7 Best Scottish Castles Worth Visiting

Scotland has been extremely famous for its natural beauty and breath-taking landscapes. The country has many castles known worldwide. Irrespective of their size or date of formation, these castles are visited by tourists from all over the world. Here, we bring you a list of the seven best Scottish castles that are definitely worth a visit when you go to Scotland.

#1-Edinburgh Castle

This castle has been in the capital of the country since the 11th century. Located high above on a mountain, the castle has a palace, fortress, war memorial and military barracks. It is surely a sight to enjoy and a view that mesmerises your very being. This is the city’s most visited castle and one of the highest rated tourist attractions.

#2-Stirling Castle

Located on a volcanic rock, this castle provides a fantastic view of the countryside and overlooks two battlefields of Scotland that have gone down in history – Bannockburn and Stirling Bridge. Most of Scotland castles are dated from the 15th to 18th century. This castle is number two on the list of best castles worth visiting and surely will make your visit worthwhile.

#3-Urguhart Castle

This is a two-in-one benefit castle. While you enjoy the picturesque view of the castle, it also overlooks the Loch Ness. So you get two wonderful monument views in the price of one!

In addition to this, one can climb the tower house of five stories to enjoy the mystical view. This is one of the largest castles of Scotland and is known for its beauty and vast spread.

#4-Caerlaverock Castle

This is one of the most intricate castles of Scotland from the medieval period. You will find many stone panels, windows and fireplaces carved extremely well and beautifully inside. Though the castle is a little damaged on the outside, the remains indicate that it was grand and royal during its time.

#5-Blair Castle

Situated in Perthshire, Blair Castle is one of the most historic places in Scotland. If you are interested in revisiting the historic times and walking down the beauty of history, this is surely something you must add to your list.

The castle is making history even today as it is home to the last private army remains in Europe. It boasts of over 1,700 artefacts that have been collected over the last 700 years. For history lovers, this is a must visit.

#6-Dunvegan Castle

This is one of the oldest castles of Scotland and is home to the chiefs of Clan MacLeod since the past 800 years. This castle still maintains its historic appeal and is extremely photogenic.

#7-Balmoral Castle

This castle is a private home to the British Royal Family since it was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848. This castle is open for the public from April to July every year. It is said that the queen would spend her summers in the castle along with her family. The beautiful gardens, grounds and ballroom of the castle are open for the public only for four months in the year. If you plan to travel around this time, you can surely add this to your itinerary.

Scotland is widely known for its picturesque landscapes, green lush mountains and the castles that define the country. People who are fans of great architecture, olden days’ lifestyle and enjoy the good old structures that make a mark even today make it a point to visit these remarkable castles. No matter where you go in Scotland, you will find a number of beautiful castles waiting to be explored and enjoyed!

A Dream Holiday to Spain

Spain flag

Spain is often considered to be a paradise for the tourists. Whether you visit the country on your honeymoon or just a plain family vacation, it has something for everyone. Pleasant sun, wonderful beaches and colourful people, this European country can take your breath away.

If you think Spain is just about bustling city life, then you are wrong. This country’s rural towns can lift your heart. There are a wide variety of things that you can do in Spain. In this article, we will give you a brief idea about how you can have a dream holiday in Spain.

Where to Stay?

spain beachIf you are a beach lover, then it makes sense to stay nearby a great beach. Many of Spain’s beaches are awarded by The Blue Flag. It is a prestigious and an international award telling tourists that the beaches that have received this award are one of the best in the world. More than 4,000 beaches across 48 countries have received The Blue Flag.

Every island has its own set of features. Lanzarote has sand of volcano and Menorca has coves. While Majorca is covered with bays, Ibiza has world’s best sunsets. You can choose any one of the islands for your accommodation.

Things to Do

Spain possesses some of the world’s best golf courses. If you are interested in golf, Spain is probably one of the countries where you can play to your heart’s content. Temporary golf memberships are provided by many clubs and golf courses.

The Santander, Son Gaul, and Maspalomas are some of the international golf courses where international tournaments take place. While you will not be allowed to enter the main course, but a glance of these pitches will take your breath away.

Natural Attractions

The Canary Island will surely leave you awestruck. This is a volcanic site and the natural scenes are spectacular. If you visit Tenarif, make sure you make the best use of cable car and see the highest peak that Spain possesses.

Then there is Lanzarote’s Timanfaya National Park. It is believed that this place is one of the few places where you can feel the heat of a volcano. The wetlands of Menorca are equally beautiful. Last but not the least; you should surely witness the Majorca’s Serra de Tramuntana.

Family Attractions

Spain has a lot of beautiful water parks. Whether it’s the Big Bang in Aqualandia, Benidorm or the Mundomar Marine Park, kids will have a ball in these water parks. Other than playing different games and participating in other activities, kids can also play with the sea lions. Pirates Adventure, Majorca is another place that you should not miss. It will give you a true feel of the Wild West.


The Spanish food is famous all over the world. Make sure that you try some authentic Spanish dishes from the local joint. Cava, fino sherry, pardon peppers, Serrano ham are some of the must try items if you are a visitor.

You must drop into Paella. This place is famous for making ice with meat and vegetable and not sea fish. Check out the local restaurants and find out the best dishes. Spanish wine is also pretty cool. Try them with food and you will easily forget the world.

Cost Involved

Typically a week’s holiday will cost you anywhere in the range of €300 to €600. This includes stay and free breakfast. Spain is not the cheapest place in the world. If you are going for a honeymoon or a long vacation, it is advised that you carry cash with you. The cost will go up when you consider other costs such as sightseeing, lunches and dinners, and shopping among other activities. Make sure you have enough back up cash for any contingency. It is advised that you visit Spain during the non-peak season in May and June. This is the time when you will get the best deals on hotels and flight tickets.

Top 10 Tips That Helps In Spending Money Safe Whilst Travelling

There are countless people in the world who like to travel different places of the world either alone or in groups for exploring the beauty of the world as well as for experiencing different kind of adventures that are offered by different places of the world. Travelling has actually become a passion of most of the people that loves exploring the beauty of this most beautiful world. But, travelling is not at all an easy job as it requires a lot of money and the most important thing – time. The people who love to travel different places of the world knows it very well how to manage their time and money. However, a lot of things need to be kept in mind while planning for the traveling. The top 10 tips to keep spending money safe whilst travelling are as following:

Tell the bank:

While stepping down to different places of the world, the visitors must inform their banks that they are stepping down. The last thing that they usually want is their bank freezing their credit. This helps the people a lot in protecting their ID against theft, so that the people can travel different places of the world without any kind of tension.

Find out what the bank does in emergency:

After calling the debit card issuer, the traveler must observe what the bank does in any case of emergency as they need to bring some kind of back up instantly at that time.

Avoid changing currencies:

Usually, the exchange rates are very bad at the US airports. So, the travels must avoid changing their currencies at the US airports.

Get cash at the airport ATM:

Once the person lands his destination, he must get the cash at the airport ATM as in case of any kind of mishap like losing wallet, theft or whatsoever, he would have his cash safe, so that he could stay easily wherever he travels.

Prepare the card debacles:

For avoiding different kind of problems like rejection of the ATM card at different banks of the world or any other issue, people must get their card debacles prepared, so that they do not have to face any kind of inconvenience.

Pay with credit at the hotels:

It is always better for the people to pay with the cash at the hotels or the restaurants, instead of using the credit card.


Get billed with the foreign currency:

The visitors should never let the merchant bill them in dollars. They should always insist the merchant and get billed in the foreign currency for saving their money.

Practice safe ATM:

While travelling abroad, the people should keep their mindset as same as it is in their own country. They should try making the safe ATM practices.

Skip traveler’s check:

For avoiding any kind of additional chargers, people travelling anywhere, any place of the world must try skipping the travelers’ check.

Avoid converting excessive currency:

The visitors must not get excessive currency of their country converted into cash. They should get it converted time to time according to their needs.

Top 5 Things to Do in New York

New York is one of the most dreamed cities of the tourists around the globe. This city possesses numerous sightseeing venues, photographic locations and historical places. With so many options, places and occasions to experience, it is tremendously difficult task to trim down the list of things to do in New York to just top 5 positions. If one is visiting the city for first time, it is most like that he or she will choose the most common sights to visit but it is recommended by the regular tourists that it is more interesting and filling to look for the uniqueness of New York City. The following top 5 things one can do in New York is for the first timers and for the regular tourists as well.
1. It is in interest of most of the tourists to fulfill their craving for the historical Landmarks of any city they are visiting. New York has some historical significance which makes all the Americans proud of their heritage. Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Ellis Island, The Memorial of World Trade Center are the top of these landmarks.


2. With the Top of the Rock Observation Deck which is newly opened on 67th, 69th and 70th floors, 30 Rockefeller Plaza provides extremely impressive views of New York City and going up there can be on the top list of any tourist. Visitors can enjoy the romantic visage of twinkling stars on the sky while mirroring the glistering lights from New York City below.

3. Museums are the attraction point of any city but The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York are exceptionally appealing to the tourists. The former is famous for the ancient sculptures and portraits from early 20th century. The latter is a great venue for photography. Whether you want a picture with Jack Sparrow, Britney spear or one of the famous celebrities whose real looking wax statue is present there, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is the exact place for this.

4. If you are a person of great interest in theaters and music than Radio City Music Hall and Broadway must be the places on your top priorities. Radio City Music Hall is an acute American theater that has captivated travelers since early years of 1930s. On other hand Broadway is one of the top popular theater district on the face of earth. Regular tourists consider it to be a place where without a visit the whole trip to the city is incomplete.
5.) Times Square
Now the most common and seek out place where tourist want to spend their evenings and nights are Time square particularly on New Year eve or Carnegie Hall. Time Square is an overall representative of the city with complete package of excitement, glamour, independence and artistic aura of New York City. While Carnegie Hall with its collection of elegant and delicious restaurants, alluring gift shops and informative museum is said to be national institution.
After visiting all these places or when you have a day when you are unable to get entry to one of the many landmarks of the city, you can equally enjoy a bike ride or simple stroll through Central Park which is totally free of cost.

6 Ways to Keep your Money Safe while Travelling

It is important to keep your money safe while travelling alone or with friends or family. You can easily fall prey to being pick-pocketed, while you are engrossed reading the map or trying to find out a word of a foreign language in the dictionary. Here are some tips, which will help you in keeping the money safe while travelling.

#1-Keep your Money in Different Places

Divide all the valuables like credit/debit cards, passport, and money and store them at different places. While cash can be kept in your pocket, it is advisable to keep the credit/debit card in your bag. This is important because if all your money is at one place for example, in your wallet and it gets stolen, then unfortunately you will be left stranded in an unknown city with no money.

Tip: It is always better to keep cash in the front pocket of your jeans or lowers. It takes a fraction of a second for a thief to slash your back pocket and steal your wallet.

#2-On-body Storage

Having a secret pocket stitched inside your shirt or stashing inside your bra or underwear always lowers the risk of theft. Well, money belts and neck pouches are the classics; these new options are also safe to try. On-body storage is the best option when you have to sleep somewhere that does not have a secure storage place. Make a secret place for you to store money, which goes unnoticed.

Tip: Don’t stash valuables at places where it will become uncomfortable for you to take them out. Fishing for cash inside your underwear might single you out as a tourist or just make people around you uncomfortable.

Keep Change Ready

Try to keep small denominations of money in your front pocket. This helps while buying things like food, souvenirs, small purchases and entry passes. Keeping money of larger denomination means you will attract attention while taking the money out.

Tip: Preferably try and keep money of larger denomination in the pocket underneath your under clothing.

Clean your Wallet

Clean your wallet and try and carry only the essentials like debit/credit cards and your passport. Take out all the excess bills like library cards, business related cards, notes and bills from the wallet. This will help you deal with money transactions faster.

Tip: If the wallet is clean and you have kept everything in place, it will become easier to manage your money.

Travel Light, Use the ATM

If you are travelling in an area where ATMs are easily available then you shouldn’t carry large bills with you in your wallet. Keep small bills and coins to buy essentials, but when it comes to shopping or paying for expensive food, run up to the nearest ATM and withdraw as much money as you want.

Tip: Always take out as much money as is sufficient from the ATM and not more. Taking out more money than necessary means you will have to carry extra bundles of cash around with you.

Use your Credit/Debit Card

Most credit/debit cards are accepted at restaurants and shops. While small bills will help you around travelling, a handy card will help you make purchases for expensive goodies. Designate a place for debit/credit cards so that you know where to keep and find them again.

Tip: While using debit/credit cards, make sure you either destroy the receipt or keep it at a safe place. Many times due to carelessness, people get hold of the confidential information on the receipt and withdraw money out of the debit card or buy things, which get added to your credit card bill.

How much Spending Money should you take on Holiday?

While the summer vacation is merely approaching, it is very normal that you start to think for the amount of money that you need to save for your out of town vacation trip. It is true that a holiday vacation trip with your family, friends and relatives usually need to be properly planned ahead of time. This is to make sure that everything is ready.

According to some experts, one thing that you need to consider when you are planning for a holiday vacation trip particularly out of town trip is the money that you will spend for all the expenses that are associated with your holiday trip. It is very important to make a plan for this kind of event to make sure that your budget will suit with your daily needs.

Most of the Americans who are planning for a holiday vacation trip are expecting that they will spend $1,200 per person. Budgeting must be your top priority. When you budget your money for your holiday vacation, the first thing that you need to consider is your destination. In general, you can bring 7000 pounds to any destination that you prefer to visit.

According to some tourists who usually visit some of the tourist destinations in the world, you can bring 10,000 Euros in your holiday trip but be sure that you will have limitation in spending your money. In order to make sure that your money will be enough until the last day of your holiday vacation, it is very important that you conduct your own research especially when it comes to travel expenses, the tourist destination that you desire to visit & your day to day city tours and food allowance.

Having a list of some of the basic expenses that you will encounter during your holiday vacation must be your top priority to make sure that your money is sufficient and will be spent accurately. In order for you to cope up with this kind of situation, you can browse the web and find some of the tourist destinations that will suit your budget.

There are websites that will provide you with a rough estimate of money that you need to spend whenever you decided to visit a certain place in the world. It is a fact that a holiday vacation trip must be properly planned and set to make sure that everything are in place before the actual date of your trip.

Nowadays, most people are very confused to the money that they need to spend during their holiday vacation. There are also individuals who are afraid that their travel allowance will not be enough for the tourist destination that they preferred to visit. The best solution for this situation is to plan your holiday vacation trip ahead of time and save the money that you will bring during your stay within that place. By doing this, you will not worry about all the expenses that you will encounter. Rest assured that you and your family will enjoy the holiday vacation trip.


Another   Big Conversation

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An Alternative Guide!

Welcome to the streets of London
(and whatever lies above or beneath them!)

These pages contain suggestions for visitors to London which step more or less outside of the usual tourist guides. It is one Londoner’s collection of hints on how to enjoy the city. In addition the pages include links to other useful London resources.

Just in case any of you might get the idea that I am a Londonophile or something – far from it. In fact I can’t wait to move out of the city. But what I do like about London is included in this hotlist of my favourite places and pasttimes which make being in London both more tolerable and more interesting.


Pages last updated on 11th December 1997.


Tawny Owls in Grass Wood

Young Tawny Owls in Grass Wood
1903 Bradford Scientific Association

Whether a member of the RSPB or not, you are warmly invited to come along our local Members’ Group. We aim to further the work of the RSPB, increase your enjoyment of birds and provide a local focus for local Craven and Pendle birders.We hope you will enjoy our programme of indoor meetings and field trips and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

We welcome any ideas about what you might want on the programme or on this web site. You can communicate with us by phone or by email.


Saturday September 24, 2005

Hello dear friends – it may look like I have fallen of the edge of the sometimes flat planet I inhabit but I’m still here, crawling around on my hands and knees trying to find the mousehole which led me into the skirting boards.

I have crossed the great divide between life on Planet Bonkers and Mushugna Acadaemia. The good news is there are days when I get to wear my favourite old checked shirt. Apparently it was my brother’s. Very interesting.

I will be back but not before the pets are fed, the chicken biryani has been collected and the rest. Thanks folks.

Oh, yes – and my comments are Out Of Order too. All soon to be fixed…..

Posted by Coup de Vent at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)


On the Cusp

Tuesday August 16, 2005

Strange times here behind London and the North. Times of change, of reflection, of horrid angst and glimpses of calm. The Daily Headache could have been the title of an alternative blog for quite some time now. However I am about to change jobs and pressing the delete button a thousand times on my pc at work has been most cathartic. I have had the most warm and kind goodbye messages from colleagues and clients. And, after many years of belonging to a great team, I have gone through the process of a leaving do. Next week is pack your bags day. Furthermore I am starting to believe that I will be okay and will rise to the challenge of the new job.

A trip to Shrewsbury for its annual Flower and Vegetable Show was great. I just love the madness of people exhibiting their extra long carrots and extra fat onions with pride. It’s completely barking but has its own aesthetic. I am ready to go in for some wild planting schemes after seeing the show. I hadn’t realised how conservative my decisions about colour have been.

Posted by Coup de Vent at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)


Membership of a Strange Club

Wednesday August 10, 2005

In these strange times of a superficial joined upness – “Londoners”, for example, it is a help to me to find an article on patriotism by George Monbiot » The New Chauvinism.

I don’t hate Britain, and I am not ashamed of my nationality, but I have no idea why I should love this country more than any other. There are some things I like about it and some things I don’t, and the same goes for everywhere else I’ve visited. To become a patriot is to lie to yourself, to tell yourself that whatever good you might perceive abroad, your own country is, on balance, better than the others. It is impossible to reconcile this with either the evidence of your own eyes or a belief in the equality of humankind. 

There was an interesting comment thread in Going Underground a couple of weeks ago after Annie Mole was asked not to photograph the police or the underground station. Her experience got a big reaction with lots of people defending the police. It was as though dissent means antisocial. One point Monbiot doesn’t make strongly enough is the intimidation of free speech. Well, he implies it. But if one of the values “we” want to defend (protect?) is free speech, it sure ain’t coming across at all levels of the government, media and conversation.

Posted by Coup de Vent at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)


Iceland VI

Tuesday August 02, 2005

What happened here? Something built up beneath the surface and then it cracked?

Every bit of the island speaks of volcanic activity.

These surfaces are from this bulge above.

I found this somewhere and while I can’t understand how it applies to the geology of Iceland, it makes perfect sense to me in social terms :

In the first presentation of the section the Icelandic crust and melting processes due to the Iceland plume, D ANIELA KÜHN presented models on dyke – dyke interaction during dyke ascent. She pointed out that dyke propagation beneath a spreading ridge depends both on the external stress field and the stress field produced by previously ascended dykes. The models show that a sheeted dyke complex will be the result of propagating neighbouring dykes under the constraints of an external extensive stress field. Without extension, several dykes will accumulate near to each other following their ascent through the crust and probably result in the formation of a magma chamber.” 

Klausen, M.B. 2001: Thickness distributions of dykes and sheets. 4th International Dyke Conference, June 24-29. Ithala, South Africa.


Posted by Coup de Vent at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)


Iceland V

Thursday July 28, 2005


The photos of the great Icelandic photographer Ragnar Axelsson.

And my travelling companion. My great support through blizzardous conditions!



Posted by Coup de Vent at 07:28 PM | Comments (1)


Post Traumatic Rucksack Disorder

Saturday July 23, 2005

I’m glad I went to London yesterday. I had been in such a bad way the previous evening as a result of a profoundly undermining experience that I hadn’t been sure I was up to working the next day. But I went and I was okay enough.

What P had described was true. London was very subdued. Much quieter. Fewer sirens – as if there had been an informal review of what counts as a priority.

I walked my usual route along the back streets from Kings Cross. I couldn’t pass Russell Square tube. It was cut off by opaque plastic sheeting. There was a strange tent marquee and there was a freestanding blue and red sign “Tescos in Russell Square is now open”. In another small marquee was a wreath in the shape and colours of a red and blue London Underground logo. And a remembrance book. I felt choked. I’m not sure what at. The earnestness of people around me, the shock at something big having happened. I didn’t feel sad about the loss of life. I don’t think I did. I was very upset. But it’s hard to work out what upset is about sometimes when you are still shocked and things are still unclear.

I felt safe enough walking through the streets. When a path is so well trodden and familiar in sights, sound, smell, it assumes a sense of onwardness and getting there. Unless there were to be some massive interuption.

I noticed that there appeared to be no-one sitting upstairs in the buses.

A friend of mine told me a story this week. She said she had been travelling into work on the tube and had become increasingly frightened by a young man who had a rucksck and who was fiddling nervously with his mobile phone. By the time she got to work she felt quite wound up and told a colleague about her experience. He replied “You think you’re nervous?” and proceded to tell her how he had taken his son to school in the city centre that morning by bus (apparently, his son now rushes for seats downstairs instead of the previously preferred upstairs) and there was a young man with a rucksack. The colleague of my friend insisted and insisted that this man open his rucksack and reveal its contents.

I was very aware that I should take my rucksack to the loo with me when I needed to use it on the train. I joked with a bloke also wearing a rucksack while we were waiting for the train to pull into Kings Cross. “Now don’t leave that rucksack lying around anywhere”. We both laughed nervously and he told me that he had heard that some Asian youths in Leeds had been stirring things up by deliberately leaving rucksacks on buses. I bet this isn’t true. An urban rucksack myth. P says so many Asian lads are so disaffected and alienated by a racist, separatist set of societies that she could imagine some might.

Whatever happens next, however all this stuff progresses, the associations with rucksacks will have changed – for a very long time.

About a million years ago now I wrote a piece for Ecotone about my rucksack. It’s current contents include:

My new fountain pen
Black writing book with black elastic to keep it closed
Pills various
“Hope in the dark” by Rebecca Solnit
Ink cartridges
Chewing Gum
Bus tickets
More pills
Sanitary towels
Work papers
Reading glasses
A borderline dead apple
Bottle of water
English Mustard
Pencil sharpener
Pencils (soft)
Emergency glucose for P unopened
A pebble
Phone charger
Earphones for radio in phone

Posted by Coup de Vent at 03:48 PM | Comments (5)


Iceland IV

Thursday July 21, 2005

Swimming in Iceland is quite unlike anywhere I have ever been. It’s not a tourist thing or even a municipal thing. It’s an everyday thing.

But it’s more than that. Pools are part of the local landscape in most towns and villages. The waters are not chlorinated and they are geothermally heated. Meaning, from the earth’s hot springs.

So we went swimming every day, outdoors – there are only outdoor pools. And showered very thoroughly first as per the instructions on the diagrams in the changing rooms.

We had just finished a tour of a most remote peninsula when we came across a swimming pool sign by the road, turned off and drove four kilometres along a dirt track. At the end was this splendid pool by a river, no entrance fee and the attendant, for there was one, supplied excellent coffee at no charge. It was very warm that day and a few people were lying around on sunbeds or in the hot tubs talking and staring.

I floated around for ages wishing I had an underwater camera to capture the amazing patterns in the wavy reflections on the bottom of the pool.

The blue lupins, by the way, were growing everywhere and brought the often barren landscape to life.

Posted by Coup de Vent at 09:49 PM | Comments (1)