Since we are all giving Durttbeag advice on what to do in Scotland, I thought a thread on the general topic would be appropriate. What have been your favorite places or experiences in Scotland? This is a whisky forum, of course, so naturally whisky-related experiences should take priority. But I hope the powers that be will allow us a bit of digression here. After all, if one makes the pilgrimage, one will be enriched by a broad experience, even if the focus is on whisky.
I've been fortunate to travel all around Scotland, and there are many places that hold warm spots in my heart. Edinburgh, Islay, Skye, the Outer Hebrides, the entire northwest coast come immediately to mind. But my favorite place by far is Orkney. It's a magical place, with so many marvelous archeological sites that you can't turn around without tripping over one. Chambered tombs, stone circles, and brochs are the order of the day. Highland Park does an excellent tour, and is reasonably picturesque, given that it sits within the town of Kirkwall; it's actually on a hill overlooking town. Kirkwall has numerous interesting sites to visit, including the stunning St. Magnus Cathedral and the ruins of the Earl's and Bishop's Palaces; there are also several good pubs, notably the Bothy Bar at the Albert Hotel. But I usually base myself in Stromness, which has more of that northern isle Scottish/Norwegian charm. The best pub there is probably the one in the Stromness Hotel, which has a special malt bar adjoining, with a substantial number of interesting bottles. Another great place to stay, eat, and drink is the Cleaton House on Westray. There is less of archeological interest on Westray, but there are some nice walks, particularly the west Westray walk, five miles along the cliffs on that side of the island. All three of these pubs serve excellent Orkney Brewery ales, as well as at least a reasonable array of malts.
I could go on for a while...suffice it to say that I would recommend a trip to Orkney to anyone. You could see a lot in a couple of days, but stay at least three or four if you can. You wouldn't be bored if you stayed a week or more. There is some extra time and expense involved in getting there, but it's worth it.
http://www.orkneyjar.com/ (excellent site dealing with Orkney's archeology and heritage)
So...for the benefit of Durttbeag and anyone else who is thinking of going...what's your favorite Scotland?