27th July 2016
A trip to Inverness our local town. It was not far. It was an interesting town half really doing well and half not doing so well. Lots of scottish cashmere shops. I decided I did not need a thick jumper.The Court house was on a hill and had a great view of the town well worth the walk up the hill.
We have seen so much though highlights have been the beauty of the glens, lochs and rivers. The towns are pretty and the people friendly, every second one seems to have visited Sydney which is so funny. We went to the Black Isles a gorgeous ride through the countryside to Fortrose were we saw dolphin frolicking just off the beach (pebbles rather than sand and about 18 degrees C so no swimming with dolphins).
We had a trip to Skye. We were told detour to Applecross was worth the time as the view is magnificent so off we went. Well the view was magnificent but the trip was horrible. The trip up the escarpment was a one lane road with pull off so let on coming traffic past. The road was very winding and I was never sure when we would meet a car, campervan or bicycle head on. we eventually got to the top and were inspired by the view (a bit windy) . We decided to go on to Applecross to have lunch.
I meet an interesting lady who told me to go and buy fresh eggs from the garage. They are from a local farm and the earlier they get bought the bigger they are so in the afternoon there are only little ones left. The size of peas she said.
At the next village on I heard a piper playing in the distance. The sound of bagpipes across the loch was fantastic, that's what bagpipes should should like not that caterwauling that I can hear from the Queen Victoria Building on a week-end. We then returned the way we came, taking great care and drove onto the isle of Skye. Unfortunately all the time taken getting there meant that we did not have much time on Skye. Skye is very pretty with lovely little white farms nestled in the countryside. We had time to try a whiskey, before returning home.
We went to Cromity and to the museum run by an ex schoolteacher and met the president of the village trust both of them had travelled around WA. The museum was in the old court house so had an animated court scene, they were very tough on people back then.
Cromity was holding its Gala so we checked it out. A bit like a fete with races and things we watched the relay in which the runner ran to the other end sculled a beer. Twirled around a post 10 times and then drunk and dizzy tried to run back. Hilarious there were people falling rolling and generally running in all directions except back to their team. The craft and food had a stall selling cow horn trinkets some of which were quite nice, I got chatting to the man running the stall and identified him as the only man who had not been to Sydney and the only Scot who was happy to be leaving the EU. He said they would be better off determining their own trade partners and negotiating as a country rather than doing as they are told by the EU. This seems to be the biggest thing about the people who are happy to have left the EU (not that they have yet) but they all seem to be really unhappy about being told what to do by Europe. He even said that “we ain't fought wars with Europe so they can tell us what to do” (in a very Scottish accent of course).
Yesterday we did the strangest thing. The Black Isle Show was on and we got talked into going. Now remember I have only been to the Sydney show twice once as a tourist visiting Sydney and once when my sister was working there. We arrive at the place to be sent through town the long way to the show grounds and also through roadworks and a large intersection not the fastest way to get there in fact we were in a traffic jam for so long I nearly gave up. Arriving at the carpark (no 4) we realised this was a big thing in fact it was pouring with rain and everyone was there putting on raincoats and wellingtons. We had to catch a bus to the show grounds (which nearly got bogged on the way). $20 each (concession!!) we got in to be confronted by a children’s carnival huge and acres of farm equipment. We have been trying not to take money out in Scotland as they have their own pound which for some reason they will not take in England. So with our entry cost we had $10 left between us and all food cost $12 a serve we are as a show after all, they are entitled to rip us off. So we wandered round gawping at combined harvesters (I know who had been conned and it was not a tractor) and tractor equipment to do things that I could not fathom. There was also building societies to set up accounts, furniture exhibits, toys and hot water heaters, window frames gosh I cannot contain my excitement. Then we found the arena and they were judging the dressage on half and the trio’s on another the trios appear to be three cows that had to all be well-bred and looking identical. Well I might not be interested in farming, but it was more interesting than combined harvesters. We wandered around the horses, cows, sheep, chickens, rabbits and guinea pigs for quite some time. Then decided enough was enough, caught the bus back to the car and drove away at speed back to the traffic jam and home.
Another interesting trip was to Culloden. The battlefield is on a huge flattish moor. The place was quite depressing even on a warm summer day, it was sad to think of all the people who died here. The exhibition was very good and informative. I now feel I understand it better. The Scottish, including some of my and Ross's ancestors wanted to replace the King with Bonnie Prince Charles. They had walked all night and then had to return to Culloden. They also did not have enough food. The battle killed 2000 of the Jacobites and only 50 of the kings troops. I found it all very moving and sad.
We cheered up by visiting a distillery. They had a wild rabbit, which visited every day and was so tame. I think they feed it whiskey.
Tomorrow we leave Scotland. We have had a fabulous time and have been very lucky with the weather, Not sunshine but no rain except for a couple of late afternoons and one day. We have seen lots of things and missed lots so have to return to see the things we missed like the Isle of Eigg and Smoo caves both of which are a good day’s drive and so we just ran out of time.
We went to Newcastle where we were leaving the car. Shades of Hong Kong we got to our hotel and it was not there!! Well it was an Indian restaurant and the hotel was all boarded up and being renovated. We rang Agoda the booking company, they said they would need to check with the Hotel (The Hotel is closed, how are you going to speak to them?), eventually they agreed they could cancel the booking without the hotels agreement (we sent photos to prove our case). Good end to the story we got upgraded to a 5-star hotel without any extra charge.