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To Beauly, Inverness, Plockton and the western coast

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 19 to 21 July 2000

Wednesday 19 July, to Beauly, Inverness, Plockton and the western coast

Falls of DochartLess than a week to go and like on all holidays, the second half seems to go much faster than the first half. We have driven through the whole of Scotland, thousands of kilometers and now we want to go back to an area we would like to see again and explore further: the Highlands. First we drive to the village Killin to have a look at the Falls of Dochart, just before the river Dochart flows into Loch Tay.
We are out of L.P.G. again, so we go to Oban first. Yesterday it had taken already a long time to refuel, today it takes even longer. In the end, the employee remembers he has forgotten to order more gas and that the gas tank now is totally empty. So we have made a long detour for nothing. Through Fort William and the Great Glen, along Loch Ness and Castle Urquhart we drive straight to Beauly, to the Caledonian Hotel, where we have had the most pleasant time this journey.
ScotlandWe have not announced our coming back, for there were only few tourists and nowhere we have found a place where reservations were necessary, so we just hope they still will have a place for us. They are quite surprised and they seem really happy we have returned. Well, we surely, are very happy. We have arrived early and before we know, we have been talking and chattering for hours, like old friends. Yes, we sure like it here.

Thursday 20 July 2000, to Inverness

After breakfast with scrambled and cooked eggs, we leave for Inverness, to fill up our L.P.G. tank. Iain has given us a list with all gas stations in Scotland where they sell L.P.G. on one of the first days already and we have been to this place in Inverness many times before. A nice man runs the bussiness: 5 minutes to refuel, half an hour to chat. For a few days we hear this strange squeaking noise near the front wheels, probably something with our brakes, so we ask him if he knows anybody who can help us with it. He sends us to a garage at the edge of the town, owned by friends of his. When we arrive there, we leave the car behind and are being driven into the centre of the town. We will call after a few hours.
Bagpiper in Inverness Elisabeth in InvernessInverness is the largest town in the Highlands and lies at the mouth of the river Ness. For one day there is plenty to see, for example the sandstone castle in the centre. And there are of course bagpipers playing on some points in the city.
After quite a lot of walking we deserve a short break. We buy a sandwich and something to drink and sit down in one of the parks along the Ness. All at once, Teije sees a penny lying in the bushes behind us and then another. Elisabeth starts to poke in the bushes as well and after 15 minutes we have gathered more than a pound. A profitable break!
In the afternoon we walk all the way down to the garage, get lost, but in the end find it again. The car is ready and it doesn't cost us more than £ 20,-, for adjusting our brakes on the front, the shoes on the back and 2 liters of oil. We were afraid it would be much more, considering the high prices everywhere in Scotland and the hourly wages.
It was too late to make a long drive, so we stayed in the neighbourhood and just drove about a bit. We can't precisely recall what we did this day, but surely we did enjoy ourselves, we mostly do.
Cromarty FirthWe recall driving to the peninsula northwest of Inverness and along the coast of Cromarty Firth, but that wasn't spectaculair, with all the drilling rigs in the water. I think we were 'home' early to have a good rest and a pleasant time in the pub.

Friday 21 July 2000, Plockton and the western coast

Wester Ross Palm trees in PlocktonFor the last time we want to visit the west coast and possibly the Isle of Skye. Several people have told us we must see Plockton, the subtropical 'paradise' of Scotland.
Through the Wester Ross (Glen Docharty) with it's highly located, narrow and winding roads, along various bays, we arrive at Plockton.
It really is a nice place one shouldn't miss, when in the neighbourhood: scenic, picturesque and a pleasant climate, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream from Mexico.
The bay of Plockton Cows in PlocktonAlong the waterfront and throughout the village, palm trees are scattered and everywhere the cattle walks about freely. Especially the landscape and the environment make this village so idyllic: on one side the sea and on the other side an inhospitable landscape with bare rocks, heather and pine tree woods.
Near Plockton Telephone booth, PlocktonIt is an extremely pleasant place to spend a few hours, to walk around or just stay at the waterside.

After this refreshing break, we drive towards the Skye Bridge. Recently, Skye can also be reached by car, but you have to pay toll, about £ 6,- for a single trip. We have only a few hours for the whole island, so we decide to save Skye for another visit.
Eilean Donan castleSo instead, we go visit Eilean Donan Castle, a very impressive ruin as it lies between three Lochs. According to the travel guides it is the most photographed castle in Scotland. Originally it was build in the 13th century, but what you see now is a complete rebuild carried out in the early 1900's. You have to watch your step when visiting the castle, it can be quite slippery on the stairs.
Parts of the movies Highlander and Braveheart have been filmed here.
After visiting the castle we take a crossroad along Loch Long. It is a very narrow road and now and then very steep. Just before the village Killilan there is a wooden bridge, but it looks so ramshackle that we turn around and follow our way through Glen Shiel, a beautiful mountain landscape. After a nice trip, soon we recognise the road back to Beauly. As if we have been there a hundred times.
Back in the hotel we find it crowded with people. It is Domino-night, an annual championship where a lot of villagers take part in and even more people are present as spectators. The atmospere is very festive and we enjoy ourselves excellently. Also we get the answer on the question what is worn beneath a kilt: nothing; that is, when a real Scotsman wears a kilt he wears nothing underneath. If the tourists who buy a kilt as souvenir (and walk around in them, yes they really do, on the boat we saw a drunken and noisy German clothed in a kilt!) wear underwear we do not know. But they explained us that with a kilt you certainly don't need any underwear.


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