Tag Archives: Highlands

St. Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Please check out the video of my poem and photographs entitled: Coming Home: To The Place Where I Belong

Slainte

6 Comments

Filed under Ireland 2011, Scotland 2011, Writing

Scottish Highlands – May 19

May 19: Day 2 of the Highlands tour and we are off to see Clava Cairns – 4000 year old stone circles and burial mounds. Let me just say: Awesome!! So like the ones in Ireland. When I write book 2, my Scottish dragons will need to reside near these stones to pull their magic from this place.

We continued to Culloden Moor where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in April 1746. After reading Diana Gabeldon’s Outlander series, I have a loyalty to the Jacobites and seeing this battlefield and the many headstones of the Highland Clans was heartwrenching.

Onward through the Cairngorms National Park toward Pitlochry. We stopped briefly at Ruthuen Barracks, another stategic government stronghold of the time.

Lunch in Pitlochry. Notice the McKay?? Ancestors of mine?

We toured the Blair Athol Distillery. They produce excellent Scottish Whisky. No photos allowed inside due to the high alcohol content within the buildings (risk of sparks from electronic devices).

Our last stop of the tour was at the Hermitage, where we hiked a lovely path to a waterfall and got to see some forest.

The tour concluded back in Edinburgh. Our tour guide, Bill, told wonderful, rich stories of all that we saw. I met some wonderful peopleKen and Connie from Canada, Andrew and Lisa from Tasmania, and the rest of the baker’s dozen. I am so glad I found this tour and was able to join in. It had everything I wanted to see in the Scottish Highlands and more. Kudos to Heart of Scotland Tours.

7 Comments

Filed under Scotland 2011

Scottish Highlands – May 18

May 18:  I embark on a 2 day tour through the Highlands. After meeting tour guide Bill and the twelve other passengers, the 15 seat bus headed out of Edinburgh. We passed Stirling Castle, but had no time to stop for a tour.

Our first stop was in the Trossachs to meet the living legend, Hamish the Hairy Highland Cow and his young offsping, Honey.

Next, we stopped in Glen Coe, perhaps the most famous Scottish glen. This narrow valley is where the bloody massacre of the Macdonald Clan by the Campbells took place in 1692. The landscape is gorgeous, volcanic mountains carved from thousands of years of glacial ice.

Onward we pressed to Glenfinnan. There we saw the Glenfinnan Viaduct which has been featured and made famous in the Harry Potter movies.

Glenfinnan is historically important as the landing site of Bonnie Prince Charlie in mainland Scotland to begin his 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. (More on this later). Glenfinnan Monument erected in honor of the Bonnie Prince.

Due to the incliment weather, we could not see the whole of Ben Nevin, Britain’s highest mountain. So, we travelled on to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The castle was attached, but never breached- though the garrision there were determined to keep it from Jacobite forces and eventually tried to burn in to the ground. What remains today is as close as they got to completely leveling this strategic location.

It rained hard for some time while we explored the ruins, then we were treated to a fantasic rainbow over Loch Ness. (There may even be Nessie in the picture somewhere).

We concluded day 1 in Inverness (which translates to: mouth of the river Ness). A great first day in the Highlands.

2 Comments

Filed under Scotland 2011