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STAYCATION in KENMORE, the Highlands of Scotland!!!

With all this dreaded COVID 19 virus has brought to the whole world, no one can truly feel safe to go on holiday anymore, especially abroad. One way some people would bravely consider is to ‘staycation’ in their own country, as long as their government permits it. That’s what Tony and I did precisely – a wee staycation!

A few months ago, during Lockdown, we decided to book a holiday with Tony’s father, Wully, within Scotland during the September weekend, hoping that it would be allowed by then. Our dear Wully, like many other elderly, was practically stuck in his own home during the Lockdown months. He is used to going on holiday abroad at least once a year, so it was good to have been able to take him somewhere nice and safe for a change.

We booked a three-night holiday at the Kenmore Club by Diamond Resort in the stunning village of Kenmore, in the Highlands of Scotland.

On our way to Kenmore, we briefly stopped at the lovely village of Balloch for our lunch. We then proceeded to the Loch Lomond way route passed by the narrow roads in Tarbet, headed towards Crianlarich and Killin before finally reaching our destination, Kenmore.

We stopped by at Killin for tea and snacks at the Cappercaillie restaurant before going for a walk along the little bridge overlooking the beautiful Falls of Dochart. The stunning cascades of waterfalls always draw many visitors to this tiny village. It was late afternoon by then, but there were still many tourists or visitors around.

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The first time I was in this village many years ago, I went to the Breadalbane Folklore Centre situated in the old mill by the Falls of Dochart. I remember being fascinated by the information showcased in the Centre of the old highland way of life and how folklore played a vital role in the highlanders of the old days. Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, the Centre closed in 2011.

We finally arrived at the Kenmore Club by Diamond Resort, and when we checked-in at the Reception, we were asked to wear our mask before going in, and the staff took our temperatures too. They did this check again when we went to the restaurant for dinner later that night. All the resort’s staff were rigorous on social distancing rules, which made us feel a bit safer.

Our Lodge was beautiful and spacious with a great mountain view; we couldn’t ask for more. The atmosphere of the whole area was peaceful and relaxing. We went for a little walk after our dinner, and there was a big fancy big gate facing Loch Tay at the far end of our Lodge. It puzzled me upon our arrival why the Lodges were within an area that was enclosed by massive old stone-walls. We eventually found out that this place used to be a Market Place for Taymouth Castle located about a mile away.

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The next day-Saturday, we visited the Scottish Crannog Centre, not far from where we stayed. We had to book this beforehand as spaces were limited. The Centre is a museum that showcases the lives of the inhabitants during the Iron Age (500BC – 332BC). I’ve visited here before, but it was still fascinating to hear the stories and see the ancient tools and display of the way of life back then.

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On Sunday, we went on a boat cruise with Loch Tay Safaris. Our two knowledgeable skipper and tour guides took and showed us the breadth of Loch Tay, one of the deepest lochs in Scotland. They also told us some fascinating history of Kenmore, including one small island in the loch, used to be a monastery for nuns. During those days, whenever the nuns went to the Mainland, they caused havoc in the community. They got too drunk. They eventually gained a notorious reputation that the community banished them all.

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On our last day, we visited the grounds of Taymouth Castle before heading back home. It was roughly a twenty-minute walk from the car park, which we didn’t realise. I was a bit worried about dad Wully walking that far but he said he could manage, and even commented at the end how he enjoyed and loved the walk. It was a lovely walk surrounded by mature woodlands with giant trees - Redwood, Oak, Birch, and many other variety of massive trees.

(Please click on the arrow to the right of the above image to see more photos)

The castle was huge and striking on approach. I didn’t know anything about this castle beforehand. I thought it was open to the public as there were no signs of ‘No Entry’ at the main gate of the estate. Fortunately, as we walked around the castle, a caretaker was outside, and he happily talked to us about the castle he was working in.

Taymouth Castle is actually a private residence, currently owned by an American magnate. Although it is private, it does offer events, visits on the grounds and a fantastic golf course where anyone can play around with a backdrop of the stunning castle and an excellent view of the highlands behind.

After our castle visit, we proceeded to head home using another route, going towards Killin, Callander, and then to Stirling, eventually joining onto the motorway M80 to Glasgow.

Our little holiday and adventure with our dear father, Wully, was beautiful and memorable, despite the social distancing rules and other restrictions, which we fully complied.

In the end, STAYCATION is so worth it and truly enjoyable! You just have to be always mindful of all the restrictions and comply with them.

Till here for now. See you again next Wednesday. Stay safe!!

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