Scotland Recommended by Lonely Planet for 2014 Travel


Loch Ness With Urquhart Castle in the foreground

Loch Ness With Urquhart Castle in the foreground (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lonely Planet Guides are considered to be the ‘go to’ books for travellers around the world. Not the people who book a package deal, all inclusive, drinks by the pool kind of holiday but people who genuinely want to go somewhere to see beautiful scenery and enjoy the local culture.

For 2014, the Lonely Planet team have suggested Brazil as the number one choice for ‘Best in Travel’…football anyone? Number two is Antartica…who wouldn’t love to go there! In fact, I know a lady who went there when she was in her late seventies and has the photos to prove it. Quite a gal, I can tell you! And in the number three slot, why it’s Bonnie Scotland, where I am currently lucky enough to be living.

Glasgow is hosting the 2014 Commonwealth games and already the city is gearing up for a big party. Further afield, the Ryder cup golf competition is coming home to Gleneagles and of course, Edinburgh is the place to be in August for the Festival or for the Hogmanay celebrations in winter.

Scotland may not have the best weather. Somehow though the rain is almost part of its charm. Nobody could be fooled into believing in the Loch Ness monster on a bright, sunny day; stand at Castle Urquhart on a misty day and gaze out over the loch and you’ll be seeing humps and heads everywhere.

Scotland’s scenery is genuinely breathtaking, from the banks of Loch Lomond to the ancient forests of the Cairngorms National Park, from the grand castles to the Great Glen and on out to the beautiful islands.

2014 will also be Scotland’s “Year of the Homecoming” with events throughout the year to celebrate the great events and culture of this wee nation. It will be the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the iconic Forth Road Bridge celebrates its 50th anniversary not to mention all the usual festivals such as the Highland Games, the Edinburgh Tattoo and the Wickerman Festival.

You can climb Munros (Scottish mountains over three thousand feet) or taste the ‘water of life’ otherwise known as Whisky, try the traditional dish of haggis, neeps and tatties and listen to bagpipe bands. Interestingly, Scotland isn’t the only country where you can hear bagpipes played but there is something very special about hearing the skirl of the pipes outside Edinburgh or Stirling Castles. The Queen is woken every morning of her summer holidays at Balmoral by a bagpiper outside her window.

I love Scotland and I’m sure you will too if you come on a visit in 2014. You can be assured of a great welcome.

Why Nurses in Scotland Deserve to be Praised

So, the last couple of weeks my epilepsy has been playing up. This culminated in a stay in my local hospital in Glasgow for 5 days. It’s an old hospital and is due to be closed but the care I received was amazing. So often we read about what’s wrong with the NHS. The UK national press loves nothing more than to print scare stories about people being left on trolleys, being surrounded by filth or just being badly treated by staff.

I wanted to particularly praise the nurses on the two wards I was on: I started on a receiving ward and then was moved to a general ward. They were unfailingly kind, polite and caring. They made sure that everyone’s privacy was protected at all times.

There were a number of confused, elderly patients on the ward and the nurses were especially kind to them, answering the same question as many times as was necessary to calm the patient.

It was the little things that really counted, taking the time to have a quick word, even though they were rushed off their feet; checking regularly that patient’s were comfortable and helping them to move if they weren’t; ordering something specially from the kitchens if the patient didn’t like the food.

Nurses of Scotland (and Glasgow in particular) I salute you and am so grateful that despite the enormous pressures under which you have to work, you still mange to have smiles on your faces, kindness in your hearts and a strong sense of caring in your souls.