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Glen Urquhart, Glen Affric and Aberdeenshire


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 09 to 11 July 2000

Sunday 09 July, Glen Urquhart, Glen Affric and Aberdeenshire

Divach waterfall Divach waterfallAfter the long and somewhat exhausting day before, we want to have a more quiet day. Walking through Inverness, driving to Drumnadrochit and Urquhart Castle and then a walking tour to the Falls of Divach. There are many waterfalls in Scotland, but sometimes it is hard to find them or there is no road leading to them. Pleasant side effect is the quietness of these places. We hardly meet anyone in this area.
After this walk, we follow Glen Urquhart and take the road from Cannich into Glen Affric towards Loch Affric.
Glen Affric Glen AffricAccording to many tour guides, Glen Affric is one of the most pretty valleys in Scotland.
Unfortunately, we are out of film. We promise, next time we take more pictures. And we did, these pictures are made in 2002.
The Caledonian hotel at BeaulyOur pleasant and calm day, changes after all into a tiring one, at night in the pub. It is filled with locals and everybody wants to talk to us. But well, the singing part is a bit annoying. They know the song 'tulpen uit Amsterdam' (tulips from Amsterdam) and Teije only knows 'alle eendjes zwemmen in het water' (all ducks swim in the water, a children's song). The beer and the baileys really taste nice and we aren't quite sober when we return to our room.

Monday 10 July 2000, to Bielfeld near Aberdeen

We hope you haven't got the impression we are incorrigibly alcoholics (Elisabeth doesn't drink at all, back in Holland and Teije just sticks to a few beers). But the Scottish (yes, it's all their fault) are very hospitable and they all offered us a drink, which we couldn't refuse, of course. And it was our last night in this hotel (we didn't know then that we would not only return again within two weeks, but also the next years). We had talked with Iain and Cathy, the owners, till far beyond closing time, so we show up quite late for breakfast.
Northeast ScotlandWe would have liked to stay here, but we have come here to see more (all) of Scotland, as far as that is possible in 3 weeks time. So, it is time to move on. Our plan is to go to the east coast, then move south, towards Edinburgh and finally to Ayrshire and Galloway in the south west of Scotland. After a long coffee break, talking with Iain and Cathy for some time, it becomes noon before we leave. Past Elgin the landscape changes. It is still nice but much more flat and totally different from the Highlands.
Fraser castleSince it is already late in the afternoon and there are still many places of interest (from prehistoric stone circles to medieval castles) in the neighborhood, we decide to camp around Aberdeen
. On the way we pass by Castle Fraser, which we visit. It is administered by the NTS (The National Trust for Scotland) and we find out they are the 'expensive Trust' (Historic Scotland being the cheap one). They administer almost half of all the castles and ruins and ask £ 10,- (€ 16) per person as entrance fee. In 2001, the fees have been reduced. But we must say, the castle was very impressive to walk through.
To see all of the castle, you can spend a few hours. For once it is an interesting experience, but after that we decide we don't have to see the inside of all castles we will come upon.
After a short visit to Aberdeen, we drive back to Bielfeld were we have seen a nice inn, 13 kilometers from Aberdeen. In the Bielside Inn, people are also very hospitable, but we did notice a difference with the Highlanders, but we don't know how to describe these differences precisely. Anyway, we still feel very comfortable with the Scotsmen.

Tuesday 11 July 2000, Aberdeenshire, Archeolink and Aberdeen

The day starts dull and especially windy. We first go to the Archeolink Prehistory Park, where they show very fascinating audiovisual exhibitions, but the constructions of buildings from different time periods outside are also very interesting. Just when we walk outside, it starts to drizzle. The wind is rising and the nice walk becomes a run to see as much as possible in a short time.
Very annoying for Teije, because he has this uncontrolled inclination to read all the information signboards. So, he gets wet, while Elisabeth has returned to the warm and dry museum. But we can recommend a visit to this park, assuming that it is dry and not too windy. It tells about the history of Scotland from about 6.000 BC. until 84 AD. (the battle of Mons Graupius in which the Romans defeated the Picts). In the open-air there are reconstructions of buildings and archeological sites from different time periods.
House in AberdeenshireWe continue on our way and take arbitrarily small roads. There we see this pretty house. Because of all the curves in the buildings and often the use of turrets, many houses in Scotland look like small castles. Buildings in Holland are a bit boring, compared to the architecture in most other countries!
Easter Aquhorthies stone circleEaster Aquhorthies is a lying (recumbent) stone circle: a circle of standing stones, with in the middle a lying stone flanked by 2 higher standing stones. This type of stone circles usually dates from the 3rd millennium BC. It is still very fresh, so we soon go back into the car. The rest of the day we pass many more castles (Haughton House, Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle, Drum Castle) and older things (Tomnaverrie Stone Circle and others). This area has a total of around 90 prehistoric and Pictish monuments, so it's a must for the enthusiast. But it would be nice to have dry weather and not too much wind. And we should have made more photographs than we did today.
AberdeenAt the end of the afternoon we have seen a lot of the neighbourhood and go to Aberdeen. The gloomy buildings are mainly made of granite; but the beautiful gardens and parks make the town much brighter and more vivid. Nice enough to spend a few hours, walking around and visiting a pub.
At night we have a long conversation with a Scot who has lived in Holland for some time and therefore speaks a little Dutch. He tells us about an amusing book about the Dutch people, which we can recommend to everybody who wants to know more about the Dutch and their strange habits: The Undutchables. It is available in English as well as in Dutch. We buy it immediately after our holiday and really like it. We have never known we are such a funny people.

 


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