Going North

We started off with a planning session that lasted two days on and off and made reservations for each night. This was a great idea because August is prime tourist season and we found "no vacancy" signs everywhere


The Firth of Forth is a very wide tidal river to be crossed when going North from Edinburgh. The great Scottish engineers of the 19th Century did a great job with the railway bridge. We were in a car so we decided that taking the road bridge a little upstream would be advisable.
We went on the freeway for an hour to Perth as we headed north.


One interesting sight was the world's highest hedge - full size Beech trees that are cut every ten years - it takes four men six weeks to do it.

It got more and more rugged. Eventually we went over a pass through the Cairngorm mountains and down into Braemar. This is a really cute little town just down the road from Balmoral Castle where the Queen stays every summer and attends the Highland Games which involve he-man sports like throwing the hammer and tossing the caber (which is like a telephone pole) plus lots of dancing. She was in residence so we were not able to visit.


We stayed at a very pleasant B&B and ate at the local golf club (fish and chips, of course). We set off early the next morning to visit the Linn of Dee. Most of the place names are Gaelic and had English translations on the signs but the pronunciation can be quite strange. We did not know what "Linn" means. Here is an example of Gaelic

Tha cruth Ḅrd na Gàidhlig, a' bhuidheann air am bheil uallach airson Gàidhlig àrdachadh is a leasachadh, ga atharrachadh mar phàirt den ullachadh a dh'ionnsaigh buileachadh Achd na Gàidhlig.

It's talking about the new Board for proliferation of Gaelic


Anyway, The Linn was beautiful, whatever it is.

A broad stream flows out of the hills, goes under a bridge and becomes a raging torrent.
All too frequently, people slip into the gorge and drown. There is a tombstone on the brink and lots of warning notices.


Diane found a half dozen faded red roses lying on the edge so she took it upon herself to separate them and cast them on the water in honor of the six people who drowned. Luckily she did not follow them in.


At the end of the bridge was a very cute cottage and I wanted her take a picture of it. She refused - apparently there was a lamp in the window with the shade askew. This spoiled the picture so badly that one would think there was a big red arrow pointing at it. So I took the picture to see if there really was a big red arrow.


The sides of the hills were ablaze with heather. Sorry about the occasional lapses into poetic language but the scenery everywhere was absolutely wonderful. There were two common types of heather that were slightly different colors and along with the green grass, the browning bracken and the grey rock it was picture perfect.
We looked around the village, bought and mailed some postcards which never reached their destination. We headed North again to Inverness and Loch Ness.


Of course, you can't go to Scotland without visiting Loch Ness and trying to find Nessie herself. We were unable to spot her.

The B&B for the night was a fiasco. The place we had booked claimed they had never heard of us so we went to all the other six B&Bs in the area in case we had been mistaken. The people were most helpful but no, we had not booked there either and they were full. We suspected that we were the victims of overbooking so we went back into Inverness where we had passed a mile-long street lined with B&Bs earlier in the day. All full. At one of them, the owner took pity on us and made a dozen phone calls to his buddies. Eventually he found one - a very old country house ten miles north. It was a beautiful place, built in the 1600s and the carpet in our room had not been cleaned since.


But the surroundings were great including the back yard - a walled garden area.

As an interesting little side story, as I was getting back into the car at Loch Ness there was an ominous clunking noise from underneath. It sounded just like the back axle was falling apart. We stopped at a garage and were very relieved to find that it was the exhaust system so we only had to worry about how to get a new exhaust system, in the middle of the night, miles from a large town, for a Saab. We put the task off until the morning and another garage looked at it and found that the exhaust hanger had merely slipped off the bracket and could be put back on easily. A GREAT relief.

Onward and upward.

The next stop was another gorge. Again, beautiful. This was very deep with a huge waterfall and a swinging suspension bridge high over the falls. You can just make out the bridge in the third picture.


All the hard work made an icecream essential.


On to our next B&B at Aultbea via a lovely glen


On our way we visited InverEwe gardens. These are amazing.

Remember we are at the lattitude of Juneau. They had various themes including a walled garden.


Finally, to the B&B and relaxation as the sun went down on a perfect day

Heading back South.

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