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Thursday, October 2, 2008

An Unusual Wedding or Honeymoon Destination

In 2006, I was lucky enough to get a trip to Britain, my first trip to anywhere in Europe. I had a free flight and chose to go to the traditional home of the Royal Stewart family, the Isle of Bute, an island in the Firth of Clyde at the base of the romantic Highlands. I did Highland Dancing in my youth and, my grandmother being born in Glasgow, I wanted to visit my heritage. I was writing a book that's partly set on Bute, so was avid to research the place. Avoiding the hotels, I found a 220 year old pub with uneven stairs, friendly locals and great meals, and stayed.

It was April. It was freezing for this warm-blooded Aussie. But it was fascinating. From its lovely bay harbour to the high hills, to the ruins of the Stewart Castle, Rothesay Castle, to Pictish forts and standing stones to churches apparently built by St Ninian and Blane in the sixth centuries, I was out from morning to night. I loved the low stone fences and moss-covered rocks on farms. I adored the old people who could walk when I wimpishly took the bus. But I did tackle the "Mull of Kintyre" - the mist blown in by howling winds in April - and stinging rain on a few occasions, even though I thought my nose would fall off from the cold! Fortunately there's an excellent bus system that takes you almost anywhere. I'm sure the drivers and locals were dying to know what I was doing, scribbling in my notepad and taking the weirdest pictures...

The history of Bute is amazing, and the stately homes built by lords hundreds of years ago still stand today. The history of the Stewart family (the current Marquess of Bute, a descendant of the Stewart that was Prime Minister of Britain in the 18th century, still has a home there, Mountstuart). Almost everywhere you have that sense of ancientness, of a rugged and timeless beauty, and a feeling that life will go at its own pace.

So...why a wedding or honeymoon destination? Well, I think Bute has some fantastic locations to get married. There are historic castles, magnificient mansions or even some ancient standing stones that date to pre-Christian times. Summer is your best time - it doesn't get much above 20 degrees Celsius there (70 degrees Fahrenheit), but if you're a history buff, to have a wedding setting you and your guests will never forget, or just want time to stand still on your honeymoon, I'd thoroughly recommend the Isle of Bute.



Blogger Gail Fuller said...

Rothesay Castle looks so familiar. I'll have to ask my hubby if we stopped there when we visited Scotland. OMGosh, intermittent senility is a terrible thing. LOL! Visiting historical places is such a treat as I always think about the people who had walked the same steps.

Gail :)

October 2, 2008 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

It look so beautiful there! And since I'm not a fan of summer anyway......*G* One of these years I WILL get to visit another country. I hope. *G*

October 2, 2008 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

Me too, Gail...I imagine the generations of Stewarts holed up there against English attack, the other border lords...jumping the low stone walls...the Picts and Celts in those crumbling fortresses...

It is beautiful, Brandy, and I definitely want to return - but if I return I go in full summer. It's fr-r-r-reezing there any other time!


October 2, 2008 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Eleni Konstantine said...

Yes definitely summer Melissa. Brrrr....

It indeed looks like a wonderful destination.
E :)

October 5, 2008 at 2:40 AM  

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