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The northern Highlands

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 20 September 2001

Thursday 20 September, the northern Highlands

Iain and ElisabethIain, our hotelier, told us last year he is so annoyed with tourists who want to be shown around, but we think it is a bit his own fault, too. After breakfast he tells us more about the history of Beauly and the neighbourhood and then offers to drive us around. We are interested in history, so he drives us around for more than two hours along all the historic sites around Beauly. Like many Scottish people he knows a lot about the area's history, so it is quite instructive. Of course, we have forgotten half ot it already, but that doesn't matter.
Stonecircle near Beauly Stonecircle near BeaulyFirst we go to a meadow, a little south of Beauly, with a stone circle in a corner. No sign, although the circle is fairly complete... No tourists ever come here.
Stonecircle in a gardenThen we go on to a house where a stone circle is part of the garden. The garden has become overgrown with weeds, but a few stones still can be seen. We want a garden like that! The inhabitants are not home, so we walk a bit around in the garden.
Graveyard of the Lovat familyIn Iain's jeep we are shown the whole environment of Beauly, the monuments and memorials. Like the one for a soldier who didn't want to fight in the Jacobite wars, but had to from his wife and then died in the war.
On the picture we are on a cemetary (of an imperious clan, the Lovats) on a hill where there used to be a fortress. It is quite steep to climb, but a lovely place.
Back at the hotel we have a look at the map. Do we still have time to visit the northern coast? We decide we have to take a somewhat shorter itinerary than we first had in mind. Via Dingwall, past Evanton, where one can see a peculiar building on a hilltop, the Fyrish monument. It was made by Sir Hector Munrob at the end of the 18th century to provide jobs for the people in the neighbourhood and to commemorate his capture of some Indian city. The construction looks like an Indian gate, but from a distance it's hard to see it well.
Dunrobin CastleNear Golspie we take a look at Dunrobin Castle, just from the outside. We have seen so many interiors of castles now that we are satisfied with a picture of the outside.
Strath of Kildonan Strath of KildonanAt Helmsdale we leave the A9, towards the Strath of Kildonan, onto the A897. Small, twisting roads with only very little oncoming traffic. The sky turns dark and after some time we drive in clouds of fog.
A deserted roadThe hills slowly disappear and the land really becomes lonely and desolate, a gloomy landscape. It is still a long way to the coast and the road is a straight line, going north endlessly. And no traffic at all.
Castle near Thurso DunnetheadJust before the coast the road widens and turns to Thurso in the east and to Tongue in the west. We drive through Thurso, where we pass this small castle, towards Dunnethead.
Dunnethead is the most northern point of the British mainland. To be honest, we find it a boring place (aren't we spoiled!!!) and not worth visiting again. The same is true for John O'Groats which lies on the eastern point. A windy square with some buildings around them. Not even worth taking a picture of!
It is getting dark and via the A9 we drive back to Beauly. It is already too late to visit places like the castle at Wick and the Hill o'Many Stones, so we drive back in one go. We don't think we will visit this part of Scotland again soon, only maybe once to visit the castle and the stones.


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