Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 15 to 17 May 2017
Monday 15 May, a few short trips in Moray
Teije really doesn't feel well and has a high fever so he decides to go to the first aid of the hospital in Inverness. After a long wait and a few tests, he appears to have a throat and ear infection. Rest, painkillers and an antibiotic cure is the solution. But that also means that we do not go out as often as we would like. Eventually he will continue to suffer the whole holiday, not really an optimal situation.
But every now and then we take a short break because Iain and Cathy also have dogs and if Teije is allergic to something it is dogs and cats. Then we are better off outside in the fresh air. And it is fresh when we drive to Findhorn, a small town along a large bay. The place is best known for the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual community where a few hundred people from many different countries live, probably more than there are Scots. There are a lot of workshops that teach you how to apply spiritual values in your daily life. Everyone is welcome.
Findhorn is not far from Forres where we drive to the Nelson Tower. We pass a beautiful castle that is in the middle of a residential area. The Nelson Tower is at the top of Cluny Hill and towers high above Forres. The tower was built as a memorial to Admiral Lord Nelson, a sort of folk hero in the 18th century who helped to ensure that the British Empire gained the upper hand on all oceans. As admiral on a ship he often seems to have been seasick. In 1794 he lost sight in Corsica in his right eye. When he was instructed in the battle of Denmark to withdraw, he thought the battle could still be won. He looked with his blind eye through the binoculars at the command ship and said: I do not see a signal. The expression 'to turn a blind eye' has come from here. And of course he won the sea battle.
The tower is managed by volunteers and we are there just at a time when the tower can be visited (between 2 and 4). I am happy to stay below because the walk through the forest here was long enough and occasionally steep. But Teije trudges alongside the retired man and fortunately the old man has a lot to tell about the history of the tower and Forres so they can go up quietly. The tower is 21 meters high and has 93 steps, a steep climb, but from above you have a magnificent 360-degree view of Forres, the Findhorn bay and the woods around the tower.
Then we walk over the grounds of Kinloss Abbey, which was once one of the largest and wealthiest abbeys in Scotland. With the arrival of the reformation the abbey lost its power and in 1650 many stones of the abbey were sold to Oliver Cromwell for the construction of a citadel in Inverness (more than 10 years later it had to be demolished by order of the government). There is now a public cemetery around the ruin. We also come across some nice houses during the tour in the neighborhood and then quickly return to Beauly.
On one of the other days we drive a bit further along the north coast, to Findochty, a former fishing port. The people now mainly work in the oil and gas industry. The sheltered harbor is still there but is now mostly used by pleasure craft. The Scots speak a separate dialect here called Doric. It is even more difficult to understand than the pronunciation of an 'ordinary' Scot.
The coast near Findochty is rocky and many of the rock formations have been given nicknames. In 1901, bones of animals were found in a cave along the coast that had been used as a tool. They were dated from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. A few months afterwards, the rocks were excavated to build houses and all historic traces have disappeared.
From Findochty we drive southwards in the direction of Huntly when we see the Rothiemay stone circle in a meadow. They are called standing stones but the most striking detail is the recumbent or lying stone, weighing as much as 20 tons. I do not know how many stones there were originally, but there are now still 4 standing stones. Teije, who is very fond of prehistoric monuments, can not come any closer because the stones are in a pasture with cows and he is quite afraid of them. Even the fact that there are symbols engraved in the big stone are not sufficient motivation.
Some less dangerous animals we see a day later: a metal eagle in a garden and a dead owl. This is the only game that we will get to see this holiday. We do not know exactly where it was because that day the GPS on the camera did not work, again. Previously, we often wrote in a notepad where we took photos, now we rely entirely on the GPS and if that information is missing we often have no idea if it is not a well-known monument or town.Teije still does not feel well at all, but we still go to another place in Scotland for a few days. We have booked at the Famous Bein Inn at Newton of Balcanquhal in Perthshire.