Culloden Viaduct

It is so much fun to drive the narrow, single-track roads through Scotland’s countryside. Not only is the scenery beautiful, but it’s along those routes that you often find the best surprises. On this day, the surprise was Culloden Viaduct.

Culloden Viaduct

Culloden Viaduct (also known as Nairn Viaduct) lies about seven miles east of Inverness and about a half-mile from the popular Clava Cairns site. The massive red sandstone masonry viaduct is the longest of its kind in Scotland, at 1,800 ft. Built by the Highland Railway and engineered by Murdoch Paterson, Culloden Viaduct opened to rail traffic in November 1898. Today, it is still in use and is the largest structure on the Highland Main Line (scenic rail) between Perth and Inverness.

An upward view of a viaduct
Constructed of red sandstone with concrete foundations
Free Scotland written on a stone pillar

The viaduct was built on a subtle curve with a 100 ft. wide central arch that spans the River Nairn. Ten 50 ft. wide arches and eighteen 50 ft. wide arches flank the center arch on each side, respectively (twenty-nine in all). Though the structure was built with a double-track width, only one of the tracks remains.

Culloden Viaduct
The wide central arch is flanked by ten smaller arches on one side and eighteen on the other. The River Nairn flows under the largest arch.
Culloden Viaduct

You can see our car and Mr. C in the photo above. Suffice it to say, we felt very tiny next to the giant columns! This was definitely a fun find. The only thing that could have made it better would have been to see a train make the crossing. Maybe next time.

That’s it for today, friends! Have a good one.

Cheers,

Ardverikie Estate – Home of “Monarch of the Glen”

A number of years ago, I discovered the British television show “Monarch of the Glen”. Have you seen it? The comedy/drama comprised seven seasons that aired from 2000-2005. I immediately fell in love with the premise and the quirkiness of the characters and storylines. If you’re not familiar with it, the first five seasons revolve around the story of Archie MacDonald, a young restauranteur in London, who reluctantly moves back to his family’s home in the Scottish Highlands (after being bamboozled by his mother), to assume his role as laird of the severely cash-strapped Glenbogle Estate. In his quest to save Glenbogle, Archie seems to constantly face a barrage of obstacles and disappointments, and his strained relationship with his eccentric father (played brilliantly by Richard Briers) makes things even more complicated. It is because of the teamwork and dedication of the family’s loyal and offbeat estate staff, that Glenbogle slowly begins to emerge from the ashes. Archie even finds love.

Read more

Dunlichity Church and Cemetery-A Hidden Gem In the Scottish Highlands

Nestled within the gorgeous Scottish Highlands, on a very minor road about ten miles from Inverness, sits a lovely hidden gem – Dunlichity Church and Cemetery.

Dunlichity Parish Church and Cemetery.

Mr. C and I discovered Dunlichity Church by accident in 2019. Dunlichity is an example of “what I call” the real Scotland (any “Miranda” fans out there? 🙂 ) You might be wondering what I mean by that because obviously, it’s all real, of course! What I mean is that Dunlichity isn’t one of the uber-popular and (sshh, dare I say it?) overpromoted sites that draw in people from near and far. It will probably never appear on a list of the “Top 10 Things to Do In Scotland” (well, that is unless someone like Dana Gabaldon makes it famous). I could be completely wrong – but I’d be willing to bet that nearby residents and history enthusiasts are maybe some of the only individuals aware of its existence. A small hidden gem, Dunlcihity Church and its cemetery are a wonderful, authentic, off-the-radar testimony to Scottish lives past and present that only a lucky few curious visitors and residents will ever stumble across. 

Read more

The Fingal of Caledonia

It was one of those perfect ‘at the right place at just the right time’ moments. Mr. C and I were driving south on Scotland’s A82 on our way to Invergarry Castle when we came to the Aberchalder Swing Bridge on the Caledonian Canal. As we crossed over, we noticed that there was an interesting looking barge approaching in the distance.

A barge called the Fingal of Caledonia sailing on the Caledonian Canal

We were quite curious about it, so we pulled off at the Bridge of Oich car park a short way away and scuttled back to the bridge to get a closer look. By then, the safety gates had been lowered and all traffic temporarily halted.

Read more

A Walk Through Milton Wood

Well, hello there! How are you? Bet you thought I had disappeared. I assure you, friends, I haven’t. The last six weeks have just been completely, utterly, absolutely, and positively BONKERS. Unfortunately, blogging has taken a back seat. But here I am, back with you today and ready to take you on a walk through beautiful Milton Wood. Grab your backpacks – don’t forget to take some water – and let’s be off.

Gorse at the entrance to Milton Wood.
Gorse in full bloom at the entrance to Milton Wood
Walking path in Milton Wood.
Into the woods

Read more

Culloden House and the Bonnie Prince Charlie Connection

Hello, friends! I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy during this crazy pandemic. How is everyone weathering the quarantine? Has the place where you live begun to reopen?

Today I would like to show you Culloden House, a stately Georgian-style mansion set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Last year, Mr. C and I visited for afternoon tea, before exploring the house and grounds and then heading over to see nearby Clava Cairns.

Front view of Culloden House. Green Virginia Creeper growing all over the  front of the mansion.

Read more

The Centre of Scotland-A Surprising Find

Aside from soaking up buckets of gorgeous scenery, one of the best parts of motoring around Scotland are the surprises. It was an afternoon in May, and Mr. C and I were out for a leisurely drive through the Highlands. We were about four miles east of Laggan, having randomly diverged off of General Wade’s Military Road onto an itty bitty single-track road with a sign that pointed towards Glentruim (near the village of Newtonmore).

Google Maps image of General Wade's Military Road near Laggan, Scotland.

We were casually cruising along, lost in thought when we suddenly spotted a massive boulder with a yellow plaque. Curious, we pulled over to take a look.

A large boulder with the Centre of Scotland sign tacked onto it.

Read more

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cold

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge comes from Tina. She has challenged us to depict cold.

I chose this photo of Loch Tay in Scotland. Fifteen miles long, a mile wide, and around five-hundred feet deep, Loch Tay lies in the valley between the villages of Kenmore and Killin. The area has a rich history from the Iron Age when ancient people lived on the loch on man-made islands called crannogs.

Beautiful at any time of the year, there is something extra lovely about Loch Tay when clothed in white.

Loch Tay against snow covered mountains.

Wishing each of you a happy week!

xo,

If you would like to join in the fun of the weekly challenges, click here.

Boleskine Cemetery and a Side of Witchcraft

It was a gorgeous Scottish morning, the start of a day that held the promise of adventure and discovery. Mr. C and I were out early, cruising along the B852 (General Wade’s Military Road), on the south side of Loch Ness, when true to the promise, we happened upon Boleskine Cemetery, a lovely burial ground nestled in between the road and the loch. You know us. We just had to pull over and take a closer look.

Loch Ness and gravestones at Boleskine Cemetery.

Read more