Lovely Lismore-Scotland’s Great Garden Isle

Adventures in the Mother Country

We have been taking full advantage of this glorious Scottish autumn to take day trips around Argyll, so I’ll have plenty of things to write about all winter while I’m stuck inside watching the rain. A recent highlight was bagging another Hebridean island, one that was high on my bucket list. In Gaelic it’s known as Lios Mòr- Great Garden- or Lismore.

The island is only nine square miles, with just over a dozen miles of road, most of which is gently rolling tarmac. We heard that the best way to see the island was by bicycle, so we borrowed a pair from a friend and set out on a Sunday morning. We bought round trip tickets on the CalMac 11 am ferry from Oban to Achnacroish, on Lismore, a trip that takes about 50 minutes. Our plan was to take a leisurely ride of about six miles around the…

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Driving Like an Idiot

Just passed my theory test for my real license! Now to get my nerve up to schedule the practical test 😦

Adventures in the Mother Country

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”- George Carlin

When I picked up my life in America and moved to Scotland to be with my husband, I had to basically start over. Obviously moving to the UK isn’t as difficult as moving to pretty much anywhere else in the world- at least I speak the language (well, sort of-broad Scots is actually not always easy to understand, and my Southern drawl is sometimes just as difficult for Scots to understand!) But that hasn’t been a barrier to me adjusting here. Little things took me a while to get used to- the metric system, for one- it’s been a real pain adjusting to unfamiliar cooking measurements, for example (soooo, how many cups is 100 grams of butter?) The money hasn’t been a problem, except for getting…

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A Highland Fling at the Argyllshire Games

It’s time once again for the annual Argyllshire Gathering Highland Games, Thursday August 27, 2015. So I’m taking a look back at my first Gathering…a ‘don’t miss’ Scotland experience! Visit them at for more information.

Adventures in the Mother Country

Nothing evokes the spirit of wild Scotland like the Highland Games. All over the world, from New Zealand to Russia, the Scottish diaspora and the Scottish at heart gather for a celebration of all things Alba- piping, dancing, racing, feats of strength, food and Gaelic heritage.

Legend has it the origin of the games lies with King Malcolm III, who, in the 11th century, summoned the fastest runners of the realm to compete in a foot race to determine who would be his royal messenger. The first recorded games date to 1703, when members of Clan Grant, bedecked in their Highland coats, gathered with “gun, sword, pistol and dirk” to compete in feats of arms. Today’s version of the games is basically- like the clan tartan- a Victorian invention developed after the Highland Clearances- a romantic pastiche harkening back to a culture that, had it really existed, would have…

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Daycation in Dál Riata

A look back at one of Argyll’s best days out.

Adventures in the Mother Country

The landscape of Scotland just oozes history, and few places more so than in the west Highlands area known from ancient times as Dál Riata. It is Old Irish for “portion of Riata,” referring to a share of land ruled by a person named Riata who came from Ireland. The kingdom once encompassed what is now Argyll and Bute, Lochaber and County Antrim in Northern Ireland, but I think it can best be experienced in an area just south of Oban, easily seen on a day trip.

Picnic in tow and wellies donned, we headed first for Kilmartin Glen. At the heart of the charming village of the same name is the Kilmartin Church and graveyard. The church dates to the mid 1800’s, but there has been one on the site for much longer. Scattered throughout the yard, in an outbuilding and in the church itself is a striking collection of early…

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Enjoying seafood the sustainable way

Luscious, hand dived scallops are a gastronomic treat, best prepared simply.
Luscious, hand dived scallops are a gastronomic treat, best prepared simply.

My latest blog for the Oban and Lorn Tourism Association is about the The Ethical Shellfish Company on the Isle of Mull, Scotland.

“Guy and Juliet Grieves run The Ethical Shellfish Company on Mull, selling sustainably-caught seafood – including their own hand dived scallops. “Hand dived, creel-caught, hand-gathered and line caught” is the way they do business, practising responsible diving methods themselves, as well as buying fish and seafood from local fisherman who share their philosophy of ‘respect for the ocean’.”…read more by clicking here.

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