Monday, June 22, 2015

Edinburgh and the Highlands

We crossed from England into Scotland early in the morning, having spent the night only a mile from the border and headed to Edinburgh.  Once in Edinburgh I met up with a friend for lunch and then spent the afternoon doing research, while Andy slowly wandered back to our hotel.  We had previously spent time in Edinburgh in 1991, so had already seen the castle and the Royal Mile, so didn't revisit them this time.

Edinburgh Castle from Princes St

The Royal Mile from Princes Street

Next day we drove over the Scottish Highlands, because we find the landscape so incredible. We went north from Perth through Glen Shee with the mountains (hills?) of the Cairngorms surrounding us.

Lunch was at Ballater, not far from Balmoral Castle.

The River Dee running through Ballater

Fresh caught haggis anyone?

Sporans?  We must be in the highlands

After lunch we continued through the Highlands, heading up to the coast of the Moray Firth.

We had to stop at a Distillery, of course. We visited the Dallas Dhu distillery, which actually closed down in 1983 and is now run by Historic Scotland as a tourist attraction.  It was actually an advantage that it was no longer in production, as we could wander freely and see parts of the process that we wouldn't be able to approach in a working distillery.

From the outside

The malting room

One of the stills

The finished product

Then we continued up to Findhorn Bay, where Andy had been years ago on business. When he was there it was the middle of winter, and one day they went out to lunch and then looked at the view across the Moray Firth, where the air was so clear he could see the snow covered mountains on the other side of the Firth.  We couldn't find the spot that had been his vantage point, and being a warm summer's day the air was hazy. We could still see across to the other side, but the mountains didn't feel close enough to touch this time.  Very disappointing for him.

We spent the night in Nairn (which is east along the coast of the Firth), at a lovely hotel called Invernairne. From there we walked along to coast to the town centre to have dinner. We did get some spectacular sunset views of the Firth during that walk.


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