Travel Tips & Adventures

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International Travel Planning … on your own … without a net…Part 12

Scotland: Fall 2009

DAY 15






It’s time to hop a golf cart over to the birthplace of golf over 600 years ago, St. Andrews.

Actually, birthplace is not quite accurate. Golf in some form was probably played in another country before it came to Scotland, but hey, Scotland just had a better marketing department!And, it doesn’t hurt when the King starts hitting that little white ball around the links.

And don’t forget to get out of your cart, because at St. Andrews you walk, not ride the 18.
Although the old course at St. Andrews is the most famous, there are actually six other public courses maintained by the St. Andrews Links Trust, including the nine hole Balgove perfect for families, beginners and even children.

But wait, that’s not all!

You say you don’t want to put on a nearly year long waiting list to play the old course? You say it’s too intimidating to play where some of the best golfers in the world have played? Never fear! There are over 40 other golf courses just in the Kingdom of Fife area around St. Andrews. They cater to all skills and geographical variances.

There is even a 9 hole, “old school” hickory-only, Kingarrock, course where you’ll be given original hickory clubs, an original canvas and leather bag with a Spoon, Driving Iron, Mashie, Niblick and a Putter.

A Niblick?? A Mashie? You’re serious … right? Sounds like an order of giblets and mashed potatoes.

Settle down, all you golfers around the world, it’s just a joke! I myself am a golfer … with a sense of humor!

British Golf Museum

Gee, I wonder if there is a Golf Museum in town? And, I wonder if it’s near the Royal & Ancient Club House?

If you like the relatively non-violent sport of golf, and who doesn’t – The British Golf Museum is the consummate look at golf from its inception to current day.

March to October
9.30 – 5.30 Monday – Saturday
10.00 – 5.00 Sunday
November to March
10.00 to 4.00 Monday – Sunday

St. Andrews (Town)

Just like the golf course, this is a walking town. Park you car and hit the pavement, or the beach, or around, or even on the course on Sunday when the old course is closed to golfers.

The following link is a walking/cycling map of the town:

As with many cities and towns in Great Britain and Europe, driving around is not your best bet. Not many parking spots and high prices, if you do find one. St. Andrews has a free Park & Ride bus that shuttles you around town from the free car parks on the west side of town. (Key word, FREE)

University of St. Andrews

The oldest university in Scotland, established in 1413, is actually scattered throughout the town. Although many of the buildings are quite old, the education is 1st class and modern.

New dorms, and a new medical science building are currently in development, or under construction.

There are also other museums, castle and cathedral ruins, walks along the beach and just the chance to soak in the small town (17,000 pop., with another 9,000 students) atmosphere.

Edinburgh – St. Andrews
Distance: 49.8 miles
Time: 1 hr 27 min

If you drive, take the A90 over the Forth Bridge (toll), and connect to the M90. At junction 7, take the A91 to St Andrews.

By Train
Unfortunately, St Andrews does not have its own train station, but it is possible to get off at Leuchars station and go St Andrews by bus. This should take about 10 minutes.

Rosslyn Chapel

Note: We had planned to drop down south of Edinburgh a few miles to see Rosslyn Chapel. This is where the “ending” of the DaVinci Code was filmed, but it is currently under renovation.

The scaffolding that surrounds the building and the metal roof to help dry out the stonework (should be removed by the end of 2009 or early 2010) doesn’t do anything for the chapel’s historic appeal.

The renovation will continue through July 2010. But if you would decide to go, it’s only seven miles south of Edinburgh and a bus runs from the centre of the city.

Note: No photography is allowed within the Chapel (unless you are a movie crew filming a blockbuster film …)

Well, that’s it!

Next stop will be the Edinburgh airport and a shuttle down to Heathrow for a plane back to the United States.

Personally, I could stay another two weeks. Southern Scotland, more of the northern and western islands, and, a few more days in London.


Right now, the pound is continuing to go higher than the dollar compared to when I first started planning this trip. I have seen it go up steadily, although it is currently holding.

The airlines aren’t making life any easier these days either. And, my air carrier of choice (British Airways) is on the brink of stupidity by asking its employees to work for up to a month without pay. Of course the CEO said that he would work a month without pay … That seems apples to apples fair ….

Or, NOT!

If that were to go into effect that should be a fun ride across the pond …

“Excuse me, may I have …” (Deathly glare from Flight Attendant)

“OKAY! I’ll shut up now! It’s only 8 more hours until we land.”

So, I am weighing the pros and cons. We just might be going somewhere else this fall…

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