Our last stop during our time in Scotland was in the legendary St. Andrews. In the past couple of years, Michael has gotten really into golf so when we decided to go to Scotland, visiting St. Andrews was a no-brainer. Walking the Old Course was Michael's one big request for the trip so we immediately booked the tickets and incorporated it into our planning.
Deciding to tour St. Andrews Old Course was such a no-brainer that we simply booked the tour without really thinking through the ramifications of the booking - how far is St. Andrews from the previous location? When do we have to drop off our rental car, since this is our last full day in-country? How much time will we have in the town? All we knew was that we were going to tour the course, and we were going to make it happen.
Well, we toured the course, but due to the planning of the rest of the trip, we couldn't stay long in St. Andrews, to our immediate disappointment upon arrival. We shopped around in the golf stores a little and ate lunch at a super neat bar in the Dunvegan Hotel just around the corner from the course. Just from being in the town center I knew that St. Andrews would be a neat place to explore. The architecture was gorgeous, the surrounding beaches were unique & absolutely stunning, and the shops & hotels look so quintessentially Scottish. Of course we were sad that we didn't have too much time in the town, but we focused on the positive and explored the area we had come to see: the Old Course.
The Old Course itself is a links-style course, meaning it's straight down nine and straight back the same nine, with two holes on every green. The unique thing about this course is that the town is literally right on it. We were walking the streets of St. Andrews and stumbled right onto the course. There is even a road going right through the first fairway and women with strollers & children were casually walking through with players golfing simultaneously. Cars could pass through various areas of the course where these small roads were located. We were so surprised by the casualness of the course and how locals interacted with it.
We booked the actual tour through the course itself and it was very affordable. It was supposed to last around an hour but our guide was talkative (which was a good thing, we learned so much!) that the tour lasted almost two hours. We stopped at the famed bridge, learned about the history of the course & its relation to the region, different clubs associated with the area, and so much more. I think Michael was in seventh heaven.
Our adventure to and from St. Andrews was just that - an adventure. We got a little lost because we had to stop for gas, and gas stations are a far rarer commodity in Scotland than they are here. After hunting for a gas station, we then had to look for an ATM, which again led to some confusion in directions. However, getting lost worked in our favor as we quickly realized we were lost in Cairngorms National Park, one of the most scenic drives in all of Scotland.
Like we did in Glencoe, we stopped for multiple photo ops and took a ton of videos on our GoPro. It was so cool driving the small, winding roads of the Cairngorms, and seeing the ski resorts in the dead of summer, snowless and abandoned. We drove in a frenzy from St. Andrews to Edinburgh, where we dropped off our car at the rental and got a cab to our next destination where we rested up for the flight home.
People often ask me what my favorite place I've traveled to is, and before this trip I never really had an answer, but this country left such a profound impact on me that it's officially my number one. I love going back and looking at photos from the trip. Just last night Michael & I were sitting on the couch looking through pictures he had taken that we had forgotten about, and wondering when we would get the chance to go back.
Hi, I'm Madeline
Blogger, teacher, writer, traveler, reader. Welcome to Mad's Muses!
On My Mind