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Thursday, 01 November 2018

“Pure Barry” Cycling in Scotland

Written by Dale Fehringer
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Just a few minutes earlier standing among the blooming foxgloves, bluebells, and buttercups and holding our bikes next to the path overlooking the lake (or loch as it's known in Scotland) I had remarked to my companions that if there was a heaven it wouldn't be much different than this. The sun had come out, there were a few puffy white clouds left in the brilliant blue sky, and it had warmed to around 70 degrees.

It was a perfect day to cycle around Loch Katrine in Scotland's Trossachs region, a romantic area of sparkling lakes, tree-covered hills, and welcoming villages, and we had finished a delicious lunch and were enjoying a leisurely ride. It was turning into a fantastic day!

As we turned to get back on our bikes we watched an orange and black butterfly flutter in the ferns next to the path. It reminded us of my wife Patty's mother, who loved butterflies, and who surely would have enjoyed this day as much as we were.

It was day 4 of our tour of Scotland and the weather was perfect. We had been mesmerized by the history, scenery, and people of this fantastic place, and we had saved the best for our last day. But it had all been good – very good -- or as some Scots say, “pure barry!”

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Day 1 – Edinburgh and Glasgow

We started our time in Scotland in a rented apartment in Edinburgh, arriving on a train from the Cotswolds in England. The scenery was gorgeous on the train ride and we were relaxed when we got off in Edinburgh. After a short cab ride we were in our apartment, unpacked, and ready for action.

Edinburgh is a friendly city – welcoming, safe and clean. It is divided into two sections (Old Town and New Town), separated by the Princes Street Gardens. Old Town, much of which dates back to medieval times, includes the Royal Mile, the Edinburgh Castle, and is home to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest performing arts festival. New Town was developed in the 18th century to let Edinburgh’s well-heeled residents escape the poverty and unsanitary conditions of Old Town and today it features neo-classical and Georgian architecture, museums, shopping, and nightlife.

It was easy to find our way around and (with a little help from locals) we made our way to a nearby restaurant for dinner. The staff recognized our American accents, asked where we were from, and engaged us in friendly banter while they fed us seafood, venison, and Kedgeree (rice, fish, and eggs). Our friend, Bill, tried haggis, the Scottish national food, which he said he enjoyed. We snuggled into our beds at our Edinburgh apartment that night, anticipating the next day on bicycles.

We went out for breakfast our first morning in Scotland and stood in line to pay behind a fellow tourist (a young woman from Italy) who, after her breakfast was rung up, gave up searching for her wallet and confessed to the cashier that she had left her money in her room. “No worries,” the cashier told her, “It’s on the house.” That was how it often went and how we were usually received throughout Scotland – friendly acceptance and generosity.

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Last modified on Thursday, 01 November 2018

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