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Scottish American Society

Eileen Donan Castle - our SAS'y tour

TRAVEL INFORMATION - tours, warnings, recent journeys of interest.

[Please be aware, we do not necessarily endorse tours described here, only that we have checked and they appear to be legitimate.]


 Crathie Opportunity Holidays www.crathieholidays.org.uk. has 4 self catering cottages which are for weekly or short break rental and are accessible to all but have special facilities for people with disabilities. The holiday cottages have been designed to be easily accessible and specialist equipment such as hoists, portable ramps, alarms and scooters are available to ensure visitors have all they need without facing the hassle and expense of transporting it. The COH ethos is that disabled people should not have to spend any more for a holiday than an able bodied person, so no charge is made for the extra equipment. Our cottages also featured on the Balmoral Castle website although we are completely independent of the Balmoral estate.


For more information on Ed Pearlman tours, click here.

Ed Pearlman Trips to Scotland

Join a Scottish walking guide from CnDO Scotland (35 years experience leading hikes in Scotland) and music guide Ed Pearlman (35 years experience teaching, performing, and 19 years as music columnist for Scottish Life magazine) on an unforgettable walking/music tour of Scotland next summer.  There are 3 to choose from; you'll join a small group of up to 7, plus our 2 guides, staying generally 2 nights in each location, with day hikes and evening private performances by top Scottish musicians.  The three tours are: 
Highlands & Skye (June 24-July 2);
Outer Hebrides (July 6-16, only 2 spaces left on this trip); and Orkney/Shetland (July 26-Aug 7). 
Listeners, musicians, dancers all welcome.  For details, visit www.edpearlman.net/scotland or email Ed at ed@edpearlman.net



My apartments in Glasgow may be of interest to any of your members considering visiting Glasgow or Scotland over the coming months. I have had many guests from the US over the last 8 years and particularly around the time of the World Pipe band Championships.

For more information, you may contact:

Alan Macdonald
M: +44 (0)7703 314428 | P: +44 (0)141 637 5872




Self catering holiday cottage holiday cottage rental located in a stunning setting on the Isle of Skye.  Owners are also in the process of building another beautiful house nearby. If this is of interest, contact them through the following web sites.




Always recommended by us for individual or tour arrangements:
7 Dalmahoy Crescent, Balerno EH14 7DF Scotland
Telephone: +44 (0) 131 449 9500 Fax: +44 (0) 131 449 9501

Scottie recommends this site and that's good enough for me. A good way to book private B&B's for a more authentic visit to Scotland. Click here for the "Private House Stays" web site.

I am a genealogist, living in Ontario, with an expert in Scottish genealogy research. I offer 10 day trips to Scotland to allow people to access the records directly.  I take groups to the repositories in Edinburgh (Scotland's People Centre, The Scottish Genealogy Society, The National Library of Scotland) and in Glasgow (The Mitchell Library - the largest Library in Europe with one full floor dedicated to genealogy research and now a second floor which houses the Genealogy Centre - a repository with full access to all of the records). In addition, I arrange speakers to help those in the tour better understand their scottish research and scottish ancestry. Being from Scotland, I think it is really important for those of British Heritage to gain a greater understanding of who they are as a person. As such, I take the groups to The Scottish Expericence Dinner Show and arrange a full Scottish Banquet in a small country castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh for the final night. There is time for people to travel to the part of Scotland where their ancestors lived. This is not included in the tour price, but I will make all of the arrangements for the individuals as requested. Since travel is not from Ontario, I would suggest that interested participants register for the "Land Only" portion of the tour. 
 groups of 5 or more qualify for a $100 per person discount (this is in addition to the fundraiser donation per participant).
Christine Woodcock
Tour Facilitator
Genealogy Tours of Scotland *

*For Christine Woodcock's newsletter and brochure, click here:

Scottish Genealogy Holidays

Come to Scotland and find your family’s history. While you are here, discover your

ancestral heritage. Genealogy Tours of Scotland provides 10 day genealogy research

holidays at the archives in Scotland.

Your fees provide:

• 9 nights accommodation in the heart of Edinburgh

• 9 breakfasts

• 2 days of assisted research at Scotland’s People Centre in Edinburgh

(home of the GRO)

• 1 evening of assisted research at Scotland’s People Centre

• 2 days of research at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow (Europe’s largest library)

• 1 day of assisted research at the National Library in Edinburgh

• 1 day of assisted research at the Scottish Genealogy Society in Edinburgh

• Dinner at Dalhousie Castle

• An evening of Scottish food and entertainment at the Scottish Show in Edinburgh

• A free weekend to travel to the home of your ancestors

• Transportation to the research facilities and the evening events

Come to Scotland. Search your roots; discover your heritage. You’ll be glad you did.



Christine Woodcock

Tour Facilitator


Royal Mile Edinburgh web page. Click here.

Royalmileedinburgh.com is a visitors guide to Scotlad's most famous
street, and includes all the information needed to research, plan and
enjoy your trip to the Royal Mile. It includes details of Hotels,
Restaurants and visitor attractions as well as practical information
such as the nearest Post Office, Drug Store etc.

Apartments for Rent in Edinburgh
We have a comfortable apartment available for short term holiday lets in Cockburn Street in the Old Town in the heart of Edinburgh, about 5 minutes from both the Castle and Princes Street, the main shopping street.  

Should anyone be planning a trip to Edinburgh and be interested, further information is available from Katie Kerr, Greatbase at    http://www.greatbase.co.uk/

 and she has several other comfortable apartments for rent on the same website.

In the hope that this may be of interest, with many thanks,

Your sincerely,

Harriet Brennan
26 Hampton Park 
Bristol BS6 6LH 
43/3 Cockburn Street
Edinburgh EH1 1BS

Self Catering Cottage Available for Rental
Isle of Skye
Currently there is available a self-catering holiday cottage on the Isle of Skye. With beautiful loch views, Keeper’s Cottage is located in the charming village of Skeabost Bridge, only six miles from Portree. Skeabost Bridge has a country house hotel, a golf course and the best salmon river on Skye.  We would be delighted to accommodate your members at our cottage and would like to draw their attention to our website www.keeperscottage-skye.co.uk

Kind regards, John and Wendy Cowpe.       




Always ask the recommended accommodation and/or travel service if they offer a discount to our members.  Many do offer discounts to our members, but in some cases you have had to be a member for a lengthy period of time.  We have registered most of you so far, but check with us before you contact them
*     *     *     *     *

2010 marked the 20th Anniversary of the STIRLING GHOSTWALK – dramatic guided tours of the spooks and crannies of the foremost of Scotland’s historic Royal Burghs...and, since 2001, it’s newest City.

Starting at the Stirling Old Town Jail, the tour travels through the historic Valley Cemetery, featuring sites as Mar’s Wark, the Stirling Guildhall and Holy Rude Church – all in the shadow of stately Stirling Castle – with actors bringing to life colourful characters and stories from the rich folklore of the Castle Rock, the former favoured seat of the ruling House of Stewart.

Jack Rankin ‘the Happy Hangman’, the Hellfire and Brimstone preacher Blind Alick Lyon (reputed to have vanished on the Holy Rude kirkyard’s Ladies Hill, battling the devil) and the amorous merchant ‘Auld Staney Breeks’ have been delighting boys and ghouls of all ages for two decades.

To celebrate twenty years of ‘Waking the Dead’, we’re offering discounts to guests to local hotels, patrons of Stirling’s museums and galleries - and members of Caledonian Societies, such as yours – throughout 2010.

Should any of your members be visiting Scotland or Stirling, this year, we’d be grateful if you could advise them that they will be guaranteed a 10% discount on our usual ticket price (6 for adults, 4 for children, students and seniors) on production of their membership card (or other accreditation) for your society. A 20-25% discount will be available for pre-booked group parties of ten persons or more.

For further details visit http://www.stirlingghostwalk.com/

Tours run from Tuesday-to-Saturday in the peak of the tourist season, in July and August, starting at 8.30pm – and at 8.00pm every Friday evening throughout the rest of the year.


Scottish Bank Note Warning
One of our members warns that if you are traveling on a mixed European itinerary with an early stop in Scotland or Northern Ireland and later plan to exchange UK pounds outside the UK, make sure you request Bank of England notes to start with.  Scottish notes may not be accepted outside of Scotland. 

To read a detailed explanation by the Bank of Scotland, written to one of our members who encountered the problem while on his way to serve in Afghanistan, please click here.


For information on rental of luxury self-catering apartments for business or pleasure, contact Glasgow City Flats. Click here.

For information on the McQuade Collection of Glasgow Hotels and Apartments, click here:

For information on the GNWS Travel Guide for Scotland, click here:

For information on a beautiful Victorian Villa called the "Belhaven Hotel" conveniently located in North Berwick (east of Edinburgh) click here:

2006 Scottish American Society Tour of Scotland Click here.

Arrangements for the Scottish American Society tour were made through Alex J. Hood of Scottish Highland Trails.  He came to us highly recommended and certainly lived up to our expectations.  Click on the link below for more information on this service.  Alex will now give a 7.5% discount on Scottish travel arrangements made through his firm by registered members of the Scottish American Society.

Scottish Highland Trails

7 Dalmahoy Crescent, Balerno EH14 7DF Scotland
Telephone: +44 (0) 131 449 9500 Fax: +44 (0) 131 449 9501
E-mail: enquiries@highlandtrails.com

Ryanair strikes again:
27 February 2009
"Ryanair’s chief executive said Europe’s largest budget carrier might start charging passengers for using the toilet while flying, but his spokesman cautioned Michael O’Leary often just made things up at will.

“One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound ($1.43) to spend a penny in future,” O’Leary told BBC television.

He said this would not inconvenience passengers traveling without cash. “I don't think there is anybody in history that has got on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound.”


So one more caution, folks.  If you fly Ryanair, use the facility in the airport before boarding.



After now having recently traveled on Ryanair, I can only verify that they are worse than even I had anticipated.  If you are considering them - please make other travel plans.  In mentioning our plans with various folks living in Great Britain the response was uniform - don't do it.  Make other plans.  Pay any price or swim the Irish Sea with your luggage on your back (now there's an image) - but above all - fly by another carrier.  Any other carrier.  Or take the ferry. 

One of my objectives in this section is to help as much as I can with folks who are planning travel primarily throughout the British Isles and Ireland. We recently ran into a travel scam perpetrated by the venerable Ryanair. Since I know many of you have used this airline in the past and so have we, this seems particularly relevant to our readers.  I won't go into great detail here, but I did want you to know that they have a cute little trick they pull. (If you would like to read the specific correspondence, contact me via e-mail and I will happily forward it to you.)

After you make an online booking you must pay for it before they allow you to verify the details. This is, of course, unlike online purchases made through most any reputable firm. If you find a mistake - even if it is instantly recognized - you must pay an additional and exorbitant amount to correct it. We ran into this, unfortunately. We had to use our tickets - they were non-refundable. But I will never again deal with them.

It would have been far cheaper to fly almost any other airline and there are many that fly from Scotland to Ireland and elsewhere. Depending upon your destination, you can check with Aer Lingus, Obodo, Aer Arann, Airborne Direct, Airline Network (British Airways), and Easy Travel. Any of these fly out of more convenient airports than Prestwick (Ryanair only uses this airport) which is not Glasgow, even though they say it is. It's at least an hour south of the city. You have to arrange transportation into Glasgow on your own.

Here's a good web site to check: http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/flights/Dublin/Scotland/

Make no mistake about it, folks, these are not your much adored, laid back, leprechaun loving, Guiness gulping genial Irish. This firm is run by a devious hard bitten businessmen out to make a deceitful profit from the traveling public. Deal with them if you feel you must, but be very aware that you may get taken. It can be well worth paying a little more to travel via a more reputable carrier.



Some people have had extremely unpleasant experiences with overseas tour arrangments.  If you are planning to take a group to Scotland, we suggest you check thoroughly on the reputation of the operators before doing business with them. 

One group you might like to contact is the Clan Cunningham Society of America.  You may e-mail them at query@clancunningham.us