Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday 20 June 2009 – Highlands, Scotland

Drive from Drumnadrochit to Carbisdale Castle YHA, Culdain

Josie had her last jumping lesson at Borlum Farm this morning. She rode Mungo again and had Pauline for her teacher. She said it was a great lesson. She's jumping more complex patterns now and looking good!

Getting packed up and having a last cup of tea in our beautiful cottage. Josie laid down on the couch with a pillow over her head. When it was finally time to leave, she said she had a headache, which progressed into a full-blown migraine complete with numb hand and face and nausea. So, we stopped a bit on our drive north for her to lie down with something over her eyes. Why today had to be the first sunny day in 5 days I'll never know!

We stopped at Borders to get the second Twilight book on CD and to go to a big grocery store to find a chilly bin (ice chest or cool bag). The grocery store was overwhelming!! Unbelievably busy. And the shopping carts drive sideways. It was kind of like a Walmart but not quite as big... called Tesco. And, this one was a Tesco Extra...I think that's like a Walmart Supercenter...groceries and stuff made in China.

On the road north we took the scenic route up the Black Isle north of Iverness. Hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphins of the Moray Firth, but we caught the tides wrong. We drove up to Cromarty where we caught Scotland's smallest ferry. It holds two cars. And, we totally lucked out and only had to wait about 15 minutes. Just one car in front of us in the Q. So, the ferry pulls up to a boat ramp. Josie said it looked like a bull dozer boat. The blade of the bull dozer dropped onto the boat ramp and there's just enough room on the boat for two small cars. The crossing took about 20 minutes. Once you get to the other side, the operator starts dropping the ramp then all of sudden the car starts turning! The two cars just barely fit on a circular turntable that spins them around so you drive straight out rather than back out. It was so cool!!

We got to the Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain just after they closed. Bummer.

On to the castle. We headed up the Dornoch Firth which turns into the Kyle of Sutherland. We drove up on the north side, but discovered that the castle was across the river fro us, so we had to backtrack to cross the river to the proper side. Once over we drove along this single lane little beautiful road to the castle. The last bit is lined by rhododendrons on either side which are in bloom. Then you pull up to a real castle! It was so exciting to realize that we'd be staying in it. What a cool youth hostel. We go up at least three sets of stairs and through many doors to find our room, which we are sharing with two other women. The view from our window down onto the neighboring farmland and the kyle and firth is beautiful.

we cooked dinner in the busy communal kitchen. Had delicious pasta and broccoli and I had a new scottish ale...St Andrews from the home of golf. It was good, not spectacular, but good.

There's a school band staying here also. We could hear them practicing earlier, and tonight they have a small group playing reels so the rest of the kids can contra dancing. They look like they're having so much fun!! And the music is fun to...flute, keyboard, fiddle, drums and some other kind of pipe. It's very loud, but upbeat and makes you want to dance.