Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Day 7- 8 - the last of the Grapes

Alas the adventure has come to one of life's pauses.  The Jamie and Claire tour May 2012, The Grape Tour (named after Robert who is a bit of a wine buff) has shouted its last shout, tinged its last last glass of announcement, climbed its last castle step and Noella, always disappearing, finally caught up with the group (once we unglued her camera from her fingers).

We have new friends and many memories, but let me hand over to our guests' own words to describe the last two days.

Dolly: Yesterday's stop at the Castle was great fun. Lots of stops as each person was shown their rooms – all with plaid carpeting. Ours was with two single beds and in the best Scottish tradition, the toilet was across the room from the bathtub and shower. Although we would have explored the castle on our own, we were happily obliged to search for the dining room – hidden away and not part of our introductory tour. We were instructed to respond when we heard the bagpipes … very nice. Dinner was in the great dining room with luscious food and libations.
They are a fun loving lot, our guests.  On the roof of the castle.

I went to the cemetery just outside of Stirling Castle, the history was quite interesting with sites dating back to the early 1500s. Took some nice panoramic photo's of the country side and Stirling Castle. You can see how the Castle's location was at the heart of all travel and how it could protect itself from intruders.
Undoubtedly one of the best nights was at the Castle.. hearing the bagpipes calling us for dinner, the great meal, storytelling and then Scotch and Snooker in the parlour took me back to past generations.
Robert has got into geocaching on this trip - he meets the "planter"

Grant [aka MacLarry]:
Great trip.
Great group of interesting people....great camaraderie.
Great hosts.
Great second wedding – thanks Mac Iain!
Je suis priest!!! If Scot and Sam come to Canada, please look us up!!!

Noella: A fantastic trip. Ditto the comments above. Being in a castle which we could treat as a home away from home with all the trimmings was a wonderful experience. The pre-arranged surprises just capped everything. Laden food tables with good food and company added to my enjoyment. 
The morning after the night before in our castle.
All through we've experienced historic Scotland pertaining to Jamie and Claire and more as well as wonderful scenery. The fact that the Scottish weather pulled out all the stops for the whole trip giving us beautiful warm, sunny days after the absolutely cold, wet entry into Scotland was a relief. The walks were another really enjoyable aspect of the trip taking us to some out of the way places not able to be experienced on your average coach tour. Being able to actually be in the kinds of locations for our favourite characters will enhance my future re-reading of the books. The celebration of a Cindy & Grant's wedding anniversary was a very special experience and happened in a wonderful location combined with a book reading. I'd better stop as I can go on and on...... Noella

Today we did the Edinburgh, having arrived by carriage into the town last night (train carriage that is, a first for the J&C tour).
We had a grand time running up and down the Royal Mile, visiting all the places that Claire did, looking for Jamie.  The OSs really enjoyed putting face-to-place so to speak.  Kim spoke of finding the spiral staircases in the castles much narrower than she had expected from her reading of the books, so a good "education" in the scenery of Outlander was had.
A fond farewell was paid after lunch, with email addresses and hugs exchanged all round.  Gisella had been a little worried before the tour about getting on with "a bunch of strangers", but she realised that if they were all a group of DG fans, then they couldn't be all that bad.  She remarked how pleased she was that everyone got on so well, across the decades too.  Of course, I knew from experience that this would be the case.  We have only ever had wonderful guests on our tours and we are still in touch with most of them. It's a 'club' of Outlandish Spirits.

The Epilogue:
Some of the group are going on with me in the morning, one of my "extension" tours.  We're off to Skye, so keep an eye on the blog for the Outlandish comments on that one.  Perhaps we'll pass a Silkie's Isle on the way.  In fact, we will see lots of west coast isles like the treasure laden one, seals and all.
The Ladies of Leisure head to the Western Isles.