Friday, June 29, 2012

Scotland - Highlands and the Islands

The Captain and I went to Scotland recently to research the smidge of Scottish pedigree in his family.  We knew we wanted to drive through the Highlands, visit some of the islands and gardens, and of course, see castles!  Clans and Castles is a great travel service that takes your ideas and turns them into an intinerary, complete with lodging and ferry reservations.  They planned out a great route for us - wait till you see some of the places we stayed!

We were surprised by the weather; I packed sweaters, raincoats and umbrellas and we had to buy sunscreen there!  The weather was bright, sunny and very warm.  The locals asked us to stay longer and come back often as we seemed to be a good-luck weather charm.

These stone arched bridges are everwhere and so beautiful.  They are made without any mortar and still in use - and for loads lots heavier that the horses and carts for which they were designed.  See the bright sunny day - no drizzle, no fog, nothing but bright sun.

One of the best things about traveling is the chance to learn that what you thought you knew about a country might not be quite the whole story.  Take Scottish food - what comes to mind?  Greasy, heavy, bland and made from animal parts best not mentioned?  Wrong!  We had great fresh local food , or as the natives call the local food movement "food that's accounted for".  Salmon -fresh, smoked and oh- so- tasty, "squat" lobsters - lobsters so tiny the tail was about as big as a malted milk ball, salads with micro -greens - definitely not what we expected.  And of course, whiskey!  Whiskey in porridge - now there's a treat - enough cream and sugar and even I can enjoy whiskey. 

We did indulge in fish and chips, but whimped out of having "brown sauce" on the fries!  Notice the dainty little "chip fork! 

The food was better than expected - the roads - MUCH worse!  First there's the whole driving on the left side of the road, which means going counter-clockwise around a rotary ("round about") - and there are LOTS of round-abouts!  Then there's the actual road problem, as in not enough !  Two way traffic on 3/4 of a lane!  Add in sheep wandering all over, speeding locals, and drop-offs that end in the water and you beging to see the problem.  The Captain did all of the driving and I did all of the announcing in a voice between panic and hysteria - "car coming"!  "you're too close to the edge"  "SHEEP", "Car!  CAR !!  "CAR"!!  He actually did fine - no crashes, no scrapping, just lots of hyperventilating on my part.

 Two way traffic on this narrow path road, blind corner, drop off to the loch = terror!

Lots of signs - the one on the bottom right trying to remind tourists to do what doesn't come naturally!

The best of these crazy roads - sheep, lots of cute sheep!

More coming - did I hear you groan??


  1. Your photos show the terrain to be both stark and magical - as I suppose I imagine the Scottish highlands to be. But the whole driving / sheep experience sounds both funny and harrowing!

    I wouldn't have thought of the good (local) food. I would have assumed less than delish fare, I admit.

    Your pictures (and narration) gave me quite a smile. (Ouch.)

  2. It looks wonderful, I need to get up north more often and out of the grimy city. You know, I have never had porridge with whisky and I love here, do you mix it in? I think it could work!

    1. Tabitha- Oh, it works! Stir in cream, sugar and whiskey and let the yumminess begin! I must admit to not being a fan of whiskey, but with enough sugar and cream, I could be a convert! We stayed at the Kilcamb lodge in Strontian, and in addition to the whiskey-amended porridge, they served a lovely frozen whiskey parfait at dinner, continuing the cream, sugar whiskey love.


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