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Friday, February 4, 2011

Scotland Walking Tour Days 9-11 September 2010

The photos in this section may be a bit risqué for younger viewers.  

Saturday, September 10, 2010
We woke up in Inverness at the River View Guest House which looks out on the River Ness.  The previous day I had searched the eateries for an entrée salad for the girls and come up empty but after exploring our options  in the evening at a few expensive restaurants we found Ceasar salad and another type at a great pub!  Always a savings to eat at a pub instead of a restaurant.  I think we got out of there for L25 or so.  

The Count modeling Polly’s shopping loot at the River View B&B!

Inverness had a number of interesting old buildings including a very old fort from the 1200s and a magnificent St. Andrews Cathedral.  The most interesting to me was the church for sale right on the river.  See below.  The cost of purchase would be dear but the cost to restore it to usable might break most small countries.  The outside looked good and the location was very chic! Who is interested?  I would be happy to tender an offer for you.
A better view  of the Cathedral from across the River Ness.   It heartens me to know that the religious fervor that built this place has waned.  Perhaps a disco or a fine dining experience would be a good business plan for the structure?

The antiquities abound here.  The Keep, which parts of were built in the 1200s would have been formidable to storm up to, is now a courthouse and tourist attraction.  St. Andrews Cathedral is a magnificent bit of construction but I have no idea how much traffic there is there on a Sunday.
The left hand bit is the old part as you can see by the wall and turrets. It was very effective in keeping arrows and swords at bay.   The newer bit is just built on the right, to match, is from the gunpowder age and would not have  stopped a cannon shot.  This magnificent old fort is right in the middle of Inverness. Very handy for checking out.

Observations from The Count:
A.     A.   The toilets have the flushing handle on the left side (sitting down) in Scotland.  (As opposed the right in the US in my experience)

B.      B.  The trains are incredible and fun and on time and very comfy to travel by.

C.      C.  B&Bs in this country are smallish and a very fine way of seeing the country. 

D.      D.  The Breakfasts are standard with a supply of juice,  fresh fruit, cereal, toast, yogurt, eggs cooked to order, bacon (like sliced ham and totally excellent flavor ), sausage ( I am not impressed so far with UK sausage), grilled mushrooms, grilled tomato halves and very good coffee or tea.

E.      E.   Taxis are on time, polite, and ready to give out info if you can understand the brogue.

F.      F.   There are castles everywhere.  Old buildings abound.  Our first two B&Bs were built in the 1800s but our third is only 5 years old.

G.     G.  Food is not cheap when eating out.  The prices look like any US menu but are in Pounds and that means 1.7 times more than the US foods.  It was L40 for last night’s meal for the three of us in a pub with one beer and 6 ‘starters’.  The food is good so far unless you look at the sandwich Lori ordered in Inverness at this hole in the wall (Gellions) pub she chose to eat in…. One bite and she was done.  My cheeseburger was good  and with lots of tasty fries she helped me eat.

I.        H.  Traveling with two girls allows me to NOT go shopping.

J.        I.  Traveling with two girls makes me walk way in front so as to not hear horse talk.

K.     J.   Traveling with two girls allows me to introduce them as my Mistress and my Wife (their idea).

L.       K.  Weather here is very changeable and one should be ready for it all.  We saw 30+k winds in Inverness as we walked the river.  Rain showers today at the end of our hike of 5 miles.

Girls on a train. Smooth ride and a fun way to see the country.  The only bit that is tough is hauling the luggage off each time we transfer.  I will take less stuff next time and that stuff will be quick drying so I can wash it in my sink at night in the B&B.
This level of carving art was evident in the park on an island in Inverness.  There were several different types of carved benches that show a very creative mind at work.

Other creative weirdness include the sculpture in our 2nd B&B breakfast area.  An Elvis tribute!  The statue was life size and there were many other memorabilia around the room.  Very fun.  High marks for this place… River View Guest House in Inverness. It was rated 4 stars.

Saturday saw us board the train in Inverness at 11:00 AM and went to Kyle Lochalsh.  From there we shared the only cab to the Castle Eilean Donean which was built in the 1200s, destroyed by British ships in 1770, and rebuilt 1912 by someone with too much money.  The recreation of life included the lord in the living room looking at maps, the staff in the kitchen cooking with several dishes of food read to be served and the pantry with all kinds of stuff waiting to be cooked.  All models!  This was a very cool display on life in the early 1900s.
There were even models of dragon boat heads and a very fine model of a clinker built “viking ship” /galley.

Time to go to dinner…. This Leisure Log is almost as much work to write as it must be to read!  Pip Pip.
That Glen Moray is a fine way to spend happy hour.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Isle of Skye, Scotland’s West Coast, Broadford, Ben View Guest House
We had a great breakfast and then started out walking the local coast trail that was to be a 5 mile, rated easy, walk.  It was for the first mile and the last 1.8 miles but the bit in between was difficult as the beach was the only part we could find for a path.

A happy couple out for a hike on the beach

Polly negotiating a slippery bit of beach.
Some of the best marked path we found on our beach walk.  You can see why the beach attracted us.  Not only was the path ill defined, it was very wet as the water from the day  before was just running off into the sea.  Also there were some nettles, blackberries and other issues like buried limbs just waiting to trip you up under the grasses.  We missed the trail somewhere.
Lori suffered a boot delamination. The entire sole came off except for the toe.  Polly here is trying to tie it up with some string that Lori packed along, but the Count had to retie that within 200 yards.  His tie off lasted back to the guest house and then we had some glue from the Coop and effected a repair.  We shall see if the boot makes the hikes in the future.
More observations..
Monday, September 13, 2010:
We just returned to our B&B in Broadford from a bus trip up to Portree (30 miles north) where I walked about the small town in my rain gear and finally found a cap to wear under  the hood of my rain coat. 
More Observations from The Count:
A.      There are very few marketing items like sweatshirts and caps here in the UK so far.  I felt I got a good deal on an embroidered souvenir cap for L8.
B.      Sideways rain all day today.  30k winds.  The bus skidded as the driver braked for a wind puff that tried to put us off the road!
C.      Good thing we already have silver hair.
D.      The rivers are all on overflow of their banks.  Quite remarkable rain amounts!
E.       We didn’t hike about the mountains today.
F.       Spring tides have arrived here in the Inner Hebrides Isles as we get near the Equinox.  5.2 meters yesterday.
G.     Lori’s boot repair is not good enough for offshore walking.  It barely went shopping today.
H.      I have no idea when the next sending of the Leisure Log will be since wifi is not a guarantee anywhere but it is working in our latest and nicest B&B!
I.        The girls folded, in their effort to not consume, and bought umbrellas today for themselves.  I, being the manly man, will eschew such trivial attempts to stay dry.  I suggest it also means I will not have to pack additional stuff in my luggage.

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