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To Beauly, Dornoch, Golspie, and nice Scottish sceneries


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 15 & 16 March 2004

Monday 15 March, to Beauly, Dornoch, Golspie, and nice Scottish sceneries

Circumstances dictated that we had to change our holiday plans for this year and therefore we now 'have to' travel to Scotland instead of the whole month of August as we had planned. We don't know if we have time left this year for a long holiday, but going to Scotland for two weeks now, feels very good. Last year we visited Scotland also in this time of year; then we left our castle lodge on the 15th of March and drove to Beauly.
Our flight goes at 3 in the afternoon so we have plenty of time to go to Schiphol. The weather forecast for the Netherlands is very promising, with maybe even temperatures up to 20 degrees Celsius, but for Scotland a lot of rain is expected. We don't care too much about a bit of rain, since we come for the country not for the weather. And we haven't seen much rain until now in Scotland, so maybe this time we will see the 'real' Scotland everybody always seems to talk about: always cold and rainy. We don't know it that way, yet.
Nice weather in ScotlandThe plane is delayed a bit but at four thirty (English time, one hour earlier than in Holland) we land at Edinburgh airport. And indeed, it rains when we get into our rental car. But to our big surprise the sun starts to shine only five minutes later, although the whole sky was clouded. The weather gods look down on us in favour, again. Therefore we take a picture from the car now and then, as prove that it really is very nice weather.
Nice Scottish housesThis time we take the A9, directly to Inverness and then the A835 to Beauly. It is a three hour drive but we have to wait quite often for road works. We don't care too much, but it is always nice to drive with daylight so we can see a bit of the country.
But there are more nice things in Scotland, like the houses with their shapes and curves and often even with turrets, and we get to see a few on the way. This is our fifth time in Scotland but we are still charmed by this country and its inhabitants. We feel totallky at home when we are here and even driving on the left side of the road feels quite normal, as if we do it all the time.
It is dark when we arrive at Beauly where we stay at the Caledonian hotel, owned by our friends Iain and Cathy. We get a very warm welcome and even a hot meal. We have quite some talking to catch up and we go to bed late. Yes, we definitely feel at home here!

Tuesday 16 March 2004, Dornoch, Golspie, and nice Scottish sceneries

We sleep quite late and linger long in the hotel, talking to Iain and Cathy. When we drive away we first go to Inverness and then to the north. We have been in this area before, but there are still many roads to explore. We have our old map, which is hold together by tape, with us; on it we have marked all the roads we have been onto, until now.
River Alness DornochOur first stop is in Dornoch, a small village which seems to be well known for it's golf course, the 11th in the world. The village was founded is the 11th century and there are still many old, colourful houses and next to the castle even an old-fashioned jail (to the right).
Dornoch DornochThe last witch in Scotland was burned alive at Dornoch (1722), in a cauldron with boiling tar. A small stone in the back garden of someone, near the nice beach and the golf course, commemorates this atrocity.
Dornoch Loch FleetThe castle (here on the background, originally a fortified bishop's palace) and the cathedral dominate the friendly village, which seems a bit sleepy today.
We drive on towards Loch Fleet where we can see seals sunbathing on a sandbank. One can see them often here when the tide is low, but our camera's are not good enough to get a better look of them. Many people park here and watch them through binoculars.
Golspie GolspieFor a while we search for Skilbo castle, the one where Madonna held her marriage, but we can't find it; it lies probably somewhere hidden in the woods. But we see enough other nice houses and streets, like here in Golspie.
Castle Dunrobin Castle DunrobinNear Golspie we visit Dunrobin Castle, once home of the family Sutherland. It has 189 rooms and looks like it belongs in some fairy tale. The family once was the biggest landowner of Europe and notorious for the many cruelties it committed against its tenants.
Castle Dunrobin Castle DunrobinThe romance of castles is often overshadowed by the gruesome deeds which were committed in and from the castles. The Sutherlands chased away 15,000 people from their lands, often with violence, to use the land for the more profitable sheep breeding. But the tenants lost their land and therefore their means of income.
SutherlandFrom Dunrobin we now drive inland to see some more typical Scottish nature. The views are beautiful and often we stop to take a picture. The land becomes hilly and in the distance we can already see the mountains.
Sutherland SutherlandThe roads are narrow but there is not much traffic. Now and then we see a house in the distance or, like on the picture to the right, a digging machine, lost in the scenery. We enjoy the quietness of the landscape, this is really a nice area to drive through.
Albino HighlanderThen we are eye to eye with a few Scottish Highlanders, a couple of fat bulls and a nice albino. They are very curious and we can make a few nice close-up pictures.
At night we get a big meal made by Iain and Cathy and we talk for some time with them. Fortunately, we stay more than a week, so we will have time enough to see them and today we turn in early. SWe still have to recover a bit from the 'jet lag'.

 


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