Duncan arrived promptly at 9am at our hotel in Aberdeen to whisk me away. He was not wearing a kilt. I was not sure if I should be disappointed or relieved.
With Hubby scheduled to be in meetings the whole day and evening, I had done some research back in Calgary about the best way to see the city and the surrounding countryside known as Aberdeenshire.
The hotel advised there was no such thing as an Aberdeen city tour and suggested I rent a car and drive myself about. Let’s see….. I will arrive in your country the evening before, be seven time zones ahead and then I will rent a car with a steering wheel on the opposite side of the vehicle and proceed to drive on the opposite side of the road.
For the safety of the people of Scotland thank you so much but that sounds like a very bad idea.
So what about a guide or some kind of group tour in Scotland? To those I asked the general response was “Well there’s not much to see in Aberdeen. Just a lot of old granite buildings.”
“Rubbish” I thought. There are always surprises to be found anywhere you travel.
Not to be deterred I discovered a registered guides society in the area. For the mere price of 400 pounds per day they could be hired to take me about the countryside.
I don’t know if you have recently checked the Canadian exchange rate but that price tag would likely pay for a new set of tires and a year of oil changes for the guide for what must be the most spectacular day on the planet. I just couldn’t do it.
My pal Google and I set about to find other option and behold I came across Duncan who had a taxi service and also did tours. Less than half the price! Brilliant.
Now I love a bargain but I did have Hubby meet my date before we left, just in case the castle visits were to include confinement and medieval torture it might be good for someone to have set eyes on my abductor and his getaway vehicle.
Duncan turned out to be several inches shorter than I, had a bad back and although I am no spring chicken, let’s say his vintage was a bit more than mine. Hubby gave me a wink and off I went on my date.
Never, ever be fooled by appearances. Duncan although not interested in putting me in a dungeon, was intent on running me ragged and ensuring that I would be the most satisfied tourist in all the shire, and definitely the most exhausted.
For ten hours Duncan drove and told me tales of the area. His strategy would be to stop at any sightings of sheep, standing stones, castles, fishing villages, seals, cliffs, distilleries and then send me off on foot for a great photo. After my running around a castle, through a field, on the beach, to the edge of a cliff (Are you getting the theme of the day?) Duncan would turn the van around and I would hop back in huffing and puffing.
Each time the fatherly instructions with his Scottish accent. ” Now Suuuueeee. Be careful of the cars and remember to look both ways.” I might have been offended but after almost being run over the previous evening in Aberdeen I humbly took the advice.
Have you ever got more than you bargained for with a guide? Or do you prefer to do your own exploring?
Map courtesy Aberdeenshire Council