You ‘tak’ the high road and I’ll ‘tak’ the low road, but ‘tak’ a Shearings Coach Holiday to get to where you want to go!
Our Shearings Coast and Country trip was to visit the beautiful village of Pitlochry and go to the Edinburgh Tattoo. Our road to the ‘isles’ and Bonnie Scotland was on my bucket list and the best way to get to Scotland from most places in the country is to drive, but it is a long, long way so why not let the coach take the strain and you just sit back and relax.
Our journey started from a very convenient pick up from our nearest town. This is the feeder coach that takes you to one of the many stations to transfer you to your coach that will take you anywhere in the country. You can however drive to the feeder station if you wish and leave your car in the car park for £4 per day. You can also travel independently and enjoy the freedom of travelling in your own car. Shearing’s do a Self Drive break which gives you the flexibility to come and go as you please. The Grand Tourer Home Connect holidays give you the comfort and convenience at the start of your holiday, they will pick you up right from your front door and bring you back home again free of charge.
Our driver who had worked for Shearings for many years knew the north of England and Scotland like the back of his hand. He was informative and fun from the start of our journey. The coach seating is comfortable and with plenty of leg room and on board is a toilet. Shearings do plan lots of stops and food is available at the rest areas, but it is a long day, and a supply of food and drink is always a good idea. Tip: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Our hotel was the Pitlochry Hydro, a large comfortable hotel set high above the town of Pitlochry. Coach tours are like cruising on land as Shearings put your case on the coach at the beginning of the holiday and it strangely appears at your hotel bedroom without you lifting a finger, wonderful! The hotel is large and comfortable with a lounge for entertainment in the evenings. Food is plentiful and the buffet breakfast is substantial, especially the porridge which set you up for the day. There are standard or superior rooms which you pay a little extra for but all are comfortable and have tea and coffee facilities plus toiletries in the bathrooms.
The Pitlochry Hydro Hotel is a little way out of the town centre but it is walkable but my advice would be to walk down and get a taxi back. Tip: The taxi service is limited and when it is school time they do not pick up as the taxis are used for the school runs around the area, so between 2pm to approx. 5pm no taxi is available. Pitlochry is a lovely Scottish town quaint and interesting. As you walk down the main street go towards the festival gardens then carry on to the bridge which takes you across the River Tummel to the Festival Hall which does attract some excellent acts and plays. Call at the lovely Port-Na Craig restaurant and enjoy the food and ambiance overlooking the river. If your energy is then refreshed walk to the Fish Ladder, this is at the Pitlochry Hydroelectric Dam where if you are lucky you can see the fish leaping up to get to the spawning grounds above the river. You can walk along the top of the dam back to the town or just retrace your steps back across the bridge.
Our trip to the Edinburgh Tattoo was a big draw to this particular holiday, but Shearings have trips all over Great Britain and Europe, even river cruising is now a favourite with many customers. Going to Edinburgh is a great experience but going to the Tattoo when the Edinburgh Fringe is on is amazing. From the shortbread biscuits to the Tam o’ Shanter hats it is all here. The Edinburgh Tattoo is held at the Castle at the top of the Royal Mile, people gather for the opening of the gates about an hour before the start but don’t panic you have seat tickets given to you by the Shearings driver and good seats are provided. Tip: Buy a cushion for your seat the cost is one pound and is worth every penny, they are sold just inside the gates.
The Tattoo is a spectacular display with servicemen and women from all over the world showing how they play music, dance, ride horses or even motorbikes around this impressive stadium. The massed pipe band starts the proceedings and passed the baton to pipers from Jordan then on to pipers from Nepal with dancers joining them. Scottish sword dancers showed us their skills and were joined by dancers from New Zealand. The bands and dancers vary every year. The lighting and the graphics pull the event together and the finale is the lone piper high up on the castle walls. It was a crush to get out but all good natured as people had enjoyed a wonderful evening. The Shearings coaches are parked a little way down the Royal Mile and on to Chambers Street awaiting to take you back to Pitlochry to your bed, it is a late night but well worth missing a little beauty sleep to see this spectacular event.
On our free day we walked down to the town of Pitlochry and enjoyed the buzz of this small town, which is a popular stop for many coaches. We also visited a local distillery. There are two in the area – Bells and Edradour. We went by taxi from the hotel to the Edradour Distillery and thoroughly enjoyed it buying whisky, whisky cake and whisky marmalade! We ordered the taxi to come back for us in about an hour and a half, back to the beautiful surroundings of the hotel.
Our coach trip also included a visit to Blair Castle and gardens which is a beautiful old castle with lots of history, it is disabled friendly but not to the top floors. The gardens are beautiful and watch out for the peacocks and deer but if the weather is good this is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours and there is a garden restaurant to rest awhile and have a drink. Our afternoon outing also took in the Queens View which is a spectacular vantage point to see Loch Tummel.
Shearings has been ‘takin us’ where we want to go for more than 100 years! It has breaks all over the UK and Ireland also to Europe with experienced staff to help you choose the right trip for you. Single independent travellers are not forgotten. Shearings have a ‘Your time’ programme designed just for the single traveller with no single supplements and a sole occupancy room to meet like-minded passengers for travel. The prices are competitive and you do get value for money. The age group of passengers is, in general, senior travellers but they are still enjoying life to the full and we went to bed earlier than they did!
Our short trip of four days flew past and Scotland does hold so much more, we will take the high road again and visit this beautiful country of ours on a longer coach trip with Shearings Coach Holidays, letting the coach take the strain.