one of the most spectacular locations in Scotland?When we decided to book a holiday with Highland Heritage it was the Alexandra Hotel and its superb views over the bay that clinched the deal.
The warm welcome we received after our long trip was a hint of the great service we were to receive during our stay at this family owned hotel. One of our long-held ambitions was to stay in a room within a turret and this is what is possible if you upgrade to a premium seaview room. The view from our bedroom afforded us the opportunity to enjoy the splendid views over the bay to the Island of Kerrera and beyond, one of the most beautiful sights anyone could ask for. The light changes on the sea throughout the day and in the evening we were treated to spectacular sunsets. Seabirds swooped down to the water for their catch of the day and we were lucky to be able to do a spot of whale watching as a giant sperm whale spent a few days in the bay before going back out to sea. Our room was charming, spacious and the lovely fluffy dressing gowns and slippers made for a home from home atmosphere. The meals at the hotel were substantial and we particularly enjoyed the Highland Dinner that was served in their dining room with its magnificent views across the bay.
Oban is a charming town with many interesting features, including plenty of shops, and places to eat around the ancient harbour. Standing proud, looking down over the town is the fascinating structure of McCaig's Tower. Well worth the climb, the tower is a monument built simply to provide work for the local masons back in 1897. From here you just cannot stop click, click, clicking or taking selfies against the backdrop of Oban Bay and the Atlantic Islands. The walk back down is interesting too as you pass by lots of charming homes with their pretty gardens.
Each day was full of surprises with trips to Fort William, Inveraray and Loch Fyne, Seil Island and Loch Lomond. We were fascinated to hear from our knowledgeable and witty courier about the jail at Inveraray, but what lured us away from the torture, death and damnation exhibition was the promise of mussels and chips in the salubrious surroundings of the George Hotel. Where better to sample local fayre than an 18th century inn on the bonnie banks of Loch Fyne, the longest loch in Scotland?
Our trip to Fort William included the unforgettable highlight of the Highland Concert. It was just like a gathering of the clans, with all the Highland Heritage passengers coming in from the various hotels – very impressive. Loving Scottish culture and music, and this was a real feast for the senses. We were treated to a great afternoon of dancing, amusing tales and rousing music from pipers and the talented band, Skippinish. This was followed by the address to the haggis ceremony, all presented by Hamish with his saucy comments.
Back at the Alexandra Hotel we were delighted by the unique ambience of the guest bar lounge with its roaring fire and nightly entertainment. The swimming pool below held promise for future visits but not on a brisk April evening up in the Highlands. We can see why Highland Heritage won an award for excellence and it won't be long before we are on our way back to bonnie Scotland and next time we will bring our kilts!