John MacDonald | Scotland | April, 2023

John and Bev originally booked a trip to Scotland with a couple of their friends back in 2020. Like many others, the pandemic put a pin in their plans until they were finally able to embark on their trip this past April 2023. Their hope was to experience Scotland as tourists while uncovering their family roots. Towards the end of their trip, John ended up locating and visiting his family graves, making it a trip he would never forget.




John McDonald

Who was your travel expert?


How would you rate your trip?

5 stars

How were your accommodations?

Great. The people we met, the food, the scenery.

Did everything go smoothly with your transportation?

Yes. Nice car although the rental company charged us a lot of extra money. Ferry transport worked out well.

What tours, attractions, or activities did you particularly enjoy?

Lewis-Harris was very interesting. My castle, (McDonald) was great. Really enjoyed Oban.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

I found my family grave in Galashiels. Great day.

Would you travel with us again?

Yes. I will send an email to Ann with some suggestions, but all and all it was great!


All our flights went well except British Airways cancelled our out going leg from Edinburgh the day before we were leaving, but set us up on the next flight so we made all of our connections. Getting out of the airport was pretty easy and also getting to Pitlochry. Nice B&B and a nice crisp morning walk around town and along the river.

The next place, Culloden House was hard to find, went around the traffic circle about 10 times trying to find the right road, finally asked at a gas station, real nice people, they got us close and we stopped at the battlefield and they circled on the map where it was. What a beautiful place and great food. We brought the chef out the second night. Drove to Loch Ness the next day

We had gotten a French Citreon car, everything was in French and Kilometers. By the third day I got it all changed to English and mph. Then I discovered it had a built in GPS, good thing we didn’t pay for one. We still used a map most of the time but it came in handy coming into towns and really important when we entered Edinburgh.

Trip to Lewis/Harris went well. Timing on the road was good. Nice B&B

Cool Na Mara owners were nice and we could see why they won the Best B&B Breakfast award, awesome breakfasts. On Easter Sunday they prepared a pair of platters, one all different smoked fish and spreads and a Scottish cheese platter. They usually want a week or two notice to do it, but it was Easter and everything was closed so they offered it to us. I was real good, $50 per platter. Drove the whole Lewis end the first day, then the Harris end before the ferry the second.

Ferry went well and drive to Portree. We got reservations at the hotel’s restaurant ahead of time. You were right, get reservations. Almost always we emailed ahead for reservations and without them we would not have gotten in.

Drove the southern loop road the next day. Then visited the McDonald Clan Castle, Armadale Castle. The castle is partly ruined but they had a real nice museum of the McDonald Clan.

On to Ft. William. Ate at the Tavern, lots of fun. Train trip was fun also.

On to Oban. Reservations at Ee-usk. Excellent seafood, one of the best in Oban, ate there both nights, such a good menu. We did not take the ferry to Mull. The return time was too late, 7:30 (we tried to change the return time but all ferries were booked) anyway we needed a break from driving everyday. Oban was our favorite city. We walked around all day and had a real good time. Good shopping there also.

June who owns the Heatherfield House was a hoot and very talkative and funny, we had a lot of fun with her.

One of our favorite hosts.

On to Edinburgh. Without the GPS it would have been almost impossible to find the hotel. The GPS led us right there. Great being in the old part of town, ate both dinners close to the hotel.

Turning the car in was tough. Myron and I dropped Bev and Sue off at the hotel the proceeded to Waverly Station. A guy came out of no where and checked us in, then we hiked back to the hotel, not too far.

Finally on the last day Myron and Sue went to the Castle and walked all around town. Bev and I took a 52 min. train ride to Galashiels south of Edinburgh to find the graves of my family. Found one cab there and he was a great guy. He took us to the one graveyard that I knew had 16 McDonalds listed. He came back 1.5 hours later to pick us up. It was large but we covered at least 3/4 of it. Right near the end I found the grave with all the family names listed. A great last day.

Thanks, John & Bev