Saturday April 22, 2017

David, Carolyn, Ian and I finally reached Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.

We will be visiting the sites listed here in the website. Coming here has been an adventure. Ian Walker, our hearty genealogist travel guide reminded me that I had contacted him 18 months ago and that this trip was that long in the making.  Ian picked us up in Glasgow Thursday, April 19.and gave us a city tour. We then headed out to Inveraray Castle. One of the best working castles in Scotland. The family lives on the second floor.

Visiting the MacDonald museum was the perfect spot to learn about what we would see on Lewis, Harris and Orkney Islands.  It gave us the history of the first people who began to migrate here from Europe and Ireland and North.

People have lived in Scotland for over 12,000 years, right back to prehistoric times.
  • The first people. People have lived in Scotland since pre-historic times, over 12,000 years ago. …
  • Maes Howe, Skara Brae and stone circles. …
  • Celts, Picts and Romans. …

The most numerous were the Picts who’d been in Scotland before the Romans. The others, with the possible exception of the Strathclyde British, were relative newcomers. The Angles from Holstein, Germany and the Scots from Ireland would come to dominate the native Picts and Britons.

The Venerable Bede, writing in 731, said that the Picts had come from mainland Europe,presumably Scandinavia, to northern Ireland to ask for land, but the Irish sent them on to Scotland. Hence a myth that the Picts were given Irish wives, on condition that they became matrilineal.5 Aug 2008

On  the way in on the ferry, arriving at 8 pm, the first language spoken here is Gaelic. The instructions are announced first in Gaelic, then in Scottish. I  have to be careful to say Scottish, not English. The Scots value independence and freedom and they do not like having Britain make decisions for them.  If you watch what happens with the next election in Britain, there may be a vote by Scots to be on their own. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language with similarities to Irish. Scottish Gaelic comes from Old Irish. It was originally spoken by the Gaels of Dál Riata and the Rhinns of Galloway, later being adopted by the Pictish people of central and eastern Scotland.

Gaelic is spoken all over Skye and the Outer Hebrides.  There is a come back of Gaelic learned by school children. They take extra classes on the mainland to learn it and parents who want their children to succeed, vacation on Skye and the Outer Hebrides so their children can practice the language during the summer vacation months.

Ian drove the 76 miles up the spectacular, dramatic western coast. It reminded us of the Norway Fiords. It is stark now but the purple Heather is dormant and will reach full bloom in July. The hills will be spectacular then.  We stopped at Nanny’s in Shieldaig for lunch where we had Squat Lobster sandwiches on homemade bread. Yum!  We reached Ullapool by 4 pm where we caught the huge ferry for Lewis Island.  The ferry is big enough to house at least 2 fully packed truck-trailer rigs that bring supplies to the island on a daily basis.  Our van was one of many trucks, vans and cars to be put on the ferry.  The trek is 2 and a half hours.   It was a little more choppy crossing than we all expected. The weather is kicking up with storms predicted for the islands tomorrow, Sunday. We may take today and do all of Lewis and Harris and just rest on Sunday. This is a traditional area and they DO take Sunday as a day of rest and nothing is open. Sunday, while it is storming, would be a good day to read and rest.

Thinking about you as we travel into the ancient lands of long ago….

Gail, David Carolyn and

Ian Walker, our intrepid guide

Ian plans great custom tours. We could not do this kind of trip without him and his talents. He is so good, he gets booked up early. I started planning 18 months ago with him.  All good hotels book up early. If you plan to travel here do plan at least a year in advance. Hotels where we have stayed are already booked for 2018.




Itinerary: Scotland 2017

Gail, David & Carolyn’s Grand Tour of Scotland


Wednesday 19th April 2017 to
Friday 28th April 2017

Day ONE – Wednesday 19th April 2017

‘You take the high road and I’ll take the low road’

Collect you from Glasgow Best Western City Hotel 9 am

City tour of Glasgow.

Visit Loch Lomond with lunch at Luss.

Visit to Inverary and Inverary Castle.

Travel to Arisaig.

Overnight accommodation at Arisaig Hotel, Main Road, Arisaig, Inverness-Shire, PH39 4NH. Tel: 01687 450210

Day TWO – Thursday 20th April 2017

‘The misty isle’

Ferry from Mallaig to Armadale.

Morning visit to the Clan Donald Skye and Museum of the Isles, Armadale IV45 8RS.

Afternoon – David & Carolyn – Walking / hiking.
Afternoon – All of us Touring Skye.

Overnight accommodation at Slighan Hotel, Sligachan, Isle of Skye, IV47 8SW. Tel: 01478 650204

Day THREE – Friday 21st April 2017

‘A romantic castle and road to the isles’

Visit Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DX.

Visit the Wardlaw Monument, Wardlaw Road, Kirkhill, IV5 7NB. Burial of “Old Fox”

Visit Beauly for lunch then travel to Ullapool.

Departure of Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

Overnight accommodation at Caladh Inn, 11 James Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2QN. Tel: 01851 702740

Day FOUR – Saturday 22nd April 2017

‘The bonnie Hebrides – Lewis’

Tour of the Isle of Lewis visiting Callanish Standing Stones, Dun Carloway Broch & The Blackhouses at Arnol.

David & Carolyn – Day walking / hiking. Gail & Ian – Sightseeing.

Overnight accommodation at Caladh Inn, 11 James Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2QN. Tel: 01851 702740

Tour of Harris.

Day FIVE – Sunday 23rd April 2017

‘The bonnie Hebrides – Harris’

Overnight accommodation at Caladh Inn, 11 James Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2QN. Tel: 01851 702740

Day SIX – Monday 24th April 2017

‘Drama in nature’

Departure of Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry from Stornoway.

Arrival in Ullapool.

Travel to Thurso via Sutherland and Caithness along Route 500. scotland_clearances_01.shtml

Accommodation at Pennyland House, Thurso, KW14 7JU. Tel: 01847 891194

Day SEVEN – Tuesday 25th April 2017

‘An island of dreams’

Departure of NorthLink Ferries from Scrabster.
Visit Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Kirkwall and the Italian Chapel.
Departure of NorthLink Ferries from Stromness. Accommodation at Pennyland House, Thurso, KW14 7JU. Tel: 01847 891194

Day EIGHT – Wednesday 26th April 2017

‘The clearances – a new dawn in the Highlands’

Travel through the straths and cleared villages of Sutherland.

Visit Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, KW10 6SF.

Travel to Inverness via Dornoch.

Overnight accommodation at Ardmeanach Guest House, 43 Fairfield Road, Inverness, IV3 5QP. Tel: 01463 237180

Day NINE – Thursday 27th April 2017

‘The end of a dream and time travel’

Visit Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, Culloden Moor, Inverness, IV2 5EU.

Visit Clava Cairns, Inverness IV2 5EU.

Sheepdog Demonstration at Leault Farm, Kingussie, Inverness-Shire PH21 1LZ.

Overnight accommodation at Cairngorm Guest House, 139 Grampain Road, Aviemore, PH22 1RP. Tel: 01479 810630

Day TEN – Friday 28th April 2017

‘Differing Lives’

Visit the Highland Folk Museum, Aultlarie Croft, Kingussie Rd, Newtonmore PH20 1AY.

Travel through the Cairngorms National Park. Lunch at House of Bruar, Blair Atholl, PH18 5TW.
Visit Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5TL.
Visit Doune Castle, Doune, Stirlingshire, FK16 6EA.
Arrive in Edinburgh.
Beltane Fire Festival April 30

End of Tour with Ian Walker for 10 days of research in Edinburgh
with Christine Woodcock
Marriott Residence Inn at the Grassmarket.
10 Days of Research May 1-May 10
then Tour of the Borders and Ancestral Lands with Ian Walker/genealogist tour guide May 11-MAY 14
FLY HOME MAY 15TH from Glasgow

Travel Summary and Guide Info

Dear Family and Friends:
Here is our travel summary for Scotland
April 17-May 15, 2017.
My son, David and his girlfriend, Carolyn are going with me
the first two weeks. We fly on British Airways San Jose direct to London then transfer and fly another 2 hours to Glasgow. We overnight in Glasgow. Our genealogist tour guide, Ian Walker, will pick us up at 9 am 4/19 and we begin our tour in his VW van to all good stops North eventually to the Outer Herbrides,Orkney Island and Sutherland to study the first people and the clearances World Heritage Sites. We will then travel to Inverness and Culloden National Trust and Blair Atholl where the Robertson/Clan Donnachaidh Castle ancestral lands are located. Our ancestor from here was Daniel Robins b.1627 who was an indentured servant for 8 years from 1651 in New Haven CT. Our lines are from him and his wife, Hope Potter.
They lived in New Jersey territory before we were a country. Doune Castle is one of the
Stewart Castles, another Scottish line. We end up in Edinburgh for the Beltrane Fire Festival April 30.
David and Carolyn fly home May 1 and I stay for 10 more days of genealogy
research in Edinburgh with long time planetarium travel buddy, Donna Pierce from Texas. She will research her family lines. We will then travel with our guide, Ian Walker, to “The Borders” to visit Donna’s Conley ancestral lands and my Kelso/Kelsey and Stewart ancestral lands.
Donna and I fly out of Glasgow May 15th.
Here is
Ian Walker’s
website. He is an excellent guide.
Thank you for your enthusiasm and good wishes.

Scotland 2017

This is my third trip to Scotland. Other trips have been in 1978 and 2015. This 2017 trip will expand an understanding of ancestors.  This trip will take us to the Outer Hebrides,  Lewis and Harris Islands, Orkney and Sutherland to study some of the “first people”  and the clearances.  We start in Glasgow and end in Edinburgh for the 3 day Viking Beltane Fire Festival.