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North of Inverness

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 19 June 2008

Thursday 19 June, north of Inverness

Click here for the route and our photographs in Google Earth.
It is raining when we get up and we stay in the hotel for a long time, also because I have to figure out some things for the website of Iain and Cathy and they have plenty to tell the about the family of Iain and his mother who is dying. Of course we can not say much about things like that, but for us it makes the experience in the country much more intensive and the time it takes is not 'lost'.
Landscape near Shandwick View on ShandwickOnly by noon do we set off, first to the Black Isle, a fertile area on the east coast. In this area you can still find many pictic remains, but we are also charmed by the landscape: vast and flat as in the Netherlands, but different and the colors of the sky makes it even more beautiful!
Pictic stone near ShandwickBefore Shandwick we come across a standing stone wrapped in glass, a Pictish monument. The Picts were the descendants of the Celts who carved many stones in the 6th and 7th centuries with geometrical symbols and animal figures. In the 8th century, Christian motives were suddenly added, indicating that Christianity had been introduced succesfully by that time. The glass shelter around it is obviously of a slightly later date. Not only as protection against the weather, but also against vandals.
Gate Lodge at Whiteface View on the Dornoch FirthAt Whiteface we drive again past the gatelodge that we have seen before. The castle that goes with it is probably Skibo Castle where Madonna married a couple of years ago to Guy Ritchie, but we have never been able to catch a glimpse of the castle itself. Thanks to Google Maps, we now know a little more precisely where it lies so we can pay attention to it next time.
It is a pity that Scotland is not really well covered in GoogleEarth: we can point out exactly our house in the Netherlands, but Scotland is largely a hazy entity where you can not discern detail, especially in the north. Many unknown islands in the Pacific can be seen in much more detail. No idea if Google's competitors are doing better, we will look into that again. However, we are satisfied with our latest purchase, a so-called geotagger, which allows us to link the photos to GoogleEarth so that we always know where we have taken a picture and which route we have driven. In retrospect, we should have read the manual a bit better because it can be much better, but at least we can now view the route and the location of the photos, which is useful for the website. The problem is that I didn't know at the time how to save the route per day so it is now one big trip that we have to unravel ourselves on the computer.
Sallachy country house along Loch ShinAnd of course Google Maps is also useful for the roads that we (I especially) still have to drive in Scotland. Going to Loch Shin I see on the map another road leading there where we have never been. At the end of the road there is a lonely country house and there must be a broch in the lake. A broch is a fortified settlement from the iron age, but despite some walking around we get nothing to see. It is dry but also quite cold and we do not do a lot of effort, but go back to the warm car soon. /div>
Falls of ShinOn the way back we stop at the Harrods of the Highlands, next to the waterfalls of Shin. It is a small wooden shop, not comparable to the Harrods in London, but nice to visit and we always find funny gifts for our friends in Beauly. The waterfalls themselves are known for the salmon that try to jump up against the current but unfortunately we have never seen that, this time neither.
We have a quiet evening in the pub. We meet some more old acquaintances and I have a very nice conversation with a retired Englishman who has lived here for 15 years and does all kinds of jobs for the residents of Beauly (he is an architect). It is funny to see how many English people feel more at ease between the Scots and also consciously choose to live in Scotland. The Scots are fine, but you will never fully belong to the insiders, but just like us a part of the furniture.


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