Driver Diary Part One – Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond National Park

Looked out of the window at 5:30 this morning and it was practically light!

It’s the Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond National Park one-day tour today – one of my favourites. There’s nothing like seeing the faces of passengers when you tell them the real stories about William Wallace with a bit of Braveheart stardust thrown in for good measure.

With 8 on board today, we will no doubt have plenty of conversation; something I love because it adds so much to a tour. We’ve got pick-ups at The Hilton Glasgow, The City Inn and Euro Hostel before it’s on to the buzz of George Square to round up the remaining guests. Hopefully the door staff at The Hilton will be ready with a hot cup of gourmet coffee for me – always welcome on a chilly morning.

I’m certainly no linguist, but what’s great is when we have a range of nationalities on board. Today we’ve got some from the US, others from Kuwait with the rest being home grown.

Unbelievable good luck. We are hardly out of the city and our guests have spotted their first wildlife. Nobody quick enough to catch it on camera, but let’s just say it was a grown up Bambi with a couple of baby bambis in hot pursuit.

First stop today is Luss at Loch Lomond. The Loch is breath-taking. No matter how many times I see this famous stretch of water, its beauty still surprises me. Today it’s like glass and our guests enjoy the opportunity to watch an early season water-skier enjoying the perfect conditions. Perfect that is apart from the near freezing waters of The Loch and his/her inability to waterski. We’ve spared him/her (not quite sure from this distance) the embarrassment here, but You’ve Been Framed might not be so kind.

I can hardly contain the excitement of my American guests as we leave Loch Lomond behind head towards The Trossachs (slightly misty and mysterious today) and the opportunity to take some selfies with the Highland Cows at Loch Achray.

Lunch at Callander is relaxing with most guests taking my advice and heading to Mhor Bread for their superb home cooking. I love this place and even drive up here ‘off duty’ when time allows.

Our first Castle – The Game of Thrones one or Doune Castle for the uninitiated. Guests love this castle. It looks quite small but it packs a punch with a really interesting history and possibly the world’s best audio description by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame.

As we approached Stirling Castle, it couldn’t have been more dramatic. A thick fog was covering the valley but the Castle was sitting proudly above the mist and all it surveys. All in all a pretty stunning way to see one of Scotland’s most famous castles.

By the time our guests had enjoyed their tour of the Castle, the fog has lifted and we had a glorious day ahead. No wind, sunshine and crisp Highland air to fill the lungs.

It’s certainly a day for the wildlife. I hear the shout of ‘Eagle’ and although I have to disappoint my guests, they have spotted one of the largest Buzzards I’ve seen this year.  It’s sitting peacefully on a telegraph pole quietly looking for its lunch!  We wait a while but he’s clearly had a late breakfast and doesn’t budge.

Back to Glasgow and a blood red sunset to see our guests off. A textbook tour with a great crowd of guests and Scotland’s weather at it’s very (changeable) best! #scotspirit

All the best


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