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Via Aberdeenshire to Beauly, Strathglass

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 15 & 16 March 2003

Saturday 15 March, via Aberdeenshire to Beauly, Strathglass

Goodbye to our Gate Lodge Grampian MountainsRegrettably, we have to say goodbye to the Gate Lodge, but our holiday isn't over yet, and we have many beautiful things and places to see.
There is no direct way to the east through the Grampian Mountains, so we first have to drive south to Pitlochry and then back north in the direction of Braemar. The area is waste and reminds us of Norway and Finland near the polar circle. A few ski runs are still open.
Braemar CastleNear Braemar we pass the compact castle. In Braemar the first Highland Games were held in the 11th century, to choose the bravest and strongest men from several clans for the army.
We are now in Aberdeenshire, a region filled with castles, stone circles and other historical treasures. The only thing we really want to see today is Dunnotar Castle near Stonehaven (a bit south of Aberdeen) and after that we have to travel to Beauly in the north (near Inverness). It is a long drive, so we don't have many time for breaks.
Dunnotar CastleDunnotar Castle is build on a cliff which descends steeply into the sea on three sides. To come there we have to walk down a steep path and then up again. This is one of the most impressive castles in Scotland, mainly because of its location. The oldest parts of the castle date back to the 9th century.
Dunnotar CastleIn the past the castle has seen some very horrible events, like the siege by William Wallace in 1297 who let a whole English garrison burn alive; in 1685, 167 prisoners (with 45 women among them) were held in a small chamber, tortured and killed.
Dunnotar Castle Dunnotar CastleThe area on the cliff is rather extensive and there are many buildings from several eras. We need more than two hours for our visit. Although it is only March, there are a lot of visitors and tourists.
When we leave, we take a few German hitchhikers to Stonehaven and we are really in need of some coffee. After this break we take the shortest road to Beauly, since it is quite late already.
Our friends Iain and Cathy are totally surprised when we enter the Caledonian hotel. They knew we would be coming, but not exactly when since they lost our last email. After a few hours talking with some drinks we want to take a rest in our room to come back later to the pub. But we are so tired of the long trip and the long walks we made, that we can't keep our eyes open and we fall asleep.

Sunday 16 March 2003, around Beauly, Strathglass

We wake up late, but totally refreshed and we long for breakfast. Well, we get one, but in the hotel opposite the square, since Iain has slept late, too. We drink some coffee with him and then we are on our way. But we want to have a quiet day and just drive around a bit in the neighbourhood.
StrathglassWe have bought a very detailed map of the neighbourhood of Beauly so we can easily find the nicest places. Hidden in meadows we find stone circles and the remainder of old forts. And of course, inhabited houses on really beautiful spots.
Tomich At the Plodda FallsWe drive through Strathglass, the valley through which the river Beauly flows, southwards. A dead end road brings us into Tomich, a very well preserved Victorian village.
A few kilometers further, after a steep forest track, we arrive in an arboreous area where we come across the Plodda Falls. As on many other places there are some nice walking routes here. We find a cascade and think it looks nice, but not really impressive. Then we walk a bit further in this lovely area and we find the real falls.
Plodda Falls Plodda FallsA narrow bridge is made exactly over the waterfall, but there is also a path leading down to halfway the waterfall. The water falls down for tens of meters and it is a very noisy but very attractive place.
At the Plodda FallsAfter a long walk we have a picknick on the parking lot near Plodda Falls. More people have the same idea, probably since the weather is so nice.
Corrimony cairn Glen UrquhartThen we drive towards Drumnadrochit. When we pass Corrimony, where a well-known tombhill is located, we take a look, again. Our detailed map shows us many more graves, cairns and stonecircles, but this partly restored one is more impressive than any other one.
We return early in the afternoon to the Caledonian hotel and spend the rest of the day with Iain and Cathy. We haven't seen them for a long time and so we have much to tell each other. We had brought Iain cigars as a present, but now he tells us he quit smoking! Well, the locals who enter the pub now and then do smoke them and some of them still know us from former visits. It is a nice evening and we enjoy talking to everybody. Cups are filled before they are empty, even when Elisabeth protests against it.
But we are still reasonably sober when we go to sleep.


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