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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Going Walkabout with Cameron Tours of Scotland

After our stay on Colonsay we took the ferry back to Oban where we were once again met by Dave, who would be our guide for the next 15 days as we toured islands and Highlands on northern Scotland. 

When Himself and I travel, we aren’t ones to be taking a group tour (with the exception of an occasional day trip).  We like ‘winging it’ a bit and getting off the beaten path.  We also like to be able to alter plans at our whim.  So finding just the right guide is very important … and difficult.  Because not only is this person driving us – they are also our travel companion.  

Once I had decided our route, it was time to start interviewing for a guide.  There were a lot of guide services listed at the “Visit Scotland” web site and I found some more on other web sites.  I sent out dozens of emails that had the route we wanted to take and how long a trip we were planning.  And I told a bit about how we like to travel and what we wanted in a guide.  

Quite a few answered back that they were not interested in doing an itinerary they had not planned.  

I ended up with 5 replies that sounded good… with two strong front runners.  I sent “regrets” to the others, and sent the 5 a second email with a few more details and some questions.  After receiving the answers, I knew we had a winner.  

Dave and Maureen own and operate their own business.  As I sent emails where they learned a bit about us and our travel style, she sent back emails where we learned about them too.  It didn’t take long to feel very comfortable with them. 

Dave is well versed in the history of Scotland.  Not just names and dates, but the little things that make history come alive.  As he explains, he sets a stage so in your mind’s eye you can see the event unfold. 

He enjoys showing you the beauty of his country.

And sharing its history and culture.  This old town well is appreciated even if he has seen it dozens of times.

As Dave learns your interests, he’s constantly thinking about and watching out for stops he knows you would like.  Like this farmer’s ‘honor stand’.  We stopped here for some fabulous produce rather than going to a grocery store (I was cooking a meal so at a cottage we were staying the night at). 

Shortly after we pulled over to visit with these Clydesdales.  Some of the carrots we’d just gotten went no farther down the road with us!  LOL

And knowing Himself is into fitness and exercising, we stopped to look at this cool town park.  There are about 10 exercise machines next to the children’s playground.  Brilliant!  Mamas can work out while the kids play.  Of course, being guys… he and Himself were soon competing against each other.  “Yeah?  Can you do 10 reps one-handed?” 

And did I mention he looks really good in his kilt?  (Sorry ladies… he’s happily married to his lovely wife!) 

But the poor man just melted when we finally had to go to the grocery store.  (Dave, was the meal at the lighthouse worth the shopping trip?)

However, he was a new man when we hit Scotland’s version of TJ Maxx… known there as TK Maxx!  (See Dave, I told you it was a grand place to shop!)

Two happy TK Maxx shoppers!  Didn’t I tell you he is the BEST guide?!!   
Seriously, going on tour with Dave Cameron was like traveling with an old and dear friend.  We laughed and joked, shared meals and made memories I will cherish always. 
Oh BTW, he is a great folk singer too.  Enjoy this little video clip I took while we were driving along somewhere deep in the northern Highlands.

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