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To the Black Isle, shopping in Ft. William

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 18 & 19 May 2011

Wednesday 18 May, to the Black Isle, shopping in Ft. William

After yesterday's long drive, we are going to take things a little bit slower today. After a pleasant morning with Cathy and Iain we first walk through the village of Beauly and then we want to go on the road.
The door is lockedWe could enter the hotel through the back door, they said. But it is well barricaded as you see in the photo. And that on both sides of the door, so we do not just come back in again. Nobody answers the front door and in the end we call them by phone so they can let us in to get our belongings so that we can travel with the car.
Fortrose Cathedral Pub at FortroseWe drive to Fortrose, 10 kilometers north of Inverness, where the ruin of a 13th century cathedral stands. The infamous Oliver Cromwell was responsible for this, he took the building material for the fortress in Inverness from here. Like many buildings in this area, the cathedral was made of red sandstone, which was mined a lot in this area.
Fortrose Restaurant at FortroseFurthermore Fortrose is an insignificant village but like all Scottish villages it has very nice houses and pubs. Something I miss in the Netherlands! There, old buildings are often demolished to be replaced by new ones, while here the old houses are often completely isolated and refurbished from the inside so that nothing is changed on the outside and everything seems quite original and old.
Pub at Rosemarkie Telephone near KilmuirThen we drive on to Rosemarkie where we meet this pub along the road. But despite the banner with 'Good pub food' it is closed and we drive back to Inverness via the Black Isle. There we explore some roads where we have never driven before, at least according to Teije. They are narrow roads and we meet a very angry woman when we do not get out of the way quickly enough. Then she should not live that far out!
Even in these remote areas there are telephone booths.
We are back in time at the hotel where we again, unasked, get a nice meal. We spend the evening with our friends, in one way or another we always have enough to discuss. Only a few pictures, no big adventures, but we still had a wonderful day.

Thursday 19 May 2011, Shopping in Ft. William

It is Thursday and we know that on that day a market is held in Fort William where a couple sells beautiful stone statuettes. We have been taking a number home for a couple of years now, but they are very heavy so there are always new ones that we do not have yet. There is also a little shop with t-shirt with nice inscriptions we want to visit when we are in Ft. William."
Mountains near Spean Bridge Mountains from the Commando MemorialThe distance is about 100 kilometers, but it takes almost 2 hours to get there because of the roads, especially if you stop once and again to take a picture. Near Spean Bridge we see the first peaks of the Ben Nevis area. The highest mountain in the United Kingdom is the Ben Nevis with 1,345 meters and it has snow for a large part of the year, even today.
The Commando Memorial Mountains from the Commando MemorialFrom the Commando Memorial one has a beautiful view of the mountains, just past Spean Bridge, at the intersection of the A82 and the B8004 which goes to the west. It is a monument for the British Commandos who trained in this area during the 2nd World War. From the Spean Bridge train station, the soldiers (after a 14-hour train journey) had to walk to the training center within an hour: 11 kilometers with a 16 kilo pack. Who was not there within an hour was immediately sent back.
It is really cold! Dark skiesWe come here regularly and occasionally stop to look around. But there is a strong wind today and without a jacket it is very cold.
Besides being the most famous war memorial in Scotland, it has also become a tourist spot because of the beautiful view you have here. There is also a Garden of Remembrance where the ashes are still occasionally scattered from deceased war commandos, also from later wars such as those in Iraq.
Main street in Fort WilliamSoon after, we are in a rainy Fort William where the shopping street is very deserted. Fortunately, we still find some nice new statues for our garden but no t-shirts with funny texts. The figurines are made according to a special process and are black-gray and very heavy. They can withstand frost and we have never seen such figurines anywhere else. And they are relatively cheap. The most expensive we ever bought, a water bowl for birds, 60 centimeters high with a squirrel and fairy on the foot, was only 20 pounds.
Train station, Kyle of LochalshAlthough the weather does not cooperate very well, we take the long route via Invergarry and then to the west, to Kyle of Lochalsh at the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Especially the last part is a beautiful route. In terms of nature there is nothing more beautiful than the northern west coast of Scotland (we think).
We stop at the train station where there is a connection with Inverness and have a coffee. It is occasionally dry but when we drive back we find it too cold and too gloomy to make pictures so we do not have much today.
In Beauly we meet even more old acquaintances and we talk until late in the evening because it is our last night here. Tomorrow we go a bit to the south and then the day after tomorrow to the island of Arran where we have rented a house for a week.


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