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The journey to our castle at Arverikie Estate near Loch Laggan

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 11 & 12 March 2003

Tuesday 11 March, the journey to our castle at Arverikie Estate near Loch Laggan

Again we are heading for Scotland, one of our favourite countries. In the aeroplane we discover that some of the memory cards of the digital camera don't work. For a moment we are afraid we won't be able to make any digital pictures, this holiday, but fortunately one 128MB stick is alright.
Elisabeth at Edinburgh AirportThe pilot is a woman and according to Elisabeth we experience the best and smoothest landing ever. What should we conclude from this?
We arrive early at Edinburgh Airport and take a cup of coffee; well, more a cup with the size of a coffeepot. Together, we manage to empty one of them. Around 3 we leave the airport and after 5 minutes we are used to the driving on the left lane. At 5 we arrive at Kinloch Laggan where we can pick up the keys for our castle. The sun was shining when we left Edinburgh, but now the sky is cloudy and sometimes a little rain falls. But the weather forecast is fine. Around us, we see snowy mountains standing out against the dark sky, beautiful.
Sitting room, Gate Lodge Spiral staircase, Gate LodgeFinally we sit in 'our' small castle, the Gate Lodge of Ardverikie Estate. We had made a reservation (and paid) more than a year ago, but now we are finally inside! In the basement is a kitchen, on the ground floor the living room and upstairs a bedroom. Well, 2 in fact, a one-person bedroom and a 2-person bedroom. The staircase connecting the floors is a small spiral staircase that goes through a real turret. Just because of this turret we keep referring to the Gate Lodge as a 'castle'.
Our castle in the darkIt is quite nice and comfortable inside and it is probably much warmer than it used to be 100 or 200 years ago. We feel very fine, here, like at home. The next few days we are lord and lady of the castle.

At night we have a look at our castle from outside. It is chilly, but the skies are clear. Our fairycastle looks beautiful, but we go quickly inside again, to sit in front of the fireplace.
Yes, we could live here!

Wednesday 12 March 2003, Ardverikie Estate, a trip to Pitlochry

View on Loch Laggan Kitchen, Gate LodgeThe first thing we see when we wake up this morning is a beautiful view from our window: the air is crystal clear and we hurry with our breakfast to go outside. The skies are clear but it is really cold.
Tower, Gate Lodge Our castleWe take some pictures of the lodge and then start to walk to see some more of Ardverikie Estate. It is a private estate and only people who stay in one of the lodges can walk around freely. It is an immense area, around 160,000 hectare (400,000 acres according to their website).
Beach Loch LagganThe estate lies next to Loch Laggan in the south of the Scottish Highlands and has a beautiful beach, one of the few lochs which have a beach at all. But we feel it is still a little bit too cold to lie down in our swimming suits.
Ardverikie CastleAfter a few kilometers walking we finally arrive at the castle itself, Ardverikie. But it is also called Glenbogle, well, only in the tv-series Monarch of the Glen. Here lives the family that this soap is all about. We even get a note with a leaflet on which all the times of the filming for the next season are announced, so we know when the estate is totally closed. But the filming starts only after we will leave this place, so we won't get the chance to get supporting roles as curious Dutch tourists.
Bruar waterfall Bruar waterfallAfter a long walk we need a lunch which we take in our own castle kitchen and after that we start driving through the neighbourhood.
At Bruar (somewhat more to the south) we happen to walk into a waterfall as there are many in Scotland. Here Elisabeth shows she has absolutely (not anymore) no fear of heights.
Bruar waterfall BruarAlthough the waterfall is not on our map, it is quite impressive. There are several falls connected, twisting between the rocks as a spiral staircase. There has fallen a lot of snow before we arrived, so there is a lot of meltwater.
Gate Lodge of Blair CastleA bit further to the south we find Castle Blair which we had seen often from the highway (A9) in the distance. But it is closed and we can't visit it. But it has a beautiful Gate Lodge. The laundry hangs outside, so this lodge is inhabited. Bad luck for us...
We end up in Pitlochry, a charming village where we take a long walk. It is now so warm that we can walk without a coat.
In a computershop we explain the problem we have with the memory sticks for the camera but to fix it we need a cable which we left home. So we just have to make a bit less pictures (and we have made already so many over the last few years). But we have a nice talk to the owner of the shop and proudly we show him our website, too, of course.
In a pub we take a break. There are tables outside but is still a bit too cold for that, we think.
Bonskeid HouseIn the neighbourhood we climb a hill to see a Pict cross (Dunfallandy Stone) and then we drive north of Loch Tummel back home. The castle we then see is not on our extensive castlemap (over 1400 castles). Probably it is now a boarding school or something like that.
Gate Lodge of Bonskeid HouseA few kilometers down the road we see this Gate Lodge: empty! Would it be for sale??? Searching on the internet we think the castle above is Fincastle House and this it's gate lodge, but we are not totally sure. So please mail us when you know more about it.
In 2005 we get an email that this is Bonskeid House, but in March 2010 we get the following email: Would you please remove the post regarding my fathers house at Fincastle, ever since you posted he has been getting hassled by people who now think the house is empty. We get enough idiots loitering in the garden without you encouraging more.
We are sorry for any inconvenience; we surely didn't mean to!
This area is littered with prehistoric monuments, often not shown on the big maps. So, it is really worthwhile to buy a more detailed map and search for some of these places. We continue our way through the hills, do some shopping in Newtonmore and enjoy our evening in our warm castle. A delightful day to get accustomed to Scotland again.


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