October 15th - 17th, 2003
Wednesday morning we left the house early in the morning for a 9 am flight to Edinburgh. Once in Edinburgh, we jumped on a group bus to the Gleneagles Hotel. This hotel is a golf type resort an hour north of Edinburgh. We didn't pick it at random, in fact Dave had a conference there through Friday. I was really excited about going because I heard so much about it from other people. It really was an amazing place! The landscape in that area of Scotland is beautiful and the hotel was really fancy. Looking out the window of the bus, I couldn't wait to get there!
This is the front and back of the Gleneagles Hotel...
the red on the back picture are vines growing up the walls.
After lunch at the hotel, the conference kicked off with it's
first meeting and ran upstairs to put on some walking clothes.
This was the first time I saw the room, so I took a couple of
pictures before it got too messy.
I had picked up a leaflet which detailed several trails around
the hotel area. I chose the 3 mile trail which skirted around
the golf course. The golf course was extremely well manicured
with natural areas enhancing the beauty.
Arriving back at the hotel, I spent a little time walking
around the grounds. Gleneagles has numerous other activities
besides golf. They have a school of falconry, spa, clay pigeon
shooting, archery, three swimming pools, and whisky tasting.
I was lucky enough to see one of the employees out exercising
a falcon that day!
In the evening, the conference sponsored a Sumo wrestling game.
They had two sets of people lined up to start the wrestling and then
anyone out of the crowd could volunteer for subsequent games. It
was pretty amusing to watch the battle strategies! Some just ran
at each other top speed across the mat. A couple of guys ran around
in cirles, trying to push each other from behind. Not a good idea
to sit on the ground in front of the mat.... a few people were almost
On Thursday afternoon the group got a little free time from the
conference to do an activity of choice. For the group that chose
falconry, they assembled in the hotel entryway. I hung out and
took a couple of pictures. I also signed up for a falconry class,
but on my own since I wasn't part of the conference. This bird is
a Golden Eagle (much bigger then the falcon I took out).
And YES she is a real live bird!
First we took the falcon out and practiced releasing and getting it to come back to me. Of course, the secret to make the bird come back is a little bit of meat on my glove. After we got that down, we headed off across the lawn with the bird following us from tree to tree. The type of falcon we took out enjoys hunting in packs, so it doesn't mind flying along the trees with us. In the old days these birds were used to help with hunting. Basically, the noise of the humans would scare out little animals like rabbits and the bird would swoop down from the tree to catch it. We had a rabbit skin dummy with a little meat on a string and he demonstrated how the bird would attack. They also have excursions where you go out for a half day with the bird on a real hunting trip. Due to the cost and lack of time, I didn't do this excursion.
Trying the falconry was a great experience. I think I actually got a little better deal because I was one on one with the instructor. Just about everybody at the hotel was with the conference, so when they were in meetings I had free run of the grounds!
That afternoon I tried out the swimming pools. There was one cold lap pool (just tried my toe in the water -way too cold). The second pool was lightly heated, which was just perfect. The third was basically a large hottub outdoors. I should have taken a picture of the pools, they were setup with a tropical theme.
I arrived back at the room just in time to see Dave all dressed for
dinner. The conference dinner was a black tie affair, which means
kilts in Scotland!
Friday morning I decided to be more girly and went for a massage
at the spa. Then I meandered around the grounds and read my book
until lunch time.
The conference ended after lunch on Friday, so Dave and I had time to play. To the side of the hotel, they had a minature golf course to learn on. We got a couple of clubs and setout to play. We were pretty amusing I'm sure, but we had a lot of fun!
For the weekend, we left the hotel for a B&B in Auchterarder, Scotland.
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Click here to see Auchterarder!!!
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