Wednesday, September 23, 2015

To Loch Ness and Back Again

To pick up the narrative where I left off, hubby and I were at the Clachaig Inn, in Glencoe.  On Saturday, we'd traveled south and west to Oban.  On Sunday, we traveled north and east to see Urquhart Castle.  It was built on the shores of Loch Ness, so we saw a lot of the Loch on that day.  It is a BIG loch.  Large enough to hide more than one little Nessie.

We started in Glencoe, at the Glencoe History Museum.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  Next to the Museum was a church, with this amazing rock fence surrounding it.  The rockwork captivates me.  Why do we not do this here?  I guess the rocks aren't as plentiful?  It truly is Art.

 We passed a number of lochs on our way, so many, that I didn't bother to pay attention to their names.  To my uneducated ear, they all sound alike.
 Then again, there is a story about the head of the MacDonald clan.  He was ordered to sign his allegiance to the English crown, and hemmed and hawed about doing so.  He had to sign by a certain date, and he was to do it at...Invergarry?  Only he went to Inverlochy? by mistake.  Missing the deadline resulted in the slaughter of the MacDonald clan at Glencoe by the Campbells.  I'm pretty sure that the Inverlochy Castle ruins that we visited were the site that he erroneously reported to.

We weren't looking for them, I just spotted a sign on the road with an arrow "Inverlochy Castle."  Pete turned in, we went down a lane, over a weak bridge, and parked across from this.  Outstanding!  It was one of my favorite castles, in that it was well groomed yet not commercial.  There was no entry fee, one could just wander about as desired.
 We'd driven by some sheep on the hillside, as we looked for the castle.  This was the first time that hubby actually pulled over, so that I could get some good pictures.  I loved their access to the cemetery.  I think the well-manicured look of Scotland can be attributed to the ever-grazing sheep.
As you can see, it was a grey day.  The rain came and went as we drove.  In 1996, Scotland was the first place that I heard the comment, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes."  This time, I heard, "Scotland:  All four seasons, every day."  And it was true, with the exception of snow.  It did not snow while we were there.

Our next stop was at a war memorial.  I was more entranced by the sheep, though I have to say that the Scots do much to honor their military.  Every place that we went seemed to have some sort of tribute to those who have given their lives for their country.  They do not forget.  They do not want to forget.
 This is my favorite sheep picture of all that I took.  The thistles in the foreground are perfect!  I couldn't have set this up better if I'd tried!
 We pulled over multiple times on this trip.  I saw a bus unloading tourists, and said, "Stop!"  And he did.  Bridges like this were everywhere.  Water is everywhere.  Everything was wet and green and lush and MARVELOUS!
 This was a private home, immediately next to the bridge.  I saw many rooftops covered with greenery. 
 This one actually looked like it was planted with lettuce.  I LOVE the look.  Husband HATES it.  I told him, "I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking that the roof is going to rot, and it's going to need to be replaced, and you would get rid of every bit of that."  He looked a bit uncomfortable, as he admitted that I had completely read his mind.  Thirty four years will do that to a person.
 He lucked out, though, because with this stop, we got to get up close and personal with a Highland cow.  I took pictures, which he forwarded to his business.  Apparently most of the secretaries have now adopted her as their desktop wallpaper.  (It's a dairy practice.  They're all about the cows.)
We eventually made it to Urquhart Castle, a place that was too touristy for my taste.  It reminded me of Disneyland, with the presentation and the gift shop and the PEOPLE.  But it is a beautiful place, and a key location back in the day.  It changed hands many times, and when the last owners/residents were under siege, they blew it up to keep it from falling into the hands of their enemies.  This one isn't a natural ruin, it was intentional.
We spent a while here, then decided to head back to Glencoe.  I love the signage, particular the reminder to "Drive on the left."  Notice that it's not just Americans who need reminding.  Apparently the Germans are right there with us.
 We eventually made our way back to Glencoe, and our lodging.  This is not a painted backdrop, it's the mountain, rising straight up behind us.  A glass of Thistly Cross cider, a wool sweater hand-knit by my sister, and my journal.  I was set for the evening.
Next up:  Back to Edinburgh.


Barbara Sindlinger said...

Wow. Just beautiful. I'm taking notes!

Franki Kohler said...

I am so enjoying your commentary! And who wouldn't simply love the Highland cow. They are gorgeous creatures.