Thursday, 15 July 2010

On the Highland Tourist trail

More to share with you of my long weekend Highland adventures.
We arrive in a little place known as Beauly. Beauly lies on the north bank of the River Beauly close to the point at which it enters the Beauly Firth. The name Beauly comes from the French "beau lieu" or "beautiful place". Incidentally, its the name D wishes to give to 'our dog', that is of course when we adopt one. Anyway, this is Beaulys main square - its raining and this woman is not smiling, even she's tired of getting wet.
Literally a stones throw away from the Beaulys main square is the ruins of Beauly Priory. It was one of three priories founded in Scotland by monks of the Valliscaulian order, from the Burgundy region of France, in the years following 1230.
I appreciated this place much more.
Can you see anything (click on image).
On closer inspection, you will note this space is actually a mausoleum. Its the only part of the priory in tact. Later I learned it was rebuilt in 1901.
The mausoleum belongs to the MacKenzie family and this represents Kenneth Smith MacKenzie.
We took the road as far as we could to Glen Affric via Dog Falls. Glen Affric stretches for some 30 miles.
It has been described as 'the most beautiful glen in Scotland'. I cannot disagree at all. It contains one of the largest ancient Caledonian pinewoods in Scotland as well as lochs, moorland and mountains. This wide range of habitats make Glen Affric a haven for wildlife.
Even though it was raining, it was quite busy. As you can see from this image, someone had been busy playing stone jenga.
Its quite a steep drive. You also had to drive slow and occasionally allow other vehicles to pass by or overtake as the paths are quite narrow too. No road ragers welcome here.
A few miles to the east of Inverness was our next stop. This was Culloden battlefield, a place that attracts a huge number of visitors every year. This is when our membership with the National Trust for Scotland comes in handy, as we neither had to pay entrance fee or parking fees. As we walked through the visitor centre, D was extremely impressed. He said he felt he was walking though a large electronic book.
For those of you who do not know very much about Scottish history, Culloden is of significance importance. On 16 April 1746 the last battle to be fought on British soil took less than an hour to reach its bloody conclusion here on what is now know as Culloden Moor. It was not, as often portrayed, a battle between the Scots and the English: large numbers of Scots fought on the Government side while the Jacobite army included French units and some English Jacobites. Rather it was the last chapter in a sporadic civil war for succession to the throne that had been under way since 1688
A modern marker to signify the grave of the English
and mixed clans
Inscription on the Memorial Cairn
Poignant - poetic
Walking through the Battlefield
A mile to the south east of Culloden lies a very different link with the past: the Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Balnuaran of Clava, also known as 'Clava Cairns'. Most tourists pass this by, but not us.

Clava Cairnsdates back to around 2000BC. I've been to Stonehenge, so I was personally pleased to see these stones, D not so much.
Our last stop of the day was Cawdor Castle. Cawdor Castle is a tower house set amid magnificent gardens in the parish of Cawdor, east of Inverness and southwest of Nairn in Scotland. It belonged to the Clan Calder. It still serves as home to the Cawdor family. Some of you may have heard about the castle for its literary connection to William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, the title character of which was made Thane of Cawdor. However, the story is highly fictionalised, and the castle itself was built many years after the events of the play.
We did not go into the Castle and were quite content on just walking through the Cawdor Castle Gardens.
Taking in a bit of wildlife
and a bit of colour.

18 comments:

  1. oh it looks like a story book place to me! Just lovely!

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  2. Very beautiful and romantic! Can't wait to go there and see what the fuss is all about ha ha.

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  3. Thanks Darlene.


    Chilean Woman,
    Just make sure you bring a raincoat!

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  4. Thanks for sharing , maybe oneday I too could walk those battlefields and pay respcept to those who died there.

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  5. I enjoyed that tremendously!! Thank you. Great Photos and a great writeup.

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  6. you are a fine tourist - wish I could have gone with you but at least I could sit in your camera a wee while - the photo of the thistles is my favourite - just beautiful

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  7. This looks like such an amazing place to vacation! Your photos are alwayss so stunning and really do the place justice! For some reason I really like the castles! They are so interesting to look at...

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  8. We have lived in Scotland for 26 years and there is always somewhere different and interesting to visit. Your photos were excellent, particularly liked the one "I had to click on" to see who was lying behind the railings. Quite creepy to see him suddenly revealed.

    Scotland is beautiful, but it would be even better if this darn rain we are having would stop!

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  9. Gorgeous place! I wish I could just pack up and move to somewhere as pretty as this. Although I dont think I could handle the winter weather.

    Rose

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  10. oh my! highlands are the most beautiful part of the world i've ever seen! we went there for our honey moon and i still dream about it!
    your pictures are lovely...
    have a sweet weekend,
    justyna

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  11. Again, more places I've always wanted to visit. Seeing your pictures makes it so much more real than just looking at the government brochures. You're fantastic.

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  12. Extremely beautiful - I'm not sure I'd be able to tear myself away to come back home!

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  13. Dear Rina, I do hope oneday you'll be able to walk those battlefields and pay respect to those who died there. Kind regards.


    Thank you Gardeningbren.
    PS I will pass on the compliemtns to my hsuband re the scenic shots!


    Ah Thank you for such a fine compliment Johanna.
    My camera would be mighty heavy - may be better you just coming along with us :D. Like you the photo of the thistles is my favourite too. Just shouts Scotland - dont you thik?!


    Certainly lovely place to vacation Morgan.
    Not so sure about it catering so well to vegetarian or vegan diets though, but you won't go hungry. Theres always chips!

    Scotland is not short of castles, and should I come across one. I will certainly share. I am really pleased that you have been enjoying these photos!


    I agree with you Jeannie, esp. if you have a car - you can be out of the city or town in no time at all and visit somewhere different.

    I'll pass on your really kind comment re the scenic photos to my husband, who took most of these shots, while I walked on to explore. I was rather pleased with the "click on" phto too, and yes I agree quite creepy, I have to admit I actually jumped when I saw this and immediately assumed it was a homeless person sleeping there! On second look realised what it actually was.

    I agree to that Scotland is beautiful (just like Wales) where I am originally from, but it would be even better if the rain stops. Its rains in Wales too! So I am kinda used to it now.


    Thank you Rose.
    Yes with such a pretty place comes the poor weather. If you want to make Scotland your home, its something you have to get used to.


    Thank you Justyna.
    Lovely to read that you have beeen to Scotland and even more interesting to note it was for your honey moon! Was the weather kind?!


    Thank you Ribbit.
    Such a lovely compliment, especially re the photographs. I must let the photographer (my husband) know.


    Thank you Hannah.
    It certainly is beautiful, but you would have to get used to the wet and damp weather too!

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  14. What a beautiful post! I loved all of the pictures and learning a little bit about Scotland. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  15. So beautiful! Makes me want to pack and go. I did the Hadrian's Wall hike last year and would love to explore more.

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  16. Thank you Joan.

    I've passed Hadrians Wall on my way to Newcastle. Certainly worth stopping at one of these days.

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  17. Sandie't Patch.

    Thank you for the award. It is most appreciated.

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