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To Drumnadrochit, Speyside, cold and rainy days

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 18 to 20 March 2004

Thursday 18 March, to Drumnadrochit, Speyside, cold and rainy days

It is great that we don't have be on time for breakfast here, so we can sleep late. After breakfast we stay in for a few hours to chat with Iain and Cathy, enjoying coffee and tea. But in the afternoon we have to get out for a while now the morning drizzle has ended.
View on Loch Ness View on Loch NessThere is a direct road from Beauly over a plateau to Drumnadrochit but also a lot of single track roads between this road and Loch Ness and we have never explored them, so today is a nice day to do that. As often this area also offers a wide variety of landscapes: sometimes barren plains, heather fields and dense woods. Right to Loch Ness the area has quite a high altitude since we have to descend a long and steep road to arrive at the lake.
Lucky as we are, we shoot a few pictures of the monster of Loch Ness, but we won't show you for fear we will become too famous. It is a wooden stick, stuck in the bottom, but since there is a fierce wind we see the top of the stick coming out of the waves as if there is a beast swimming, surfacing now and then.
Drumnadrochit DrumnadrochitAt Drumnadrochit we visit this time the southern Monster Exhibition. In 2000 we have been to the northern one and after this visit we conclude that the northern exhibition is much better. W pay £ 4.75 for a 20-minute movie which looks quite amateurish and we have seen most of it already on Discovery Channel.
From Drumnadrochit we drive via Inverness to the southeast and take a turn at Carrbridge. From there we drive back to the north. Another region where we haven't been so often. When we turn off the highway there is suddenly a flock of ibexes, big brown greyish animals with long horns, quietly grazing along the road. They probably have fled the cold (it is almost freezing) and the snow to lower areas. But the road is very narrow and too busy to stop for a picture.
Desolate plainsAnd again we reach a plateau, most of it covered with heather. When the sky is heavily cloudy it can look very dark and gloomy here, but within minutes the colours can change because of the light shining differently on the landscape. It looks never the same, that is one of the reasons of the beauty of Scotland.
We also see a lot of game today and some inhabitants have even placed roadsigns warning for young pheasants and squirrels. We see dozens of pheasants and sometimes we have to brake firmly for them. Furthermore we see a lot of hares and rabbits and sometimes in the distance bigger animals that we cannot identify.
Church, Forres Findhorn riverNear Forres we run into this medieval church, like there are so many in Scotland. It is funny that they stand sometimes on places, just like often the case with castles, that you would never expect to see them. The same is true about the sometimes surprising views.
It is very chilly, today, and we return to the hotel early where we are welcomed with a big dinner. At night we spend some pleasant hours in the pub having conversations and arguments. The Scottish like a good argument, but as far as we know, it never ends in a fight. Strange fellows sometimes, the Scottish, but very friendly. We feel quite at home with them.

Friday 19 March 2004, a rainy and cold day, Dingwall

It is cold and rainy outside, worse weather than we have ecer had in Scotland. Over the last 4 years we have had only twice a rainy day, and then only for a few hours; also some days with a drizzle but that has been it. This holiday makes up for all the bad weather we have missed.
Pub Caley hotelWell, we have promised Iain and Cathy to make a website for their hotel, so this is a perfect time to start. We start testing some ideas about the layout and colours and ask their opinion. After a few hours we have got an idea how they want it. We also take some pictures of the interior of the hotel, for example of the bar, which is now our workroom.
Dingwall DingwallAbout four o'clock the sun starts shining and we decide to take advantage of it for a few hours. At Dingwall we drive up a hill to visit the monument (National Memorial, build between 1904 and 1907) on a cemetery. From the hill we have a nice view on the village and the surrounding mountains.
Monument DingwallThe tower itself is closed and we cannot climb it. A pity, since the view must be even better from up there, without the trees blocking a part of the view. Dingwall is the birthplace of MacBeth and we read that his descendants still live there, in some deteriorated castle.
RainbowFrom Dingwall we go on to the west and take a turn into Strath Bran. But the blue sky suddenly turns into grey and soon we find ourselves in the middle of a snowstorm. The road becomes slippery and we decide we can better drive back. On the way back the sun comes out again and we see a few beautiful rainbows, much bigger than we ever have seen in Holland. Maybe that is because they look much closer to us, sometimes we can see the end of it less than 50 meters away. We could have collected quite a few pots of gold, but we are lazy and enjoy the spectacle from our warm car.
Fairburn nursery homeNear Marybank we come upon this remote castle. It is not on our castle map, but it looks like a castle-like country house. It is Fairburn House, a nursery home on a very special location! Maybe a nice place for us when we grow a bit older?
It is friday and there are more people in the pub than usual. We are having a real good time and go to bed much later than we have planned. But it is our holiday, so who cares. We can also sleep late, here, and the weather forecast for tomorrow is very bad, even worse than today, so we probably stay in.

Saturday 20 March 2004, we stay inside today

Beauly square Room Caledonian hotelThe weather forecast is right for once: the weather is terrible and very ugly when we look outside our window in the morning. Therefore we install ourselves in the pub and after breakfast we continue working on the website for the Caledonian hotel, the place where we stay. We have finished most of it and you can see the result at www.fishinn.com. We make a few more pictures of the rooms and from outside the hotel when it is dry for a few minutes, but we have work enough to stay inside for the rest of the day. Note: in 2015 Iain and Cath retired and although they still own the place they don't run a hotel anymore.
Iain and Cathy provide us with lots of teapots and although they don't know how to build a website, they surely appreciate the result that is slowly growing. At the end of the day we are also quite happy with what we have made. There is still a lot to be done, but we can do that when we are back in Holland.
Live music in the pubAt night a group of youngsters appear in the pub with a guitar and we have live music throughout the evening, especially songs from the sixties and seventies (which we like, most of the time). Outside it is cold and wet, inside it is cozy and warm. After the pub is officially closed we stay with a few others and play cards. It must be beginners luck but we return to our room with more pocket money than we began with. Well, it's just for fun and fun we surely did have today and tonight!


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