Have you been on a fam or prize trip in the past 17 months, i.e. since 1st January 2013? If so, your 500-word report could win €1,000 in ITTN’s 2014 Budding Travel Writer competition. Our May winner is Kersti Costello of Grogan Travel Worldchoice in Tuam, Co Galway.
This year’s competition will have seven monthly winners – so get writing your 500 words without delay and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The competition rules can be read at:
Each monthly winner will receive a €100 One4all gift voucher and an invitation to the 23rd Irish Travel Trade ‘Golden Globe’ Awards at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dublin – Burlington Road, on Friday 28th November 2014.
At the gala dinner event, one of the seven monthly winners will be announced as the overall winner of the 2014 Budding Travel Writer of the Year Award and will receive a cheque for €1,000 from Travel Counsellors Ireland.
Kersti’s winning entry was for her report on the Insight Vacations fam trip with The Travel Corporation to Scotland in April this year:
A Highlands Experience with Insight
There is a lot to be said for modern-day escorted journeys – business class travel, expert tour directors, high-value inclusions, premium hotels in the best locations, memorable dining experiences, and plenty of free time for leisure or exploration!
I had never been to Scotland, so when an opportunity came to join 35 other agents, including four from Ireland, on this wonderful guided vacation with Insight Vacations I jumped at the offer.
Our tour director, Mike Doughty, met us at Glasgow Airport and escorted us to our lovely 4-star city centre hotel, which was to be our base for two nights. From first meeting Mike I was impressed with his local knowledge and care for all of his clients. Here we also got the first glimpse of our luxury tour coach – with business class legroom and spectacular views.
On our first night we were joined by our tour director for a warm and friendly welcome reception with dinner and drinks, and got to know our travel companions.
Next day was spent enjoying Glasgow’s attractions, museums, architecture – and the night enjoying the vibrant city of Glasgow.
The following day we headed north for our Highlands Experience. This started with a scenic cruise on Loch Lomond followed by a visit to Inveraray Castle, where we even had the pleasure of meeting the Duke of Argyll. The Duke showed us around his home, which is also one of the sets for the Downton Abbey series.
This was followed by whisky tasting in Oban Distillery and a magnificent drive through Glencoe with its high mountain peaks, ridges, rushing rivers and waterfalls. Glencoe was used as a location for the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall.
Our fourth day brought us to Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic images of Scotland, and as we stopped by the shores of Loch Ness we were ‘quite’ sure we noticed something moving in the water…. The end of this day brought us to the ‘city in the Highlands’, Inverness, where we enjoyed exquisite hospitality and most delicious food in Kingsmill Hotel for two nights.
While in Inverness our tour director Mike took us to Leault Farm for a personal insight into the daily life of a shepherd and his dogs. We even got to cuddle collie pups and bottle feed orphaned lambs!
On day five, on our way to Edinburgh, we were welcomed to Blair Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl, and stopped for lunch in beautiful St Andrews, home of the third oldest university in the English-speaking world and now famous as the University where Prince William met his wife.
Our final two days were spent in Edinburgh, where a local guide wearing traditional dress walked us through Edinburgh Castle, from where there are spectacular views of the town.
On the very last night the spirits were high during the celebration dinner when we said goodbye to our newly found friends. I am looking forward to my next visit!