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Goodbye Gleneagles, hello Hotel Balmoral Edinburgh

We were all sad to leave the luxurious Gleneagles.

No wonder it hosts so many events.

In fact the Head of Events Charlotte is the niece of a friend of Bob Tickler and when we met her she explained that security – including detailed vetting of herself – was a vital feature of putting on any event of a political nature.

In the last morning I had a swim with Daffers.

There are 3 pools and the one we chose had a jacuzzi and sauna too.

A nice touch there was not only iced water but iced water with fresh lemon.

The breakfast too is superb.

I enjoy the Scottish porridge with Drambuie and raspberry compote.

The raspberry picking season is here and Scotland is famous for the quality of its raspberries.

A hotel car took us from Gleneagles to Edinburgh through the picturesque Loch of Leven.

The driver Chris had aspirations of a golfer, his handicap was + 2.

He exemplified the Marcel Proust observation that most people in life end up doing as a career what they do second best.

Still, Chris seemed happy enough as a driver and having the opportunity to meet some of the golfing Gods.

Ernie Els is staying at Gleneagles for the Seniors Open.

Pargie explained that golf is one of the hardest sports to break into. Every year 2000 golf assistants play an apprentices tournament and probably of those only 3 will make the European Tour and one a living.

Chris explained further that most of the golfers in the Senior Open stay, not at Gleneagles, but the Travel Lodge.

The Balmoral Hotel is well positioned at 1 Princes St. overlooking Waverley station.

It’s a Rocco Forte Hotel and bears its corporate emblem.

Charles Forte was one of the legendary hoteliers and son Rocco Forte has an impressive portfolio of hotels – the most famous being Browns in Albemarle St. Mayfair.

The Balmoral emphasises its Caledonian heritage as the male staff on the door and in the whisky bar wear the kilt.

At the bar where we stopped for a tincture they offered a MacLellan malt for £700.

Caledonian heritage is very much the theme of the Scottish National Gallery that we visited in the late afternoon.

Personally I find Scottish art too sentimental and second rate.

Alice can elaborate further but I concentrated on the Dutch and French art in the collection.

Thus promotion of all things Scottish is both a strength and weakness.

It’s a strength as it shows cultural and national resilience but a weakness as – if there is as referendum on October 23rd as seems likely – and a vote to break away, how will Scotland go alone?

The EU – conscious of demands for separation from Catalunya, Corsica and Bavaria – are unlikely to accede to their request.

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About Nancy Bright-Thompson

A widely-respected travel editor, Nancy is a past president of the Guild of Travel Writers (GTW). She and her husband Phil now run a horse sanctuary in East Sussex. More Posts