Issue 13, Autumn 2000

Scotland has many famous royal connections and, next season we have put together a tour which includes visits to some of the significant places.

Glamis Castle, a royal residence since the 14th Century and childhood home to the Queen Mother, this imposing five-story tower comprises many sumptuous rooms with a rich range of pictures, furniture and tapestries. The tour includes the Royal Apartments and the extensive grounds are also worth seeing.

Queen Victoria's Tour of the Trossachs. On a wet October day in 1859, Queen Victoria, together with a party of over 300, travelled to Loch Katrine where she sailed along its length to disembark at Stronachlachar where she opened the sluice gates that allowed water to flow through twenty-six miles of rock tunnels to Glasgow. It was the most ambitious water engineering project that had ever been conceived and, such was the significance of the event, a relay of cannon fire had been arranged all the way from Loch Katrine to Edinburgh. Our tour follows this route, but at Stronachlachar our coach will be waiting to take us onward to Inversnaid.

The Royal Yacht Britannia. Now berthed in Edinburgh, a tour of Britannia gives a fascinating insight to its role as a floating royal residence from 1953 to 1997.With its crew of around 250 navel ratings it sailed over one million miles. The two hour visit will cover five decks and will include state rooms, bedrooms, bridge and engine room.

Puffins & Panoramas

These late spring and early summer holidays will include four bird reserve visits situated in some of Scotland's most beautiful and dramatic surroundings. For example, the Isle of May, where the sea cliffs are covered with breeding kittiwakes, razorbils, guillemots and shags, while inland there are thousands of puffins and eider duck. If sea conditions allow, there could also be a landing on the famous 350ft high Bass Rock - a truly memorable experience that has changed little since William Dunbar wrote in the 15th Century.

The air was dirkit with the fowlis
That cam with jammeris and with youlis
With shrykking, shrieking, skyrmming scowlis
And meikle noyis and showtes.

To make the most of the visits a knowledgeable guide will accompany each group.

Not everyone has an interest in bird watching and so, for any non-ornithologically minded partners, there will be an alternative visit arranged each day!

A Night to Remember

Guests who stay at the Inversnaid Hotel today and enjoy the remote grandeur of its surroundings, will find it hard to imagine that during the night of 15th May, 1941 it was the target of an air raid. Apparently, burning bracken at the rear of the hotel had, at high altitude, been mistaken for the burning Clydeside docks fifty miles away. Twenty-eight bombs were dropped in the immediate area and one, unfortunately, fell on the hotel destroying the post office which was, at that time, within the building. Throughout the raid the staff huddled under a staircase, but the manageress left the building and did not stop running until she arrived at the boathouse half a mile away!

Although stories of the incident have been passed down over the years, only recently did we realise that a photo had been taken at the time. It is less dramatic than we had imagined, but it does prove that this unlikely event really did take place!

A Day to Remember

In the normal course of events not too much happens in Gartocharn, the tiny village where, in the old primary school, we have our admin and reservation offices.

However, earlier this year excitement reached fever pitch when the Princess Royal came to open a new village hall or, to give it its proper title, the Kilmaronock Millennium Hall. On hand were the children from the nursery school, primary school and brownie pack to give a rousing royal welcome.

As a result of the generosity of the Millennium Commission the village now has an impressive £3/4 million centre incorporating meeting rooms, hall and gymnasium. For us at Lochs and Glens it is the perfect venue for our twice yearly epic effort that ensures all of our past guests receive an up-to-date brochure and, of course, this newsletter!

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