The road frequently traveled – – –

Jack has a good excuse for being late – – –

The gift I received during my last small group tour of Scotland was Covid 19. It was inevitable as everyone else in the bus also got it – I was just last.

I tested positive on Friday evening at our final hotel and again Wednesday morning after arriving home. So I probably infected a few other people along the way (I had hoped it would be gone before I traveled).

But everyone was vaccinated so for most folk the symptoms were relatively mild. I have a persistent dry cough and a lack of energy plus unpredictable diarrhea for instance,

Thanks to Kirk for the picture of us leaving Orkney, with Stromness in the background.

The tour was very enjoyable despite the above, the weather was surprisingly cooperative and the group jelled really well (most had been before but not necessarily on the same years). We had our youngest member this time – When Joe and Amy were last on the tour they announced their engagement, this time they had their four year old daughter Karis along. She was a delight and stole everyone’s heart.T

This tour should have happened in 2020 but Covid got in the way, so it was interesting to see what had changed in Scotland since 2019.

Some hotels we’ve used in the past are closed – partly because of Covid but also because Brexit removed their mainly European staff. Those that kept going are struggling to get staff and that was very evident in the dining rooms. Some couldn’t even provide dinners. Prices in shops are much higher now and diesel for our minivan was astronomic.

I’ve had a lot of fun running the tours over the last 14 years but it always involves a deal of work and stress and I’m not getting any younger, so it was time to stop.

And now I’m almost back to normal – – –

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