Friday, 27 May 2011

To The Future ~ To Ireland

An Ireland Tour
in the planning......
NO, Jamie and Claire didnae go there (so far), but then we ARE Outlandish Spirits; going far and wide and exploring strange new worlds and new cilivizations ... but I digress.  Some of our recent and prior Outlandish Spirits are already interested in coming along.   We've just had a recent chat on our FB page:

Outlandish Spirit - whoa. Wait a minute. There's an Ireland tour?
Sam - Yes, Ireland. Stay tuned!
Vicki - What?? Do tell... Girl's trip????
Sam - Girl's trip? Well that depends if any Guys sign up :)  Guys are more than welcome!
Aina - Giant's Causeway perhaps.... share some Irish hot chocolate.
Sam - I'll buy you two of your own..... I want every last drop of mine...mmmm. an' me own pint! :p .

We're taking your requests for your preferred month to travel and places to go in the Emerald Isles.  Want to come along?  Help us choose the destinations now.

IRELAND ~ Land of Celtic legends: the Tuathaa De Danann, Children of Lir.  Land of magical song: the music of the fiddle can make you dance with wild abandon and can make you cry.  Have you ever heard the Uilleann pipes? Eerily enchanting.  Land of green rolling hills rising up to form sheared, steep cliffs over white foamed waves rolling and crashing onto the shore.... but I wax lyrical.

Scot and I have been to Ireland several times as travelers and as tour guides and Scot used to live there as well.  The people are absolutely lovely and have a great sense of humor and though the streets aren't paved in gold - green being the preferred color, most paths lead to a pint of Guinness; a tasty alternative.  Besides, if you catch the rainbow, you'll find your own pot of gold. 

Fancy coming along?  Tell us what you want to experience:  seashore, ceilidh session, stone circle, a specific village or county?  Let us know while we are still in the planning stages.

The wee tune "Song for Ireland" pretty much says it all:

The link, in case

Cheers, Scot and Sam

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Droch Isean, Day 8, the denoument

The Last Day.

We leave Lallybroch and head to Edinburgh.

Rebecca here and we have been giving the last adventure today through the streets of Edinburgh. Scot spent some time reading from our bible and gave me a chill as he read of the reunion of Jamie and Claire, total goosebumps. This has been an experience of a life time not only have we been mesmerized by the sights that Scotland holds but we have developed a bond with each other that will stand forever. So I guess we have created our own history in this historic Land. We separate today and a tear wells in my eye, but this will not be the last time we meet. A BIG thank you to Samantha and Scot for taking the time to create this tour and giving us the experience of a life time. Girls I will never forget you, you too Scot. This is me saying good bye for now....

Scot: And so another piece of history is written - The Droch Isean May Tour 2011. Fair ye weel a while ladies. We have enjoyed yer company just fine. We await to see the photos of your reunion at the Highland Games and we look forward to seeing some of you on the coming Ireland tour. Remember, you're part of the tours club now - you can never leave.

And on a final note.  The catch-phrase of the tour seems to have been

"Also, here are some sheep" 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Day 7 - I am come home

Today is all about Lallybroch.

Scot here, blogging from a window seat in a fine tall sash and case window overlooking the lawn surrounded by trees in Lallybroch.  The lasses are all away exploring and are ecstatic.

From the far window I blog to you

Is that a Gabaldon I see on the dresser?

She has become accustomed
I've just spent WAY TOO LONG creating something for you - the Blood Oath that Jamie says to Claire as they marry, translated into Gàidhlig and in a sound clip, so you can hear it.

"Ye are Blood of my Blood and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we two might be one.
I give ye my spirit, till our Life shall be Done." (Copyright Gabaldon)

"Blood of My Blood" in Gàidhlig

Sali, here.  We're east of Edinburgh and the Bard has a nose-bleed because he's so far from the Highlands. The rest of us are experiencing significant withdrawl.  The Highlands are behind us?  After months of anticipation, weeks of excitement and days of reveling in the rarified air, haunting ruins, and pervasive history of the Scottish Highlands - it's over?

Okay - enough whining for now. Day 7 brought us Lallybroch - no, really!  White washed and three storied, glowing in the post-storm sun, it was everything our imaginations conjour up when ever Jamie and Claire go home. Complete with out-buildings, grazing sheep, game birds, and fields that go on forever!

After Lallybroch, the group climbed Monument Hill and got a bird's eye view of Prestonpans. Then a deli lunch in Haddington. While my tour-mates were fed and watered, I wrapped myself in my new wool cape and wandered off to explore the town. I ended at Tyne River and spent my lunch-time photographing a family of swans feeding at the river. And then the piece d'resistence - our rooms at "Lallybroch".  I wonder what the poor people are doing right now?

Scot - This evening, back at the House, I had the pleasure of sending them to sleep one by one with tales, told in the room in the top picture above.  A fine place to tell fine Tales to fine ladies.
It's at the end of this post.

"Also, here are some sheep."

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Day 6 of Droch Iseanan

We didn't find time the other day to keep you up to date with the Blog and our visit to Culloden.  Here's Kelly's words.

Kelly - The afternoon brought us to Culloden. Some time was spent experiencing the interactive exhibits and then touring the battlefield; very difficult in such a peaceful place to remember the horror and sacrifice that took place. I believe that we all left with a sense of compassion for both sides and their pain, suffering and losses.

Today we follow in the coach tracks of Claire a-la Inverness to Edinburgh in search of A.Malcolm.  We are doing the two day coach journey in four hours over two days.  It's a long way, you realise, when you travel in the Highlands.

Dannelle:   We survived our guideless afternoon and evening in Inverness, last night, without the assistance (or interference) of the local authorities, though we did manage to irritate the security guards at the pub that we (ahem) raised a bit of hell at far into the wee hours.  I loved being asked where my accent was from, and hearing all the local Scots use everyday language that is totally different than what we hear at home.  And, of course, the accents are fantastic.  I was happily surprised to find that folks around town (and Scotland in general, so far) were really friendly and helpful - gave directions and were very chatty and a lot of fun!  I can totally see myself living here!

Scot - There are consequences, kids, to such late night behaviour:

Rebecca meditates upon the error of her ways

Dannelle:    I CAN'T see myself living in the wee 18th century village we visited this morning!  The tacksman's house, thatch-roofed and windowless, filled with peat smoke and dirt floors, with space for the beasts in an adjoining room(!!) was considered wealthy for the development....Claire, more power to you!  I'll stay happily in the 21st century, dreaming of adventures past!

Scot - because we have tours that are a bit more responsive to the changing needs of our friends, we made a wee stop this afternoon, not on the list, in order to pick up a few bottles of Uisge Beatha for Rebecca's man, Pat.  There's a fine shop in Pit Chloich Aridh that has about 400 different bottlings.  I chose the newest Distillery in Scotland for one - Kilchomain; the smallest for another - Edradour and the lady of the shop chose a third - Ben Romach.  Pat is perhaps reading this blog ahead of the delivered gifts.  Enjoy, your research into what's in store and I'd like to hear your tasting notes.
That led us to lunch and a bit of locating a grave that contains an almost unknown local story about the descendants of the Royal Stuart lineage.   Who'd have thunk it... but you had to be there.  I'm not giving that one away, guests only!

Sam - I noticed the terrain changing from the north as we traveled south today; the heather shrub in the more southern areas has already turned a deep plush green.  I love watching the subtle and also vibrant changes to the foliage.  Over the past few days, we've seen quite a few Red Deer and though our Hens didn't realize it, an amazing number of Red Kite sitings; an endangered and beautiful bird of prey up here.  Spring is wonderful.

Tomorrow, I can tell you, is Lallybroch day.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Day 5 of really bad ass hens

We thought we'd do something different on this tour (indeed, there are many "firsts" on this one.  More of that later).  We've given the lasses a day of two halves.  In the morning we stopped in to pay our respects to the Clan Chief - Lord John MacKenzie, Earl of Cromarty.  He furnished us with the traditional mark of hospitality  -  a wee dram - before showing us around his home.  I've not spoken to the lasses this afternoon about the visit but the looks of wonder on their faces as Lord John described some "new part" of the castle from 500 years ago were priceless.  I'd say they got a real sense of the historical details found in the Outlander books. After all they touched them, sat on them and smelled them.  We'll perhaps find out tomorrow what they thought.

Did we mention the Wild Hyacinth (bluebells) in the May tour?

Which leads us to the new idea of the tour.  We've given them the afternoon off.  They are unchaperoned in the town of Inverness.  Lord John doubted they could find any "hell" to raise.  WE are of a different opinion.  Not so concerned with FINDING mischief, but of MAKING it.  We've left our contact phone number with the local constabulary.
What can you do? Kids eh.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Day 4 of Bad (Ass) hens


Sali here - (Hi, Boo!) It may be Day 4, but three of us are still giggling over last night's hunt for Isabella, the resident ghost of the baronial mansion where we passed the night. (Remind me to tell you about our utterly decadent four-posters!) The evening began with fluets of champagne toasting an utterly marvelous day - a day that saw us at the top of the world as well as beneath the earth. After dinner, our personal Bard regaled us with tales of Silkies and light-houses, his audience in rapt attention not interferring with sips of wine, coffee, tea - and the inevitable Pims & Lemonade. As midnight approached, Samantha and Scot floated off to their romantic plaid in the heather, and Dannelle and Rebecca to their sumptious suites. And that left three . . . night-caps anyone?

A Baronni and a couple of Pims & Lemonade had Kelly, Courtney and me following Simon and the keys to the mansion through one locked door after another, examining paintings and searching shadowy corners for a trace of Isabella. A drapery twitched, the eyes of a painting followed our movements, a door swung closed without human touch. Had Isabella found us?

Sam here - Scotland is full of some wonderful castles and ours provided an added highlight as the Lady of the castle came gracefully strolling up to the front. We enjoyed some lovely gardens today with beautiful fragrant flowers adorning our paths. I talked Sali into coming into seeing some special features and she was snapping photos of some lovely blue Icelandic Poppies for her hubby. On to a traditional pub to fortify ourselves before taking a good hard look at some Scottish Jacobite history and our hero, Jamie's involvement in it all.

"And also, here are some sheep."

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Droch Isean - day 3

DAY 3 - a day of surprises

Firstly, here's the tweed jacket. Fine aye?

Hiking in the wilderness
Rebecca-  Today I experience a wilderness that called my name.  We walked around a beautiful park that exposed trees and water rushes, a place God must look down and smile at his amazing work.  We had a reading to remind us of the times Jamie and Claire spent romping throught the wilderness and slept in the heather (which was to my surprise, very comfy). Imagine a time when the sky was you roof and the wind dried your hair, amazing.  I am truly having an experience that has exceeded my expections.  This is me logging off for now.....

Scot: we laid the surprises on thick today.  We're not telling YOU, of course, but here's the faces when the lasses found out where they were staying.

That's all your getting Followers!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Droch Isean - Day 2


Pip - ready for adventure in the Spirits Tour Van
Hello all. This is Courtney and Kelly blogging for day 2 of the tour. After a lovely evening and delectable breakfast at a B & B we took a short drive to see an Ardsmuir-like prison Barracks. It was amazing to see how impressive it was to build a 4 story stone fortress without the aid of [modern] tools, and also how an individual could survive there once the task was completed. The view was breath-taking!

The second stop brought us to Wedding Chapel; one can just imagine the ceremony of Jamie and Claire! Did we mention BREATH TAKING VIEWS!

We certainly worked up our appetites to enjoy a spot of tea and sandwiches with some quite delightful desserts! The atmosphere was perfect and just what you would expect when having a proper afternoon tea. We are loving the tour, our tour companions, and our guides and having the time of our lives!

GREETINGS, ALL - Sali here. Is it still Day 2? We are packing so much into the days, it feels like Day 5 at least! At another B&B - bed looks so inviting, but dinner with the gang first. Dannelle and I actually have separate beds tonite! Haven't slept in the same bed with her this much since her 6-year-old nightmare phase!

I absolutely LOVE Scotland - the Highlands thus far are magnificent! I'm already wondering how I'll tear myself away to go home. Best part of the day? Certainly not just one thing! Loved joking about with Nigel Nicol in the wool-tweed shop! My daughter's face was memorable as she tried on a stunning Harris Tweed jacket that neither of us can afford, but I bought anyway. (What the heck - her look was priceless!) Buildings and ruins hundreds of years old. The rarefied air of history. Laughter with new friends. Could you choose?

Scot - aye she looks braw, does Dannelle in her new green tweed jacket, with silk lining. Like a Highland lassie - fit for crawling around in the heather then off to the ball without needing to change. That's Harris tweed for you.
Myself, I bought a pocket watch. I have "time issues" as Sam is always telling me. I haven't owned a watch for years - I tend to test things to a quick destruction. Besides, I'm a storyteller - we have a special relationship with time in my profession only understood by A.Einstein. Time is relative. I can make a story last a year. Ask my wife.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The May Tour - Droch Isean

It's here again! The May Tour.

Let me introduce the ladies. Left to right
That's Courtney and her mother, Kelly. Hiding in the back is Dannelle and her mother Sally. In the front is Rebecca.

As followers of the Tour blogs will know. The first thing to do is establish the name for this particular, unique adventure.

Somewhere in the run up to the tour, Ducks were mentioned, so The Odd Duck Tour, is a possibility. If you'd met the ladies you'd know why that is appropriate. Then we found out how "witty" the ladies are (that's sarcastic) so Scot suggested "Droch Isean". It's a term used for badly behaved children, roughly meaning, "little brat". It's literal translation is "bad chicken".

So An Turas Dhroch Isean it is. The Tour of Bad Hens.

And here's some of Geillis Duncan's hens - we were in her herb garden this morning.

Musical accompaniment to this photo: "I see a bad moon risin'. I see trouble on the way..."

Hi all, it's Dannelle sharing the trouble of the day....and there wasn't any! We had a very nifty picnic lunch, after which some of us hiked up a Scottish hillside to a Big Surprise. Others went to visit a wee kirk and indulge in some hot chocolate. The view from the hike was AMAZING...even with the sheep dung sprinkled about for authenticity....we even got a bit of a Scottish sprinkle to keep us cool on the way up. We had a blast - at least I did - especially following Scot in his kilt and his walking stick and hiking hat - a piece of the 18th century here in the 21st! We all seem to have the same sense of humor and are having FUN.....

Sally isn't blogging this evening : "give the world my regards".

Tomorrow - oh you'll just have to tune in.

P.S. Sam here - it's been an early spring, so the Bluebells are carpeting the woodlands beautifully. Some of us took an alternate trip from the tall hill path to visit an old Kirk in the form of a small chapel and enjoy some moderate walking and views along a beautiful flowing river before stopping for a very tall cup of fluffy hot chocolate.

I've become the 'unofficial' hot chocolate connoisseur in Scotland, scoping out the best places to enjoy that ancient Aztec & Mayan creation. This particular concoction today was very good. And the Outlandish Spirit siting next to me was great fun. We sat in a small Post Office / Country Store / Cafe and chatted with some local Highland folk, a visitor from England having a cup of tea (of course) and the shop owner and her young daughter who had just come home from school and was having a piece of carrot cake - ah, the perks of your family owning a cafe!

Our Outlandish Spirits came through 'Clair's Stone' safely yesterday and were in awe of the experience. They've now traveled back in time, but alas they are all scantly dressed for this time period. It brings to mind Brianna and her trousers!

A special note to Carolyn, Aven & Marilyn, you are spoken of with great fondness to our Hens and have become part of our tour - we miss you all!