Last year I had the pleasure of taking Sue Dietz from Florida and her Grandson Taylor on a three day trip to Wigtownshire. This is where I spent the first few years of my life so famiiar territory for me. This morning I received this email from Sue which was lovely to have:
“In mid July I took my grandson to visit his ancestral homeland, Wigtown, Wigtownshire, Scotland. It was my desire that he experience travel, as I have, and what a wonderful place to do so. This was the first trip I planned myself and I was nervous about choices concerning tours and guides. I happened across Scottish Ancestral Tours/www.scottishancestor.co.uk and was in contact with Frances Black. She answered questions and was willing to both pick us up at Edinburgh airport and return us to Edinburgh for the last leg of our journey. Her price was quite appealing by comparison.
We were delayed a bit in the airport for bathroom, luggage, and exchanging money. I wondered if our guide would be waiting. Yes, she was. With a sign. I was relieved!
Frances drove towards Wigtown pointing out interesting facts and sites along the way. I did not want to drive in a foreign country on the opposite side of the road to what I am used to, nor would I allow grandson to drive since he had only recently gotten his license. We stopped for lunch at the Elphinstone Hotel in Biggar. I chose the fish chowder – Cullen Skink – which contained smoked haddock. OMGosh was it delicious. I must say it was the best of the trip and indeed I had other fish chowders to compare to.
I went to Scotland to see Scotland, not just the highlights, all the historic places. I wanted to see the landscape and the ever present seas, to mingle with the locals and enjoy what they live each day.
Frances deposited us at our bed and breakfast and returned for us next morning. We drove to Whithorn, near St. Ninians, by the former Bladnoch Distillery, to the ruins of Sorbie, to Garliestown. We lunched at the Steam Pocket Inn where I had more Cullen Skink. Afterwards we walked along the water where the tide was out. On a stop by the sea we saw ferries on the other side coming and going out as I imagined our Scots and Scots-Irish ancestors had.
We relished the sheep, more sheep than we shall see in a lifetime. Frances told us what the colors on their rumps and sides meant. She was always ready with a reply. We noted the stones everywhere among the fields, many used to build homes and walls to divide the land, to keep those sheep in. The air was fresh. Everywhere, it was clean.
Most of all, I delighted in the feeling that I was home. The low mountains reminded me so much of the ones in Virginia and West Virginia where our Scots and Scots-Irish had settled three hundred years and more prior. Though I had read ages before that folks settled where it often seemed like their former home, I could now feel why.
On our return to Edinburgh Frances stopped at a fabulous outlet that had everything, including lunch. I needn’t have been concerned about finding souvenirs. No, not souvenirs but treasures.
Our journey with Frances ended within a look at Edinburg castle which she insisted we should see. We did. We spent hours before heading to our room for the night.
Frances gave me more than I expected, for she gave me Scotland. I’d love to visit and have her do it again!”