Thursday, June 25, 2009

On the train back to London

Free WiFi on the train and power points to plug into.

It's been a frenzied rush to leave Scotland...mostly because we're both dragging our feet so badly. We just barely made it to Edinburgh in time to return the car and then caught the train, but we hadn't made reservations so had to scrounge for seats. We asked if we could keep the car longer so we could stay another day, but they'd already booked it to someone else.

We'll be back at the Blades Hotel tonight and tomorrow nights. Tomorrow night we're going to see Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart and Ian McLellan. We're both happy that we have something that we're really excited about for our last night here otherwise we'd be so sad.

We stayed in the village of Killin on Loch Tay last night. A very quaint beautiful spot. We stayed in a wonderful guesthouse in an old stone house. After dinner (I tried haggis!!) we went for a walk down the river past the falls of Dochart toward the Loch. We found a wee trail that led to a rope swing out over the river, so we passed some time swinging before the midges came out to eat us. We got a little lost finding our way back to the guesthouse, but no worries. The guesthouse had two flagpoles out front with the Scottish flag (blue with white cross) and the other with the yellow lion scottish king's standard (I can't remember what it was called). So, we could see the guesthouse from the foot bridge across the river. The next morning the host told us that during the night someone stole the flags!! A massive crime in the wee village of Killin. Truly it was quite shocking and our host was put out because the thieves cut the lines and stole all of the clips and hardware as well as the flags. I asked if he had ideas about who did it and he replied "I'm sure young men and beer were involved".
After our walk we drove to the Loch, then up another wee (I like this word) single-track road that lead up into the mountains and over the ridge into the next valley. We saw lots more sheep and the wee lambs, a massive hyropower dam, then one of the most secluded beautiful valleys we'd seen yet. For my Outlander fan friends out there, I could picture Lallybroch to be in this valley. And, did I mention how green everything is??? And, amazingly it was another spectacular sunny warm day. We were out touring around until after 10pm and it was still light.

On our drive from Skye to Killin we passed through Fort William, past Ben Nevis and through Glen Coe. We stopped at Glenfinnan of Harry Potter and Bonnie Prince Charlie fame. The Hogwarts express famously travels over the beautiful Glenfinnan viaduct in the HP movies. And, Prince Charles raised his standard at Glenfinnan to rally the clans for the '45 Jacobite rebellion in August of 1745. Ben Nevis is the highest peak in Scotland, and Glencoe is yet another spectacular valley, but made famous by the massacre of MacDonalds by Camerons in the late 1600s.
I will post more pictures as soon as I can....but I'm certain that they won't do the scenery justice. If New Zealand was beautiful, then Scotland is absolutely stunning. Adding to the amazing mountains next to rugged seascape and even sandy beaches you have castle ruins and quaint villages with red british phone booths....surprisingly delicious food, great beer, a wee dram and did I mention the scones with clotted cream?