I generally don't do trip reports due to not knowing what to say and how to say it to keep it informative and fun. Unlike a certain Mr. Beebe who knows how to keep a person in stitches. :). I have now been home for a week, so here it goes.
We took two back to back tours Heart of Ireland 8 days then on to Best of Scotland 10 days. I am doing the Scotland first (it was the best one!) There are several factors that make a tour successful - the tour guide, your group of tour buddies and the sites that are included. The weather helps a lot too! To name a few.
First of all... I would like to say that we had an awesome, terrific, passionate, knowledgeable, etc tour guide..... James Macletchie. I cannot say enough how wonderful he made this trip. His passion for his country of Scotland and all the history that he provided to us. If you ever have him for your guide, he will make it a memorable one. Oh, did I say he can also sing too!!
Bus Driver - Marchin was so amazing... He got us in and out of tight spots. We were leaving on Sunday out of Inverness on our way to Oban. The street that the hotel was one was a one way street with cars parked along the river edge. Boy... we all thought, no way, we can't get out of the parking lot without touching those parked cars. Sure enough, we did. His cool temperament and James was exceptional.
Hotels were exceptional.....Edinburgh - Parliament House; Kenmore - Kenmore Hotel; Inverness - Glenmoriston Townhouse; Oban - Glenburnie. The breakfasts at these hotels were wonderful also. Kenmore was kind of quirky, but still nice.
Boy did we luck out of weather.... temperatures were fantastic. Yes a wee bit of rain drops but nothing serious.
Tour buddies - Consisted of 13 couples and 1 single female. There was no groups traveling together. No one knew each other, even with four separate couples from the state of Arizona did not know each other (Phoenix (2), Show Low and Sedona). With one exception, we did know one couple only due to being on the same Heart of Ireland prior to the start of this tour. It was nice that everyone participated in wonderful dinner conversations at our group meals together and no one was left out. Several members have been on several RS tours and others with lots of travel experience on other different tour group or traveling on their own. Most were retired or possibility still working or had part-time jobs. No grumps!! We were always on time and no one lagging behind and making us wait. This is probably one of the best groups I have had on my other RS tours.
Food - Food for our group meals were wonderful. Quite tasty and prepared nicely. I stepped out of my box on food this trip. Kinda of a picky eater. I ventured out and ate Haggis, lamb, venison, salmon, langostino and more.
I will add some more as a comment.