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Craziest/Oddest Thing to See in Scotland?

When we travel, my wife and I are always up for seeing the odd stuff - a Stonehenge replica made of old Cadillacs, the International UFO Museum (which we saw in August - fun!), World's Largest Rocking Chair... that kind of thing.

After much Googling, I was disappointed not to find much in the way of strange/crazy places to see in Scotland. The closest we found is the Dog Suicide Bridge in Dumbarton and the Clootie Well near Inverness.

Anyone have any suggestions?

We have no plans to visit the Outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, or travel south of Glasgow/Edinburgh. Aside from that, anywhere is fair game.

Thanks!

Posted by
47 posts

Atlas Obscura is how I found the Dog Suicide Bridge and the Clootie Well. Nothing else there caught our fancy.

Maybe Scots just aren't as odd as Americans. :)

Posted by
3662 posts

Aye, the Scots are a practical lot with no real need to create roadside attractions. Scotland has plenty of distilleries, wild scenery and ancient places to knock anyone's socks off. Plus there are a few other things you are unlikely to see elsewhere.

Beyond the castles, of which I'm not much of a fan except for the "naked" Doune Castle, I enjoyed the Royal Yacht Britannia. It's not as fancy as you might think and I loved seeing the engine room.

I enjoyed feeding a hairy coo on a Hairy Coo tour. This all day excursion could qualify as a strange/crazy experience.

And you didn't say you wouldn't go to Orkney. Visiting the 5000 year old ruins there was the main reason I went to Scotland last May.

Posted by
47 posts

Lo,

We are going to be there for two weeks in early June. We will be in cities less than a full day. Our main interests are castles, ancient history, cool creatures (the coos are a MUST), and the gorgeous scenery. We'll be on Mull, Skye, Handa Island, wander up to northwest Sutherland, Orkney, then wander down the A9 to Cairngorms and end seeing a bit of Falkirk and Stirling.

We expect to spend our first night in Scotland camping near Tobermory.

Our love of odd places to visit comes from childhood. Both of us grew up with parents who had to drive straight from A to B, ever stopping at all the cool, goofy places kids wanted to see. We vowed to never be like that when we traveled. Over the summer we spent some time in Santa Fe but we made sure we saw the crazy stuff along the way like the International UFO Museum in Roswell, and the Singing Road and Tinkertown just outside Albuquerque.

I don't think we'll make it to the dog suicide bridge but Clootie Well is likely. We're just hoping someone might point us to a few more oddities but I'm hoping we'll stumble into some along the way.

Posted by
5544 posts

This one's pretty weird: try a bottle of Irn Bru (pronounced "Iron Brew"), a neon-orange soda pop that tastes like bubble gum and is exclusive to Scotland, made with a secret recipe for over 100 years now . . . Orange Crush and Fanta are tame by comparison!

Posted by
2532 posts

Irn bru is so popular in Scotland it is the only country in the world where Coca Cola is not the No 1 soda drink, personally I can't stand the stuff.

I will second the medical/surgeon museum in Edinburgh. There is no particular site - but you can research the story of Deacon Brodie and Maggie Dixon. Scotland has some great tales. There is the underground, night tour in Edinburgh. I think it's at or near Mary's close.
Scotland aside - if you ever travel to Florida - visit Solomon's "castle." It is truly a one-of-a kind oddity.

Posted by
5668 posts

You don't need oddities to enjoy Scotland if you are headed north then think about doing the northern route as a driving trip. It is amazing. The most fantastic drive I did was the B869 where I swear the road pavement wound through the rocks that poked up.

Pam

Posted by
47 posts

Pam,

I feel silly now having seen that route I've been planning this for ages and there was a gorgeous route already drawn. Add in a little diversion to Orkney and it is pretty much what I'd planned, except for the Applecross Peninsula. I had planned to take the A896 instead. I read somewhere that a vehicle the size of the one we'll be in (a 6m motorhome) should skip Applecross.

Was I misinformed?

I realize we don't "need" oddities to enjoy Scotland, I'm just curious to know any. :) My wife is an artist and I'm an ecologist. When we travel, the places you suggest are exactly where we want to be - away from cities, among nature, and exploring the history. Crazy/quirky sites are a fun diversion.

Posted by
266 posts

I would say if you have a motorhome and it is foggy, I would avoid the Applecross trip. That said, when we took it on a foggy day, in a small car, we were surprised at the tractor trailers or big rigs going over the hill. Single lane but with numerous turnouts. The road from Gairloch to Applecross was very exciting but we missed all that the Applecross road had to offer on a clear day. One has to look ahead and anticipate when to pull into a turnout.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks Gail!

I'll be happy to add Applecross back in. Looking at the pass on Google Street View it looks like a "don't miss".

Posted by
266 posts

I'll have a look on Goggle Maps! Thanks for the idea. Like I said we were all fogged in except for the last few miles.

Posted by
1277 posts

What, no Loc Ness? i brought back a little ceramic Nessie of 4 segments so it looks like she is emerging from yr table....its the thing guests love to play w and move....it has spent the last month peering into my nativity.
There are also locks....like the kind that fill w water & allow boats to raise to the next level....and the coos. Wish i had been able to feed one......

Posted by
5668 posts

I agree that I wouldn't take the Motorhome to Applecross! It was quite amazing in a compact car, to be honest. We were sharing the road with bicycles as there was a race and it was a bit terrifying at times.

As for interesting things if you're going all the way to Durness then check out the Balnakeil Craft Village. We did not get out to Cape Wrath to my eternal regret. Nor did we go to Schmoo Cave. I'm not sure I missed much there. Maybe you can let me know!

I did find the museum in Bettyhill to be very interesting and the walk around the cleared village site at Strathnaver was very moving. I liked the lunch we had at Tongue and would have liked to stay there longer.