Thursday, August 19, 2010

July 7: The Highlands

This morning's breakfast was as lovely as before, and as we enjoyed a soundtrack of chatting and opera, we knew, given the chance, that we'd be back to this place in a heartbeat.  Alan and his mum held the doors as we shuffled down the stairs and out the front to load up the car, and with a final round of hugs and well-wishes, we were back on the road.  Leaving Stonehaven was a little tough, but our Scottish adventure had just begun and it was time to roll on.  Let me just say that if the obvious shift in beauty from northern England to Scotland was a nudge, that between Stonehaven and The Highlands knocked us over.

Today we would be making our way to Loch Ness for the next two nights, and though I'll always deny it out loud, there was a tiny part deep down that secretly hoped we spot something strange out there.  The car coasted over the amazing hills and it felt like we were on top of the world.  Scotland's beauty is severe, its rocky hills blanketed by deep green and speckled with sheep.  Up and over each hill we kept catching ourselves in tiny gasps at the sight of it, and this was just the countryside.  We had yet to set our eyes on the mountains and lakes of this obviously enchanted place.

We drove through the city of Inverness, the growing capital of the Highlands, which rests at the northern tip of long and narrow Loch Ness.  After finding and checking into our quaint Bed & Breakfast in a small town on Loch Ness' western side, we decided not to cram the rest of the day full of rushing about, trying to fit every possible thing in.  Just up the road and around the bend from where we stayed was Urquhart Castle, a beautiful set of ruins perched on a cliff over the loch.
It was really windy.

This bagpiper created a superb soundtrack for all the people crawling around the castle ruins.

After Urquhart we decided to make it an early night in order to organize the next day's activities.
A ten minute walk through some farm-like land and woods brought us to a small guest house known for its great Aberdeen burgers, so that's where we headed.  In Stonehaven I learned that Black Angus in the States is a hybrid cow of the Aberdeen cow from Scotland (for its richness of taste and tenderness) and an Argentinian cow (for its ability to stave off sickness).  Now I'm not a burger connoisseur, I can't taste the grain the cow on my plate munched on in his final days, but these burgers were good, and we were satisfied.  

After dinner we walked around a bit to avoid going to bed later with still full stomachs, finding a trail through the woods nearby.  The hope was to wind or way to the loch's edge and enjoy some moments of quiet solitude together by the water.  When it started getting darker and we began feeling loster (yeah, I know it's not a word), we headed back the way we came and spent the rest of the evening planning out the next day.


  1. I love that I just learned something new about a hamburger. I also love when somewhat cliche' things happen on vacation... like bagpipes in Scotland. By an old castle. On Loch Ness. Make that three cliche' things!

  2. Funny thing is, I never got a big thrill from the past....until now when I am leaving it behind! (And yes, I will blog on that!)

    SOunds like a truly amazing trip Lindsey.