It feels like a week of fond”lasts”. Last time driving along a certain lane, last time strimming this lane, last time to admire a certain view, last time to clean a lodge and so on. On reflection, we feel we have got the balance of sight-seeing, walking and exploring further afield for our six week stay in Scotland. It would be so tempting to jump in the car as soon as we finish our working day and head off all over the place but that is when things just become a tick list. I think we have said this before, we prefer to see less places but enjoy them because, let’s face it, we are never going to see them all. So here is a bit of a summary of how we spent our last week mooching around slow time.
Edge of the Cairngorms
On one of my leaflet forays, I came across one for Dunkeld Cathedral which is about 11 miles south of Pitlochry. Dunkeld and Birnam lie on opposite sides of the River Tay and are linked by an impressive bridge built back in 1809. The Cathedral has kept this former name even though there are no longer any cathedrals or bishops in the Church of Scotland. The Cathedral is part ruin and part well maintained place of worship. The location is so scenic with a large lawn running from it down to the edge of the River Tay.
We had a plan to head to Braemar via Glenshee and the Snow Road but this was before the skies turned a deep shade of purple and the deluge started. After coffee and a bun in the lovely Wee Tee Shop and Pottery at Glenshee, we decided to abandon the idea of Braemar and just get to the highest British public road, the Cairnwell Pass. It was a long slow climb for our sturdy VW Golf and when we stopped at the top by the Glenshee Ski Centre we recognised the aroma of a very warm engine.
The idea for making a scenic tourist route through the Highlands of Perthshire and the Cairngorms came from the success of naming similar roads in Scandinavia. In the rain it just looked very grey but to see it in the snow would be quite spectacular.
A Hooley, a Fling and a Caber
We had seen the poster, we had it in the diary – the Kenmore Highland Games! We just had to go to our first games and we were so glad we did. It was a real community event and what I liked most was that it was all going on at once. There were youngsters doing a sack race, adults doing sprint, throwing a hammer and the beautifully attired young ladies doing their Highland Fling. Across the field, in a quieter corner, we even had the bagpipe judge assessing a variety of solo bagpipe players (not so quiet for the campers who obviously decided to make a night of it and had put up their little tents on the edge of the car park). Throw in the variety of stalls of local arts, crafts and produce and what more could you ask for? There is one thing actually, having researched what events take place at the games we didn’t get to see any haggis throwing.
Falls of Acharn
Acharn is just a few miles from Kenmore on the edge of Loch Tay. A short walk was what we needed so headed off for the hour long walk. An unusual feature of this walk was that it led us through a hermits cave to view the Falls. The entrance was dark and gloomy and because the cave headed off at a right angle so it was hard to see the other end. On leading back into daylight the view across the Falls was great. The trick of keeping the viewer a little in suspense worked well (there is a photo of the Falls then one of the exit from the cave to the viewing platform from the other side of the gorge).
Linn of Tummel and a River or two
Another jaunt we made was a 7 mile walk from our little garden yurt along the Rivers Tummel and Garry, past the Linn of Tummel Nature Reserve, over Coronation, Garry and Clunie bridges.
Detouring only slightly to visit the Boating Station for an ice cream. It was so picturesque but we did spend too much time watching rafters on the River Tummel and got caught in a heavy downpour for the last 2 miles. McMacs had been left at home so we were like drowned rats but less attractive.
Final Garden Adventures
The week of “lasts” included our last days in each of the Foss House and Drumcroy Lodges gardens. Whilst tackling some stubborn ferns, I came across a very old deer or stag’s skull. No other body parts to report so not sure what happened to him. Maybe one of the lodge guests had the rest on the BBQ!
It has been a great HelpX adventure with Norman, Tina, Callum, Peter, Joan and our four legged friends, Whiskey, Coco, Millie, Tala, and Beauly. Not forgetting McDuff the strimmer and Travis the Tractor. We pass them on with heavy hearts to two new American HelpXers, Joe and Beth.
Next stop Pitlochry Station and the journey South for a bit of a Hooley and Fling of our own to become the out-laws for the second time to the lovely Katie who is tying the knot with our eldest son, Shaun. We are hoping to transform ourselves into respectable parents of the Groom – see how we scrub up in the next post.
06/07 – 14/07/2017