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To the Falls of Shin


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 10 September 2018

Monday 10 September, to the Falls of Shin

The sun shines when we wake up but it is very chilly and according to the weather forecast we better stay in the neighborhood because rain is expected everywhere else. Just like every year, Iain has all kinds of computer problems and this morning I am working on it. Also the wifi does not work in the whole building but we have our own dongle with unlimited data in the EU, so I will fix the wifi later. But what happens next year after the Brexit, can we then no longer use our dongle here, or at least not for free?

The road to Bonar Bridge, Highlands View of the Dornoch FirthIn the afternoon we drive the old road to the north, in the direction of Bonar Bridge. Since 1991 there is a bridge over the Dornoch Firth where the A9 (which sounds like a highway but is mostly two-lane) runs from Inverness to Wick and Thurso in the north so traffic does not have to make a detour anymore.
We only have to leave Beauly to come into a hilly landscape. It is nice and quiet on the road so we can fully enjoy the landscape.
The Dornoch FirthThe view is often wide and no matter how many photos we take, we never feel that they represent the true beauty of our surroundings. And that not only has to do with the vastness, the distances and colors but also with the atmosphere that the landscape exhales, that is almost indescribable and not at all possible to photograph. The atmosphere will undoubtedly be experienced differntly by everyone but most people we have heard about it talk about the loneliness, the emptiness and the almost tangible history that tickles your skin so you would not be surprised at all when suddenly a knight on horseback would come galloping onto the road.
Kinkardine cemetery near Ardgay Kincardine war memorialHistory shows itself, among other things, in the monuments that can be found in every village, even in small Kincardine, such as a cemetery full of old stones with sometimes mysterious inscriptions and symbols and the inevitable war monuments. It is a pity that on the last god is always mentioned: 'To the glory of God' is a phrase almost always used, but we can not imagine that there is a god who would like to be associated with war. And if he/she/it wants to, then it is clearly not our favorite. So much misery has been done in the name of gods, whatever name they have.
The Clach Eiteag, a stone with a wandering pastJust past Kincardine lies Ardgay where we see a large stone of white quartzite with an information plaque. The village where the stone happened to be was allowed to organize an annual fair (usually 3 days in November) which was good for the economy of the village. How the stone moved from village to village is a mystery, but probably thieves took care of that, perhaps on behalf of village administrators who also wanted to organize an annual fair. In 1817 the stone was built into the wall of a hotel in Ardgay to prevent further theft. In 1958 the stone was exhibited at the current location in the village, certainly stuck or pinned properly.
Griffins at a country house, west of Ardgay Lonely phone booth at The CraigsFrom Ardgay there is a road to the west that we have only partially driven according to my map, so I take the turn it and we see a few country houses along the way and almost at the end of the road a deserted telephone booth. In that respect, British Telecom was very active in the time for the mobile phones because in almost all remote areas you still find such characteristic red telephone booths. According to British Telecom, 6,962 units were scattered throughout Scotland in 2003 but only 3,840 will remain in 2020. The recognizable red cell must certainly be part of the British national heritage.
Parking with children at the Falls or Shin The new building at the Falls of ShinOn the north side of the river we drive back and decide to drive to the Falls or Shin again. There used to be a luxury store of the former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi, the friend of Princess Diana. A few years ago everything was burnt down but now it has been rebuilt by the local community with a restaurant, a tiny shop and a miniature golf course.
In the parking lot there are special places for people with children and there is a charging post for electric cars.
Mushrooms at Falls or Shin Mushrooms at the Falls or ShinOn the other side of the single track road before the building you can walk to the waterfall or take a walk along the water. It has been exceptionally dry this summer, just like in many other parts of Europe, but now that autumn has almost started, the mushrooms and fungi grow abundantly, we see them everywhere and they are very beautiful and big ones.
The Falls of Shin where salmon swim against the stream The Falls of ShinAt the waterfall, which is notvery spectacular in itself, we stay looking for a while to see the salmon swim against the current, where they jump and try to bridge the height difference. We can not catch on in a photograph, so we decide to make a movie to see if one or more of them will jump by. These are pretty big salmon that apparently try to swim back to their birthplace to mate and then die. But why, I'm so curious about that, where does that instinct come from?
Woodcarving in Lairg, Church Hill Woodland Woodcarving in Lairg, Church Hill WoodlandAfter a cup of coffee and a soup we go back to Beauly with a detour via Lairg. On the parking lot in Lairg opposite the lake (where there is a tiny house on an island) we suddenly see a small hill with all sorts of wood carving. In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of wooden sculptures that we see in gardens and parks and it appears to be a favorite activity for artists who also give courses that are very popular in Scotland.
Woodcarving in Lairg, Church Hill Woodland Woodcarving in Lairg, Church Hill WoodlandChurch Hill Woodlands is an initiative of the local community who have built a walking area on the hill. We especially like the carvings and find it too cold for a walk. After the warm summer we are so used to walking without a coat and sweater that we have not been well prepared this year. I have a thin sweater with me but no coat and with a temperature of only about 10 degrees I can use a coat. I remember too well last year when I got an ear and throat inflammation in Scotland and how miserable I felt.
It seems that you can't get an infection from cold weather, so I was told, but I am already having a cold so quickly I return to the warmth of the car. With a big curve we drive to the east where we drive the last part via the A9 to the south. Even though we were only gone at 1 o'clock, we drove around for about 5 hours and, to my satisfaction, explored some unknown roads again. That is also my intention, to at least find a few new roads where we haven't been before every day. It is also time for me to buy a new card and to mark all roads again because, after laminating it, the lines that I draw over the roads with a permanent marker sometimes fade. Something for the coming winter because the redrawing of the whole map is a project in itself.

 


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