October blog challenge - Day 13 - North of the Border - The Scottish Highlands

October blog challenge - Day 13 - North of the Border - The Scottish Highlands

So today is a flashback Friday - and I am going all the way back to 2009 when I visited the Scottish Highlands with the bestie for a long weekend. Here are the highlights of our trip and above of course - one of the photos of that deserted castle! Home made cake for anyone who can identify it... Enjoy!

Beautiful ones!! 

The time has come once again for idle talk and beautiful photos - yes the dynamic duo rides again and this time through the highlands of Scotland! Its been a beautiful few days - the rugged mountains carved out of Northern Britain and the wonderful lochs dotted in and among them make for some very scenic drives, and the warm Bed and Breakfast rooms that we arrive at every night are welcome indeed (some of them more warm than others!!) For those of you who wonder howcome I go on so many holidays - I think I just like having an empty bank account!! Renee and I arrived in Inverness to beautiful sunshine (in all defiance of the weather report which proclaimed rain and more rain for our entire trip) and drove to our first night's home where we were warmly greeted by our host. We had a nice dinner overlooking the lake with the castle up on the hill and the next day set out for the Isle of Skye - named for the clouds in the sky. On the way we passed about a thousand bed and breakfasts. It seems as if opening their home to strangers is a strong Highland tradition. We saw only 1 large chain hotel and that was on day 3. Otherwise, accommodation seemed to consist of little houses dotted everywhere with 3 or 4 en suite rooms and a friendly host waiting to welcome you in from the cold. Of course, staying in people's houses has some drawbacks - one of the rooms we stayed in had a noisy drainage system and the sink burped several times during the night. Sounded like an upset tummy!!! We spent the evening wandering around Dunvegan Castle taking a look into the past and the McCleod Clan's life. One of the funny memories from the castle was the dungeon - of course there was a dungeon where prisoners were thrown, and more or less died of starvation and thirst and most likely exposure. This would not be so bad, but they purposely cut a staircase next to the dungeon where the maids went through to the kitchen so that the prisoners could smell the food!!! 

Driving back down from the isle of skye was just as scenic as the drive up. Even though the sky was very gray, it proved a good canvas for the autumny yellows and oranges, and the snow capped Cairngorm mountains. We did several drives by of a deserted castle perched on the edge of a loch and managed to (at last) get a half decent photo (after using what seemed like a quarter tank of petrol driving back and forth on the bridge opposite AND trespassing in someone's front drive). We drove past the enormous Loch Ness and I am sure I spotted the monster!!! (not really...) We eventually arrived in the Cairngorms and took a long walk around the Loch Eilien, and again - in defiance of the weather report we had a dry (if not somewhat cold) afternoon, walking in the evergreens and heather, and surrounded by the orange and red ferns. Lots of photo opportunities too!! We arrived in Aviemore, a small ski town which I imagine is heaving in the winter when the area is covered in a blanket of snow. Aviemore was quiet in its off season, and we had a nice dinner in one of the local hotels. The next morning we started the drive down to Edinburgh. We decided to take the scenic route, which meant that it took several hours but it was worth it to drive through the beautiful Scottish countryside. We managed not to hit any sheep on the single track roads, and eventually made it to historic Edinburgh, the town dominated by the castle and Arthur's Seat. Renee spotted Arthur's Seat straight away and harassed me about climbing it from the minute I made that wrong turn at the traffic light and ended up driving alongside it. Darned satnav!!! We were exhausted from the long drive, and so saved the sightseeing until the following day. We started off by driving down to the Scottish borders and going for a nice long walk up to Scott's view to see Scotland laid out before us like a canvas! 

Sometimes the uphill walk is worth it for the beautiful views it presents. In the afternoon we decided to explore the town centre and did the touristy tour of Edinburgh - University, Royal Mile and up to the castle, and then a nice dinner in a cozy bar before a relaxing evening in. On our last day in Scotland we went up Arthur's seat (although I must confess I never made it all the way) and of course Renee went in heels (show off) and then were able to relax for a couple of hours before heading back down to sunny Gloucester. All in all - a nice way to spend a few days. 

Have a wonderful weekend folks!!

Big love from a small island.