Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue 2002 -> Saturday 6 April

The eastern side of Loch Ness

We sleep late, after our first night in Beauly this year. There is no fixed time for breakfast in this place. If you want, you can have it in the afternoon. After talking to Iain for an hour we go on our way. The last two years we have mainly made long journeys from Beauly. To remote areas in the north, the west and the east. This time we want to have a better look at the neighbourhood and have a few calm days.
First we go to Inverness, searching for Scottish soup spoons. Every time we have soup somewhere in a restaurant, we get these deep spoons, totally different from what we have in Holland. They are a bit deeper and better shaped to eat soup, so you don't spill so much. We go from one shop to another, asking everywhere, but after more than an hour we still have no spoons! Well, then better hit the road again.
Lama at Inverness Lama at Inverness Today we have planned to take all the roads on the eastern side of Loch Less that we can find on our map. Coming from Inverness we take one road to the south, another one back to the north and then the next to the south. Driving around this way, we suddenly pass a garden with llama's in it!
Aldourie Castle In the neighbourhood of Dores, Elisabeth suddenly sees some sort of a castle. We turn and drive into all tracks we can see to come closer to this castle, but alas, we don't find it. We even walk through the woods but everything is well fenced off. On one fence there is this note: gardens of Aldourie Estate, so we suppose this is Aldourie Castle. (Luc & Sabien sent us a link with more information)
View on Inverness By driving on every road we can find on our map, we repeatedly see Inverness again. Here a view on this town from the hills in the south.
In between a remark about (another) a weird anomaly of Teije: with a black pen he marks all the roads we have driven on, on our old, detailed map of Scotland (2 years old). The old map is hold together by large pieces of adhesive tape and although we bought a new map, he can't abandon the old one. It is totally covered with black marks of all the thousands of kilometers we have driven throughout Scotland. An advantage of it is that we can see very quickly if we have been somewhere before or not. In this way we hope to 'conquer' the whole of Scotland.
Loch Duntelchaig We don't make much progress this way, but we get a good impression of this area. Here we have a short break at Loch Duntelchaig.
Carrochie Estate We have taken sandwiches and softdrinks and want to have a picknick somewhere. On the map we see that Loch Killin is at the end of a single track road, so we decide to go there. Just before the loch we see this nice house, part of Carrochie Estate.
Loch Killin Loch Killin The weather is quite fair and warm (18°C) and there is nobody near the lake. A totally deserted, but very beautiful place near the water, between the mountains. If ever a stress-troll or gnome came by here, it probably drowned in the loch...
Loch Killin Loch Killin There are no midgets, so we stay for an hour, enjoying the quietness of the place. We even don't hear many birds.
Loch Tarff Near Loch Tarff we see heather on fire on the mountains before us. We have seen it before and people have told us that farmers sometimes burn grounds with heather on it in the spring. But sometimes it is near the tops of mountains where no roads are, so we don't know exactly the explanation for these fires.
Iain (our friend of the Caledonian hotel in Beauly) was so kind to mail us the answer when he read this last sentence:
The reason heather is burned in the early spring is traditionally to do with the managment of a grouse moor, but for the same reason it can apply to the
sheep, deer, or even cattle. The fires are very much controlled, in strips of three. You have old heather for shelter and cover for the deer, new heather for cover for the grouse and feeding and the burning strips to set the process in motion again. Obviously this has to be done when its dry enough after the wet of winter, but also before the nesting season starts.
Elisabeth at Fort Augustus Teije at Fort Augustus At the end of the afternoon we arrive at the southern point of Loch Ness, in Fort Augustus. It is time to have a cup of soup and a drink. We ask the manager if she knows where we can buy these nice soup spoons and she gives us two addresses in Inverness. Something to do on monday. And Teije is busy again, marking the roads on the map...
Caledonian hotel, Beauly Caledonian hotel, Beauly Back in Beauly we make a walk through this nice town and take some pictures. We have never made any pictures during the last two years of Beauly itself, so it is about time.
Of course, 'our' hotel is the first thing we have to photograph. The hotel is located on the central square of the village. Soon the Caledonian Hotel will have its own website and of course we will make a link to it, immediately. We can recommend this place to everybody.
Beauly Priory Beauly Priory Near the square you can find the Beauly Priory, build in 1230. During the Reformation it was destroyed and now only a ruin remains. Two years ago, we had to pay an entrance fee, now the ruin can be visited for free.
Our shadows in the Beauly Priory The sun is shining brightly this evening, so we can make this silhouette picture of ourselves a the entrance of the priory. The walls of the priory are still standing but it has no roof. In the side chapels tombs can be seen.

After walking into Cathy, who is in her garden behind the hotel, she takes us inside and shows us all hidden barns, rooms and attics of the hotel. The building is at least three times bigger than we had thought. And we thought they didn't give much attention to the building but we were wrong: they are busy on several spots to patch up the place.
In the evening we have a very pleasant stay in the pub, talking to Iain and Cathy, and the locals of course. And we show them our website and the pictures of themselves on the internet. They like it. It is late again, when we go upstairs to our room, but there is no need to get up early tomorrow. Especially this normal contact with the local people makes this country so much more fascinating. Scotland is a breathtaking country with all it's beautiful sceneries and places to see, but the people who live here make us feel at home.
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