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Driving through Speyside

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Friday 20 June, driving through Speyside

Click here for the route and our photographs in Google Earth.
Today we go visit Speyside, an area east of Inverness. Speyside is known for its many distilleries and is also called the whiskey area of Scotland where many single malt whiskeys come from. Single malt means that the whiskey comes from 1 distillery in contrast to the 'blended' varieties that are mixed from multiple distilleries. Teije likes whiskey but does not drink it that often and if he buys it then it is in the Netherlands, because there it is a lot cheaper.
As far as the weather is concerned, we have been lucky so far; it is fresh but not as cold and rainy as predicted. Today we have a lot of sun and a lot of rain. When we arrive at Randolph's Leap, the sun suddenly disappears and it begins to rain. We note the spot for a next time and go first to the nearby Logie Steading where we find a very nice bookstore with a lot of information about Scotland. Wigtown in Ayrshire is the book city of Scotland, but a lover of anything Scottish can certainly find nice things here. We also do not come out empty-handed.
Randolph’s Leap Randolph’s LeapAnd outside the sun is shining again, so we immediately go back to Randolph's Leap, the narrowest part of a gorge in the Findhorn river. According to tradition, 4 men jumped over the gap after they had been trapped with their army, but it was not Randolph but his opponent Alastair with 3 companions who made the jump, so why it is called after Randolph we don't know.
Randolph’s LeapThe river is now calm and peaceful, but in 1829 it rained after a dry and hot summer for 3 days in a row and the river rose almost 17 meters on this spot! Huge boulders were swept away and the entire valley of the river was thoroughly destroyed. Two tidal stones indicate how high the water was at that time.
House at Randolph’s LeapAfter our walk through the forest and along the river we see another cute Scottish house nearby: in this country there are thousands and I can get such a jealous feeling when I see something like that. The expression "my home is my castle " is undoubtedly from Scotland where that saying is often a reality. The houses are not puppet houses, but could be usaed in any fairy tale. Like the log cabins belong to Scandinavia, these castle houses fit in Scotland.
Pluscarden Abbey Cemetary Pluscarden AbbeyAfter that we drive again all kinds of new roads and we come across something nice, like Pluscarden Abbey at Barnhill, founded in the 13th century. Very special is the cemetery with wooden crosses, some of which have a 'roof'. The data shows that many of the monks here had a decent age, often 90 years or older. Would a monk's life be so healthy then?
Church at MiltonduffNearby is a Roman church and according to the placement on GoogleEarth we took the picture in the same place as that of the abbey. Just before the holiday started, we bought a so-called geotagger in order to give our photos a geographical position. Then we do not have to search for hours afterwards where we took a specific photo. But we had better go through the manual a bit better in advance. The batteries are regularly empty and then the route becomes a straight line to the point where they are recharged. And we always left it in the car when we went out ourselves so that the position of the car is indicated instead of the real place where we take a photograph.
Tower at MiltonduffAnd sometimes the time of the camera does not completely matches the devices. This also applies to this photo taken in the neighborhood of Miltonduff, a bit northeast of Pluscarden Abbey. We still write about when and where we take a picture, but in this case Teije can not read his own handwriting anymore.
Almost black Scottish flagThe same story also applies to the black Scottish flag, which you do not often see, and is used especially in commemoration ceremonies. The flag was conceived by Siol nan Gaidheal, a cultural organization that focuses primarily on the history of Scotland and strives for independence, as a symbol of the loss of the sovereignty of Scotland. But maybe the flag is only very discolored ...
House at Mosstowie Tower at Mains of BurgieAt Mosstowie we see again a gatekeeper's house but we can not find a castle, and at Mains of Burgie a separate castle tower, the remnant of Burgie Castle from the 16th century.
We drive criss-cross through the area south of the A86 and we are surprised that it is such a forested area. This environment is less spectacular in nature than the Highlands or the west coast, but well worth it if you deviate from the main roads.
Ruïns Blervie CastleSlightly south of Forres we pass the ruin of Blervie Castle, just like Burgie Castle built by the Dunbar family around 1600. Near the tower are four large standing stones, which were part of a larger prehistoric stone circle.
It is already at the end of the afternoon and the temperature quickl drops. The temperature has fluctuated during the day between 9 and 21 degrees and then it is great to have your own transport: in the rain and the cold we are just in the car with the heating on; in the sun we go outside, as you can see from the photos. Now we first go to 'home', our own place in Beauly. Tomorrow we are going to a new home, a house that we have rented on the west coast at Plockton. And now hope that the weather forecasts are not correct, just like the past few days. Because according to the doom thinkers it remains 10 to 15 degrees and very rainy.


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