Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gleneagles remains brilliant

We had another brilliant weekend at Gleneagles (only it was marred by the worst golf game I EVER played … and I quit after 7 holes!).

From a family trip last time, we arrived as 4 couples this time and we had another excellent time. Beyond all the things we did previously, we added falconry and off road driving to our activities and also explored more of Scotland. Edinburgh Castle was beautiful (but I wish we could have seen it on a less windy day), we saw the quaint nearby village of Pitlochry and walked in the highlands. We indulged in some magnificent new whiskies and generally over ate for 3 days on the fine cuisine that is always available.

Falconry ... was more fun than I expected

My only slight negative, ironically, was the golf. After an outstanding time last August when I played the Kings and Queens courses, this time I tried the PGA course (venue for the Ryder Cup in 2014). I have to say that I was disappointed (and not just with the way that I played). After playing the traditional courses at Gleneagles, some top Spanish courses (including Valderrama) in Marbella, the beautiful Wynn course in Las Vegas (and of course most of Dubai's top courses) over the past 12 months, the Gleneagles PGA course seemed distinctly "ordinary". 

I know from the course managers here that the PGA course was designed differently to the old courses. Due consideration had to be made for TV cameras to have access around the course and to be able to see every all angles of every hole ... so no doubt compromises were made that weren't a consideration 100 or so years ago.

However, I don't want to nit pick. On this, our second visit here, we were not disappointed. The rooms, the service, the food and the new Johnny Walker Blue Label bar all remain truly superb ... and we were very lucky with the weather again. It was cold (bitterly at times), but the sun was out and the rain held out.

In addition to all of these great things at Gleneagles, I even found a "new" point to rave about. We chose to return to London by train. Rather than driving an hour to Edinburgh airport, waiting an hour for the flight, sitting on the plane for an hour (or more considering the circling we would usually do before landing in Heathrow), waiting for bags and then driving into Central London, we are sitting comfortably on a direct train from Gleneagles to Kings Cross. A 5 hour journey (door to door). Comfortable seats, no luggage storage hassles, nice food, good service, wifi and power sockets on board … It's going to be a comfortable and productive day (including the writing and posting of this post)!

We are melancholy as we leave. Sad to say goodbye to Gleneagles, to Scotland and to our dear friends who made this trip and this weekend so thoroughly enjoyable.

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