Vacation Day 2: Scotland

Confession:  Over the course of our vacation, I took over 1,500 photos.  Most of those were from a moving car.   We also drove well over 1,500 miles during our trip.  It was exhausting.

The second day of our trip, we headed north from Strathardle Inn, up to the coast, around Inverness, and down Loch Ness to the very little spot on the map of Tomich.

Since we were making the best of the trip and staying at B&Bs, we of course had to enjoy our first breakfast not on an airplane!

L ordered a true Highlands breakfast:  toast, mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon (which tasted delightfully like our country ham), beans, sausage, a poached egg, a “tattie scone”, and the famous black pudding (blood sausage).  Strathardle Inn had the best tattie scone, hands down, of any on the trip — they actually flavored theirs beyond the basic potato/flour combination that the recipe seems to require.  I’m a big fan of seasonings!

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L and I like to swap food so never order the same thing — that way we get to try it all!  So, I ordered a continental breakfast….which was happily nothing like what we’ve come to expect from sad, hotel continental breakfasts here.

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The meats and cheeses were all local, so I was happy.  The cooked ham tasted remarkably like what my Grandmother often has at her house, so I found that amusing.  If Scotland taught me one thing, it’s that I’m right to assume I can live on nothing but meat, cheese, and eggs.  I’m pretty sure that’s about all I ate for every meals.  Vegetables certainly became rare in my diet (potatoes don’t count, I love potatoes) — I certainly didn’t complain!  😀

While we were packing, we were entertained by a few baby bunnies outside of the bedroom window.  Definitely a bonus.

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Then we hit the road and were on our way in the foggy morning.

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Our first stop of the day was at the Highlands Folk Museum.  I love a good museum, so does L.  The whole park was fascinating but my favorite part was the village they had built representing life in the 1700s.  My ancestors immigrated early to America, several before the Revolutionary War, but a few stuck around until the 1800s so may have lived in a similar situation!

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The park also progressed through the centuries and had buildings representing other decades — and the cute highlands cattle I posted a few days ago!  😀

After we visited the old candy store and loaded up our pockets, we headed further north to visit Ballindalloch Castle.  Mom really wanted to see a “fairy tale” type of castle and chose this one.

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The laird and his family still live there but we toured much of the estate and inside.  My favorite part was the tower nursery — keep the crying babies out of sight and mind!

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Mom really loved the walled rose garden.  It was in full bloom and spectacular.

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After the castle, we mosied our way over to Clava Cairns.

The graves are thought to be Bronze age and the trees were planted in the 1870s “in keeping with Victorian romanticism” since they were originally interpreted as druid’s temples.

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Next we passed through Inverness then down to Dores to have dinner on the tip of Loch Ness.  We were time stressed so I didn’t grab a photo of dinner, but I definitely had my fish and chips at The Dores Inn that night!

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Loch Ness is so long and narrow that I really wanted to be able to see the full extent of it, so the restaurant really was the perfect location.

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Sunset isn’t until after 10 p.m. this time of year, so it was getting pretty late, so we boogied over to our accomodations for the night: The Tomich Hotel.

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Shout-out to the guy working that night.  He was the sweetest and most patient person imaginable.  He waited around for the four crazy Americans then asked if we wanted to anything from the bar and happily stayed around and chatted with us afterwards until nearly midnight.

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He also had all of us drinking, so cheers to him.  I had 15 year single malt Dalwhinnie and Mike (Mom’s husband) had 12 year Singleton of Dufftown.  L had an Irish coffee and Mom had Bailey’s in a hot chocolate.  They’re more of the candy drinks crowd. ;P

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