Sunday, June 29, 2014

From Dornie to Oban

 We left Dornie after the B&B baked goods breakfast. We drove in the opposite direction from our end of day destination as we wanted to visit the village of Plockton.

Winding narrow roads and little villages and thirty minutes later we were in Plockton.

We had settled on going there because of its name more than anything. We read that it was a pretty little place and then we heard of some of its fame.

 The village is a popular tourist resort, especially because the TV series Hamish Macbeth, starring Robert Carlyle, was filmed there, substituting for the fictional Lochdubh. Plockton was also used for various scenes in the film The Wicker Man and the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries TV series.

We saw some small yachts on the water and spoke with a local about the sailing class that was going on. Young kids learning to sail in such a safe and picturesque environment.

We drove much of the morning and early afternoon arriving at Lochnell Hotel and booking in early enough to enjoy the vistas.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


 Having spent a day thoroughly enjoying the sights of Skye we retired to our room at the B&B and i was doing a little work, glancing up I noticed how the light had changed.
We rushed out with our cameras and drove to various points in and around the castle and were lucky enough to reflect on the castle beauty and the late evening light.
 As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands.
 Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries.

Dornie (Scottish Gaelic: An Dòrnaidh ) is a small former fishing village in the Kintail district in western Ross-shire Highlands of Scotland, with a population of 360 (2006 census [1]). Dornie
It is near the meeting point of Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

First day out of town

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Our blue and silver Audi took a little while to collect due to the loooong line at the car hire place.
But it was worth the wait and we headed south to  Melrose a lovely little village with lots to see.

 Our first pub lunch for this trip. The women beside us had ordered a "healthy sald"- they were huge serves. Fortunately we ordered a sandwich which was a truly delicious meal and sufficient- so glad we didn't get a huge plate of food.

 Melrose Abbey is said to be the burial place of the heart of Robert the Bruce.
The abbey was founded by Cistercian monks and has a long and fascinating history spanning from the 12th century.

 Perhaps the first of the gardens for this trip

Friday, June 20, 2014

Day two- Edinburgh

 A delightful long visit to the National Portrait gallery.
I do love a good portrait gallery. i think it humanizes so much of the history of places and you get such a good potted history by seeing those of significance from the country.
Amazing contributions the Scots have made to the world and then equally interesting stands taken by different people.

In the library there were some fascinating "death masks". The rationale for doing these and then displaying them was beyond me
It wasn't until we explored the murals and portraits in this beautiful building that it occurred to me that of course murals are portraits of people.
Malcolm the Maiden was a tad fascinating title.

The ceiling of the hall was equally as glorious.

John Byrne's exhibition Sitting Ducks.
John Byrne was born on 6th of January 1940 in Paisley, birthplace of Alexander Wilson, Father of American Ornithology. He grew up in Ferguslie Park housing scheme - at the time pretty much the worst slum in Europe and was educated at the city's St Mirin's Academy. He quit school in Fifth Year, prior to sitting his 'Highers' and, having failed to secure a job painting cinema posters with Mr Brown, Paisley's only commercial artist, started work as a ‘slab boy’ mixing powder colour for the designers at A F Stoddard, carpet manufacturers in nearby Elderslie.  His work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad. Several of his paintings hang in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the museum of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. 
In 2001 he was awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours list for services to literature and the theatre but returned it in protest at the British Government's joining forces with the US Administration's invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. 
In 2004 he was made an associate of the Royal Scottish Academy and a full member in 2007.
Byrne is an Honorary Fellow of the GSA, the RIAS, an Honorary Member of the RGI and has Honorary Doctorships from the universities of Paisley, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Strathclyde. 
Unfortunately the catalogue of his work was not available, yet, but what an incredible artist. Loved loved loved his work. 

Strolling along we walked past the coffee shop where JK Rowling sat and wrote  the Harry Potter books
I wasn't going to but had to photograph Greyfriars Bobby
We walked around the corner to the church yard where Michele said "this is the kirkyard wherein I fell on my bum".
A little inspiration from the great writers we had been seeing blended with a nasty experience from a few days prior when the combination of rounded marble pillar and slippery pants and impossible footing resulted in her slipping off the pillar and landing upon the ground all done without an audience, or injury.

The Power of Ten exhibition at the Museum of Scotland was about John Napier the "inventor of logarithms.

Who'd have thought!

Day one Edinburgh!

 It was a bit of a flurry leaving NYC for the start of the journey.
The choices of places to travel to have been decided by a range of factors
 Michele's biennial Infant Mental Health conference in Edinburgh
the cruise of the Baltic for Anne Marie's birthday
the trip to Burgundy for Sharan's birthday- I'm not complaining mind you :)

 An overnight flight to Edinburgh from NYC- note to self make sure you notify the bank that you are going to be accessing your account- luckily I had enough USD to get the taxi into the hotel Michele was staying at.

Even though it was 11am here my body was saying you have only had at most 4 hours sleep and it is 6am and you've been awake far too long I still headed out on the trek. First to the Edinburgh Art Centre which was a lovely artistic start and view of both art in Scotland but also of the city itself and some "coverage" of history.

We walked round and round the centre of the city. Part of the round and round was in search of a pharmacy looking for sunscreen. The last thing I thought of needing in Scotland and the last thing the Scots thought we'd need too :). 19C & 20C temperatures and they are complaining of the heat. 

Grassmarket provided a little respite from the walking- steps and hills.

Looking down to Grassmarket from a a different nearby angle.

The cliffs!