To plan, or not to plan? Adventures in Cupar, Scotland

When I plan travel,  I spend a lot of time researching our options in each location.   Other than lodging,  I try to maximize flexibility, and determine what we do each day based on our energy level or the weather.   I generally pre-book only the activities that are 1)top priorities and 2)require prebooking to enjoy or to avoid a long queue.

One of our “options” for Edinburgh was a daytrip outside of the city to the Ceres Highland Games .  The Ceres games boast the title of the oldest free (!) games in Scotland,  having run in every non-wartime year since 1314. Did I mention it’s free? Check it out here:  Ceres Highland Games.  

(More info on the Games in my next post…)

With the promise of a warm, sunny day,  we headed to Waverly Station, and navigated our way to Cupar, (pr. coo-per)  a town about an hour outside of Edinburgh.  From there,  the location of the Games in Ceres was about a 3 mile drive.

We thought there might be taxis waiting at the Cupar station,  but unfortunately  (or maybe fortunately? )  there were not.  We wandered into the station, hoping to find a sign or other indication as to where to get a taxi,  but instead we wandered into the Cupar Heritage Center, which is housed in the station building.   The center was manned by Gavin, a volunteer who boasted the strongest Scottish brogue we heard on the trip, and was very punny.

Gavin:  So whaur di ye hale from?

Oldest: New Jersey

Gavin:  Ach, I have an oold one

Gavin was only too eager to help,  calling us a taxi himself, and informing us that a driver had only just left to take passengers to the Games and would certainly be back shortly.  He then proceeded to show us the important Cupar artifacts at the Heritage Center, mostly dating from the early 20th century.   Porage Oats_TMS_3043These included local memorabilia from King George’s 1937 coronation celebration, WWI shell casings,  and, um, a can of porage?:


Gavin’s summary of the town’s history:

“Cupar useta be a viry important toon, but den everyting got oold.”

The charming welcome of the Cupar Heritage Center and Gavin were the type of thing that never would have happened with too much planning. Many of my favorite travel experiences are similar.

Gavin and Oldest

Anyway, the taxi seemed to have gotten lost between the Ceres Games and the station,  because 45 minutes went by before Gavin called another taxi, and we were on our way to the Games!