Trips 7 & 8 (of Twelve) – My Summer Travels in 2019

Thea's Summer Travels Castle Stalker & Trump Turnberry - Summer Trips 2019

My Summer Travels in 2019 – Trips 7 & 8

Thea's Summer Travels in Scotland 2019

For a somewhat quietish summertime, I seem to have gotten behind due to my summer travels…So I’ll fill you in on my recent trips, in Scotland, now.

The good news is that I have been traveling every month – just as I set out to do back at the beginning of the year. Really these posts are probably more for me than anyone else – to reflect back on this year of travel. I’ll aim to add some pretty pictures so it’s not a complete waste of your perusal…(Note: there are Amazon affiliate links to some of my journals and products).

Be warned – this was typed very fast and not proofed – so expect some mistakes along the way.


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July’s Trips – Were Several

It was my birthday in July – so I went to Helensburgh on the West Coast of Scotland for a night away in nearby Rhu.

Enjoyed a lovely lunch al fresco followed by a wee scenic route back to the hotel (thanks John C).

After John dropped me back to my hotel, then Joy came along to provide a bit of pampering – new eyebrows and lashes tinted and a massage too.  Once she headed out to a gig in Paisley, I enjoyed a spot of dinner and walk to the nearby marina where I took this shot that ended up on one of my journals.

Rhu Marina

The next day I was back to work with my dear client Angela who is a queen of Scottish tartan and tweed jackets (especially for women). She owns Royal and Plaid and she’s fab.

Since it was my birthday, I treated myself to a few jackets which I look forward to wearing once the weather provides a bit more chill to the air.

2 Journals - My Scotland Travels - 5x8 Made for Friends - Available on Amazon now

Sightseeing with Friends

The next day an ole elementary school friend, Kim, flew into Edinburgh with her daughter and I got to play tour guide. I  took a buss from Buchanan Street and met them off the airplane. I showed up with a Welcome sign (made in Canva, of course) and two new travel journals for them to write their notes in.

From EDI I escorted them into Edinburgh. They were staying at a posh, five star hotel near Waverley, whilst I stayed at the other end of Prince’s Street in more modest accommodation.

Edinburgh Castle from Princes Street at Sunset in July 2019 - by Thea Newcomb

It was fun showing them around Edinburgh, and talking about some of my fave spots in the capital. Weather was mostly fine and dry.  Naturally they loved the city.

Well, duh, what American wouldn’t?

At the end of the day, I hopped another bus back to Glasgow. (It should be noted that I never do buses or at least rarely. Usually only to Paisley to deliver workshops…It ended up taking me two hours to get from their hotel back to my home, so we can file that one under “never again”. Should have just taken the train.)

The next afternoon I picked up the rental car and got ready for a quick highland jaunt with my Californian visitors.

I’d convinced them it would be worthwhile staying a night somewhere up in the Highlands and we so opted for Oban – right at the Pier.

So picking them up at Queen Street on the Friday morning, we headed to Loch Lomond.

We ended up spending over an hour in a traffic jam near the Bowling roundabout due to a horrific accident. Eventually we got to Luss, had a wander, some lunch and took some photos on the pier.

From Luss it was up to the Green Welly for a browse and a pit stop and browse. After Tyndrum, it was north to Glencoe Village Cafe to meet a fellow KDP-er the lovely Leeane!  That was a lovely flying visit and I vowed to return to spend more time with her very soon.

Summer Travels - Kim takes a pic on way to Glencoe

Around dinner time, we headed southwest toward Oban – stopping for several shots of Castle Stalker. It ranks as one of my favourite castles in Scotland. (It also ended up on one of my Scottish Travel notebooks).

Above Oban from McCaig's Tower

Onto Oban

We eventually arrived at lovely Oban and were truly famished by this point. Sadly Eusk was all booked up for dinner, so we ate next door at the pizza place.

We had a great view over the water but were all too exhausted to even see straight. It was early to bed for us after that.

In the morning, on the way out of Oban we stopped at McCaig’s Tower for some photo ops.

Incidentally I’m looking forward to return to Oban soon to deliver the Canva workshop in November….See Business Gateway for details if you’re near…

Clachan Bridge, aka the Bridge Over the Atlantic in Scotalnd Near Oban by Thea

On the way down the road back to Glasgow, we made a wee detour to the “Bridge Over the Atlantic”.

I’ve been there several times now, and it never serves to disappoint. It’s too cute. Check out this drone video of it….

Continuing down the road we stopped for lunch at Inverarary, (the George which is always fabulous) and the Rest and Be Thankful too.

We made it back in time to return the car before they shut and I drove them to the train station and off they went. I guess that was enough Thea time…

August Trip – My Summer Travels Continued

Well, it’s a bit of a cheat to be honest with you, but I returned to Aberdour to the Woodside Hotel (which has become a sort of home away from home in 2019). My East Coast home as it were.  I always enjoy a bit of time up there. It’s a quaint village, the people are nice and I like the beach too!

The day after my stay, I attended an Amazon Academy event in Dunfermline. It was not the best of events, as in I didn’t get much out of it, but it was interesting to see the giant warehouse which is the equivalent of something like 17 football pitches (or is it 31?)

Whatever. It was massive.

As I’d already been there previously, I didn’t feel I could use a place for my challenge for a second time. So not counting Aberdour, I welcomed an opportunity for another break.

As luck would have it, I got the invite to the Ayrshire Business Women’s 25th Anniversary celebration at Trump Turnberry – it seemed only right to make a night of it.

Now of course a night a the luxury resort was out of the question (beyond my means), so I chose a farmhouse not too far away, near Daily.

Summer Travels Ayrshire Farmhouse near Daily, Girvan South Ayrshire

Once the Ayrshire Business Women’s event ended, I headed to check in and then straight back out to the beach at Girvan. It was a glorious sunny as I wandered along the beach…water lapping around my toes…

Eventually I grew tired and nipped around the corner to the Small Fries chippy on the main road.

By the time I drove back around to the harbour to eat my supper, the fog was so thick, not only could I not see Ailsa Craig anymore, I couldn’t even see the white lighthouse type structure at the end of the harbour.

Man that fog rolled in FAST!

Once food was done, I headed back to the B&B for a shower and an early night. It was strange to hear how deathly silent it was compared to my home along side a busy motorway.

What a contrast.

In the morning, I headed out the back roads toward Daily and up to Pirleyhill Farm – where the new glamping pods will be going in. Visited with owner Stuart, for a wee while, then we attempted to fly the drone that I had bought myself for my birthday. We had a laugh but after a few frustrating crashes, it time to head home.

It was one of the shortest breaks away this year but also a good few days away.

Now it’s back to work and booking workshops, one-to-one clients and of course full steam ahead on my sidehustle.

All time is spent concentrating on getting good content up on Amazon KDP and Merch for Q4. Really looking forward to it.

See you next time on my following summer travels into Fall. Thanks for stopping by. See you after the next trip!

Trip Six (of Twelve) Galashiels and Hawick

Trip Number Six of Twelve - Galashiels and HawickTrip Six (of Twelve) Galashiels and Hawick

As it’s the summer, I felt that it’s time to stay a bit closer to home. I just want to avoid the heat, the copious amounts of families and higher prices of travel. So trip six in my year of travel.

I was able to mix business with pleasure this trip. I headed down to Hawick on Sunday morning. My first stop was in Galashiels. I have no idea how I’ve never been there before. I took some time to wander around the town, to take it in and to take some pictures. It’s a quaint wee place. Wound up spending a bit of money in a charity shop buying some new shirts and a lovely sweater (all for under thirteen pounds!)

Hawick New Clothes

I do love a good charity shop haul. Anyone else out there like them too?

Onwards to Hawick

Like Galashiels I’d never been to Hawick so it was quite the adventure. I took the route through Jedburgh to Hawick and it was a stunning day for a drive. I arrived to my B&B, checked in, set my stuff down and headed out for a late lunch in the heart of Hawick. I got a lovely sandwich at the Black Horse and ate al fresco. I particularly liked the sound of the town’s clock, opposite it, with its horses racing in circle.

After lunch was a wander around the town and along the river. Then returned to North Bridge B&B for a rest before dinner.

After a rest, I met up with my friend and fellow trainer Lesley. We had a fantastic Italian meal and lots of laughs ahead of our full day of training

Canva Training in Hawick, Business Gateway

Blogging and Canva Training in Hawick

The next morning it was down to breakfast and out the door to the Heart of Hawick where Business Gateway is based. Lesley kindly allowed me to deliver a bit of blogging training and a mini Canva workshop too. It was a long and wonderful day. We had a blast. Once done Lesley and I took a long trip home.

I decided to go south west out of Hawick to get to the main motorway that is the artery between England and Scotland. It was a stunning drive back through the country to the M73.  At times it was fog so thick we had to slow down to about 30 just to make it through.

So down to Galashiels and Hawick – makes it my “trip 6” for the year – out of twelve.

Really it’s more than that, but we’re calling it number six.  Next up it’s Rhu, Edinburgh and a long day trip to Glencoe with my old school friend Kim. Can’t wait for this.

More soon. Thanks for reading if you read this far.


Here are a few more pictures from Galashiels and Hawick over on my personal Instagram (#caligaluk) if you’re interested…You can read the full text there too.


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Also you may be interested in checking out my Scottish Travel Journals on Amazon UK (they’re available on most Amazons) – I’m adding more on a regular basis…Watch this space.

Trip Number Three (of Twelve): Aberdour, Fife

Trip Three of Twelve - Aberdour, Fife

Trip Number Three (of Twelve): Aberdour, Fife

By the first week in March, I’d already done my third trip of the year to Aberdour, Fife. I went up for one night and liked it so much I stayed a second night. Aberdour, Fife wound up on my map due to meeting the owner of a hotel John at one of my Canva workshops in Lanarkshire. He’d traveled all the way down for it as it was the closest one to his business.

Anyway John wanted to talk about an idea he had to do some workshops at his hotel so it seemed like a way of doing both in one fell swoop…Namely a trip away and a face to face chat about his concept for these masterclasses.

Aberdour Castle, Aberdour Fife

The Woodside Hotel, Aberdour

So along I went – this time last weekend to the Woodside Hotel in Aberdour. I’d known nothing about the quaint wee village north of Edinburgh – apart from the fact it had a couple of beaches (Silver Sands and Black Sands) and a castle that was featured in Outlander as well.

It’s such a quaint wee place with a good feel to it. I met Woodside owner John at their cafe McTaggarts to start off the weekend and then was taken on a walking tour of the area. We strolled down to the harbour, up over some bluffs from one of its main beaches to the other.

Across the street from the hotel is a street with big stone gates which leads to the Aberdour Golf Course.

Workshops @ the Woodside

After returning to the hotel, our discussions about John’s workshops at the Woodside began in earnest. I’ve tentatively called them Workshops @ the Woodside but they can be called anything. It’s an exciting concept of doing half and full day workshops in areas like: health and well being, personal and professional development and finally the their area is loosely called creative pursuits. Pretty much everything we discussed would fit under that heading.

John with a copy of my Essential 80s Pop Quiz Book.

John and I also talked a lot about music. He was one of the 2000 or so people that actually bought my Essential 80s Pop Quiz book that I self-published in 1998. As he couldn’t find his, I brought him a new copy and five others to do with whatever he chooses. (‘Beats throwing them in a skip eh?)

Break Before Dinner

After the walk and all the talk I was pretty beat and retired to my room, or should I say suite, for a few hours. The Rennie Suite is a lovely large room with bay windows, an ensuite bathroom that boasts a bath and a shower, and a separate small TV room off the main room.

Took the opportunity to write in my Scotland Travel Journal (available on Amazon websites around the world) and a bit of a power nap before dinner.

Clipper room, with roof from RMS Orontes, Woodside Hotel Aberdour

At 7pm went down to have dinner with John and his wife Lis (pronounced Liz) in their spectacular Clipper room – complete with a cozy fireplace and a roof that was formally on a steamliner, the RMS Orontes. Dinner was tasty and conversations a plenty. Around 9pm or so it was back up to the suite to finish streaming my latest TV binge – Northern Rescue – on Netflix. (Very good, I recommend it)

Day Two in Aberdour Fife

Went down for breakfast, and had a chat with John about music. He proceeded to whip out a large variety of cassette tapes. One was even of my good friend’s bank, Thrum. Told him to open up and read the liner notes…to see my name amongst the others. Before I knew it, it was time to consider making tracks back to Glasgow.

I loaded up my luggage in the car and came back in to return the keys, only to realise I didn’t really want to leave…

When John asked if I had to, I paused to consider it for a moment, and the answer was “no”. I could stay another day in Aberdour Fife and explore a bit more and that’s what I did.

Fife Coastal Path, Aberdour FifeThe Fife Coastal Walkway & Castle

I took myself on a long walk by the golf course until I could really go no further (without winding up in the middle of someone’s rounds) and headed back to the village. By now I’d worked up an appetite and headed back to McTaggarts for lunch. After lunch it was a scoot around the grounds of Aberdour Castle…Well as far as the gift shop where I bought a few cards. I was too cheap to pay the six pounds to enter, but I will go next time as the views of the castle from inside the gardens look spectacular.

In any event I covered a lot of Fife’s walkways this map on foot and will do more next time…

Check out more pics from my Instagram here…


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Enjoyed My Time in Fife

After that it was more of the same, food, bath, writing, thinking, sleep. Next morning it was a dash back to Glasgow for a meeting. I was surprised it was only an hour away (55 miles door to door).

I look forward to going back to the Woodside Hotel, Aberdour, Fife for the workshops or possibly some gigs, of which there are many cool ones.

Was great to see owners John and Lis, of the Woodside in the newspaper.

In case you missed it, here’s my Trip one – Balmaha and Trip Two to Largs.

No idea where I will go for Trip Four but watch this space. It might even be Berlin next month. Or maybe the Highlands. Who knows? Open to suggestions…If you have them, leave them in the comments below.

PS: In case you missed why I am doing all of these trips each month, it’s because I decided to as a way of celebrating my father by taking him with me on little trips. I believe it’s what he wants for me now…


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Trip Number Two (of Twelve): Largs, Ayrshire

Trip Number Two Largs

Trip Number Two of Twelve - Largs AyrshireTrip # 2 (of 12): Largs, Ayrshire

It’s the last day of February 2019, and therefor time to write about my second trip of the year – an overnight stay in Largs, Ayrshire.

If you’re interested, you can read about my trip number one to Balmaha here.

To be honest, I find it a bit funny that I picked Largs to stay in – given it’s only about thirty or forty miles from where I live.

The fact of the matter is, I looked at the calendar thinking I had two weekends left in the month, when in reality I had one.

So I surfed over to and typed in the day I wanted to go away, and up Largs came. It was a bargain basement price at a B&B. It was just thirty pounds…R E S U L T.

Culzean Castle Ayrshire - by Thea Newcomb

Culzean Castle

Before my stay in Largs, it was trip down to the south of Ayrshire, to Culzean Castle near Maybole with family friends of mine.

We stopped en route in Irvine to a coffee shop/cafe called Gro. That in itself was a mixed event but probably not worth talking about here today.

So after our meal it was to the castle,…I had once been to Culzean before, on what was effectively a perfect date with someone I briefly dated in the early 2000s. So yeah, that was a long time ago now.

Our first stop was Adventure Cove so the kids could run about. Then, while they played, J and I took a walk around Swan Lake (at least I think that was the name).

Culzean Castle Ayshire - by Thea Newcomb

Lynegar Guest House

On the way back from Culzean Castle, we stopped at the accommodation to pick up my room key. It’s a cute little brick house on the corner of the main road. I hadn’t bothered to look at its location so it was unfortunate to see it was on a busy road, which inconveniently had road works right outside it. Most disappointingly for me, was that I’d forgotten my ear plugs. Rookie mistake. Thankfully I did remember to pack my Bose headphones so I was ok.

Thea Newcomb - kicking back at Lynegar Guest House Largs - Trip # 2 of 2019

The upstairs room was clean and perfectly nice. Bed was adequate. My only complaint with the room itself was the fact that the bed and its pillows felt like they had some kind of paper protectors on it. I made a mental note to bring my own pillow on my subsequent trips, just in case. Regardless of that little niggle, this place was a lot better than last month’s trip to Balmaha and it was six pounds cheaper. Win/win.

Trip number two of twelve, Lynegar Guest House Largs Ayrshire

Breath of Heaven

I didn’t sleep great, but got myself up before nine, finished packing and headed out. I’d arranged to stop into the Green Shutters Bistro for breakfast – before hopping the ferry over to Millport. I had a lovely breakfast, more than I could eat, before catching the 11:15am Ferry across the water.

Breath of Heaven, Millport, Isle of Cumbrae Scotland by Thea Newcomb

My friend Juli, a fellow American transplant, runs thee cutest shop on Millport called Breath of Heaven. It truly is a breath of fresh air. There are so many cute items in this shop! Loved so many of the books on her shelf. Picked up some lavender oil for myself (as I use it daily to help me sleep).

I also picked up Scotland the Board Game. How fun is that?

Scotland the Board Game - Largs, Ayrshire

My Scotland Travel Journal

I am truly enjoying my short breaks this year, and writing in My Scotland Travel Journal as I go.

My March trip, or at least one of them, is over to the East Coast to the Kingdom of Fife for a night. Truly looking forward to that one.

Will update again when that stay, trip number three, has passed.

For now, am enjoying working three or four days a week and traveling and creating merch and KDP low/no content on the others. It’s not a bad way to live a life. It’s certainly more work/life balance than I’ve ever had.

Buy My Scotland Travel Journal

You can pick up my first ever KDP journal on Amazon USA or Amazon UK (it’s also available on all other Amazon stores…).

As you can see from one of the pictures above, I’ve been reading one of Mitch Ablom’s books, For One More Day.

It and his other best seller, Tuesdays with Morrie, are giving me much solace at this time…

Web & Social Media Training, Uist, Outer Hebrides

This has been quite a month of training for Business Gateway, Highlands and Islands Enterprises (HIE) the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) and some one-to-one training too.

More often than not, the audience is comprised of small business owners or employees in SMEs, but for a change a large portion of this past month’s audience was comprised of students. University undergrads and post graduate students who are looking to utilise Linkedin to get either jobs, internships or simply to start building their network. The student work for CMI is now complete and my time has been spent on other things – like traveling across Scotland to deliver some Digital Boost courses on behalf of NSDesign and HIE. First stop for those…Uist.


Had the pleasure of spending time in Uist earlier this month. It was another wee flight up to return to Benbecula to deliver some Advanced Social Media training there. Social Media Training - Benbecula Uist

 As ever, they were a good group of people with very mixed businesses. It was a pleasure to get to know them and hear more about their local businesses.


I rented a car from Laings. They’re pretty “old school” with their booking system but that’s just sort of the island way. It can take a bit of getting used to.

Leaving Eriskay, South Uist headed back north once more

After my full day of training was over, it was great to have the hire car to get in to and be able to head south in the blistering sunshine! Headed all the way down to the bottom of the island to Eriskay – where you can get the ferry across to Barra. One of my delegates, a photographer there, did just that.


Of course there are lots of places to stay when visiting Uist but when traveling to Benbecula, I stay at a B&B called 5 Nunton. It’s not far from Benbecula airport – just a 10 minute drive max.
Run by lovely Linda, it’s quaint, so lovely and silent. You can only hear cows mooing in the fields and the waves in the distance. Perfect for someone like me who needs to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city of Glasgow now and again. Thankfully in my line of work, I can.

Rainbow View at Breakfast 5 Nunton B&B, Nunton UistHere is my view one morning at breakfast…complete with a rainbow in the distance.

Since the trip to Uist, during the first week of April, I also traveled to Campbeltown for a few days of training there. I’ll save that blog until next time.

My next trip will be to Orkney which I am very much looking forward to!