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Even more castles and antiquities

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 11 September 2016

Sunday 11 September, even more castles and antiquities

Corgarff castle at Cock Bridge Beware of ducks at Loch GartenFrom our house we drive today up into the mountains first. Soon we see our first castle of the day: Corgarff. Built in the 16th century with a residential tower but in the 18th century converted into soldiers barracks. It is standing there quite alone right in the middle of the plain. But don't feel like walking towards it and drive on, taking the most southerly road possible to Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten. Here are all kinds of small roads through the woods that we do not know yet. Near Loch Garten we pass a duck farm where we are warned to drive carefully.
The Cairngorms at Bridge of BrownOn the lower parts of the Cairngorms, many forests and pine trees grow, but a little higher the slopes become bare, with only low bushes and heather. There is a chilly wind and we find it too cold to walk although Loch Garten is a perfect place to make hikes. Here is the Osprey Visitor Center and in the spring there is a pair of ospreys breeding. But there are many more birds and animals to see in this area. We continue our trip to the edge of the national park where we see the remains of Castle Drumin.
The remains of Drumin castle Castle DruminAt Drumin at the intersection of the rivers Livet and Avon are the remains of a tower house where little is known about. The land was in the 14th century given to Alexander Stewart who was later called the 'Wolf of Badenoch' and was especially notorious for the destruction of Elgin and the cathedral there. But probably later a castle was built here that fell into disrepair from the beginning of the 18th century. Strange, since it was in a very strategic location and had walls of 2 meters thick. What is still there, looks very solid.
Entrance gate and gatelodge of Ballindalloch castle Coat of Arms Touch not the cat bone a cloveFrom Drumin we drive the B9008 along the Avon to the north and at the town of Bridge of Avon we see a gate with a guard house that especially attracts Elisabeth a lot. It is an exit of the Ballindalloch estate that we want to look at more extensively tomorrow. Above the gate is the motto of the clan Macpherson-Grant 'Touch not the cat bot a glove' which means: do not touch the cat without gloves. In the 15th century, when the castle was built, there was quite a struggle between the different clans and they wanted to indicate that others had to be carefull with them.
Pictish stone in Inveraven Church Inveraven church at BelleheiglashA few kilometers further we visit Inveraven Church from 1806 but probably in 600 AD there was already a chapel on the steep rock above the Avon. There are a number of Pictish stones on display, at least one of which is also found on this spot, namely the stone on the photo. That was used in the foundation of the church that was built in 1108 on this spot. Clearly, people did not have that much respect for these monuments any more at that time. Scholars still do not agree on the meaning of the figures. There is an eagle with above it a figure that is being interpreted as a mirror.
The Picts, who made these stones, still remain a mystery, they did not really have a written language and disappeared quite abruptly while they had dominated Scotland for centuries.
Dufftown Clock Tower In the Coffee Pot, DufftownVia inland roads we end up in Dufftown, a little past the Glenfiddich distillery. The town presents itself as the malt whisky capital of Scotland and there are a lot of distilleries to be found here, but that goes for the whole area (Speyside). There is a whisky museum that is crowded on this Sunday afternoon and according to the wikipedia the British government earns in Dufftown the most money per inhabitant purely because of the taxes on whisky. We are going inside the Coffee Pot for a hot cup of coffee without whisky.
Balvenie castle or what is left of itSlightly outside the center, in Glen Fiddich, is the ruin of castle Balvenie from the 13th century. Part of the castle is reasonably well preserved and it is managed by Historic Scotland, the counterpart of the National Trust of Scotland.
The castle also lent its name to a nearby distillery that also produces a number of single malt whiskys with the name Balvenie.
Boundary stone at the entrance to a farm, somewhere near Dufftown And now we get lostOn the way back home we pass an access road with 2 small columns in front of it. Elisabeth is convinced that behind such an entrance there must be an estate with a castle, but if we look it up on the internet later, it appears that there is only a farmhouse. Another illusion lost.
We are not far from home anymore when we see this signpost to Lost. So we are not very lost. The board is stolen regularly and therefore the board of Aberdeenshire decided to change the name of the village to Lost Fram. There was worldwide protest against it and the village may now keep the name Lost. But the sign on the signpost is now welded to it and the post is poured into a piece of concrete.
At home we have to put the heating high because it gets fresh quickly but it is a comfortable house and we have a nice quiet evening.


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