Family Vacation in Scotland: Hub & Spokes Road Trip


Today’s guest post is written byJanet Dieman, AKA The Grammy Who Travels with Kids. Passing a love for travel on to her grandchildren, Janet recently traveled with her family to Scotland. Experiencing a different culture is a challenge, and Janet knows that children are more relaxed if given a feeling of belonging. That’s why she chooses a location and spends a week or two in one place on what she calls a “hub and spokes” style vacation. In other words, the destination “hub” and each day trip becomes a “spoke” in the overall road trip.

Hub & Spokes Road Trip in Scotland

When we travel, we prefer to locate in a small village where we can live with the locals and get to know them. During this trip to Scotland we rented an apartment in Killin, a village of 700 people located in the Trossachs. We arrive with a short list of places to visit and flesh it out with suggestions from locals. Those in the know always add spice to our list.

Scotty Wilson, a re-enactor at Killin’s wee visitor center, provides an in depth look at life long ago. In addition he demonstrates weapons, and explains the filleadh mor, the style of clothing worn from the 13th century to the 19th century. Best of all, he shares lots of suggestions for other places to visit.

Scotty Wilson

Scotty Wilson, photo by Fred Sanborn.

Just up the road in Kenmore is Scotland’s oldest inn (opened in 1564). It’s an ideal place for lunch. The view from the dining room frames a picture perfect setting of the old stone bridge that links the banks of the River Tay. But grandson Foster is more interested in the ducks and swans that live along its shore. His request for leftover bread produced a bag of “duck food” that gave him an hour of pleasure.

Foster feeds the ducks.

Foster feeds the ducks.

Beyond Kenmore is the Scottish Crannog Centre where we learn about life 2,500 years ago. Adjacent to the reconstructed Iron Age crannog is a demonstration center showing ancient crafts, tools, and techniques used by these early people. Hands on activities can easily fill an afternoon.

Learning to make a fire at Crannog Centre.

Learning to make a fire at Crannog Centre.

Just down the road is Doune Castle. It’s often missed by travelers who whiz by on their way to Callander (on our list for another day). But we stop and wander through it imagining life in this massive, stone structure with its secret passage-ways. How much wood is needed for the double fireplace? How could a single fire heat this cathedral-like great hall? How would the heat be distributed? So much to wonder about.

Double fireplace at Doune Castle.

Double fireplace at Doune Castle.

A must do is Highland Games. Our first “games” day was in Aberfeldy on the shore of River Tay. Because it’s a small village, these games focus on involving children in trying the events typically contested by the more accomplished athletes who compete at larger venues. Foster participated in all the events and learned to appreciate the skill required.

Highland Games in Aberfeldy

Highland Games in Aberfeldy

Later we attend a larger “games” day in Lochearnhead where renowned athletes compete for awards and honor, pipers give their best rendition of classical themes, dancers display advanced levels of technical skill, and clan tents welcome visitors interested in learning about Scottish traditions. A quintessential Scottish experience.

Professional athletes at the Highland Games in Lochearnhead

Professional athletes at the Highland Games in Lochearnhead

This is but a wee glimpse of our living history adventure in Scotland. Do give it a go.

About the author:

Janet Dieman’s passions in life are travel…and learning. While exploring these passions, she collects memories and photos. When she combines her passions with her career skills as a teacher, professor, media designer, and creative writer, the result is an irresistible you-are-there magic. To share her joys of travel, she presents armchair travel talks and writes multimedia interactive ebooks for children.

Please visit her website and also leave a comment for her below: www.JanetMcCreaDieman.info

All photos taken by photo by Fred Sanborn.


1 Comment on "Family Vacation in Scotland: Hub & Spokes Road Trip"

  1. Donna Potocki | January 11, 2016 at 8:22 am |

    Ah yes, Janet is a gifted writer and beautifully accomplished person. Her ideas and experiences instantly pull people into her wonderland of travel. Magic, Indeed!

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