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 a scenic, old cemetery, nestled in between the road and the loch. You know us. We just had to pull over and take a closer look.
I am so glad it’s finally fall. It’s my favorite season. Although we are still in the throes of a long, hot, dry summer here in Virginia, there is promise on the horizon. There is a perceptible change in the light as the days begin to shorten. Mornings are cooler and the trees are beginning to show a little color. I have to remind myself that it won’t be long before the heat will finally yield, giving way to those wonderful, crisp, sweater wearing days of autumn.
Anyway, I have been on a short two week break from blogging but today I am back and excited to share with you a very cool castle ruin.
It’s Friday again! I can’t believe it. I also can’t believe it’s nearly September. And fall. Bring it on. Anyway, hope ya’ll have had a nice week. Oops-sorry, my Oklahoma roots just popped out for a sec. Well, better that than my gray roots, I suppose. 🙂
Today I want to show you Old Packhorse Bridge. This pretty bridge is located in the village of Carrbridge, just off of the A938 in the Cairngorms National Park.
The last thing one would expect to see in Scotland (outside of a zoo) are Mandarin ducks. But Mandarin ducks we did see!
A couple months ago, we were walking through Milton Woods (near Farr), along the grassy bank above the River Nairn, when Mr. C spotted some unusual water fowl swimming below. Not sure what type of birds they were, he attempted to snap some photos. Unfortunately, they caught sight of him and were frightened and flew away. This photo was the best one he got.
It wasn’t until a bit later when I was looking through our photos that I realized what we had seen. How fantastic! Mandarin ducks! In Scotland!
According to BBC Scotland, the birds were introduced to the UK from the Far East in the mid-eighteenth century. Over time, some have managed to escape captivity and have bred and established colonies. There are over 7,000 Mandarin ducks in Britain but apparently very few have made it all the way to Scotland. Which makes what we saw even more special.
Mandarin ducks. In Scotland. Who knew?
One of my heart’s desires on our recent trip to Scotland was to find a bluebell wood. I worried that we might have been too late, but was absolutely delighted to find them still in bloom. These photos were taken in a wood next to Boleskine Burial Ground on Loch Ness.
It’s the little things.
A fine and subtle spirit dwells
In every little flower,
Each one its own sweet feeling breathes
With more or less of power.
There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell,
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.
∼from “The Bluebell” by Anne Bronte
At the western end of Loch Tay, roughly a half mile northeast of the village of Killin, Scotland, lies the precarious, overgrown, atmospheric, and seriously cool ruins of Finlarig Castle.
It is unlikely that you will find this one in your guide books, as Finlarig sits on private property. However, it’s definitely worth a stop if you happen to be in that neck of the woods. If you are a serious castle seeker, then I think Finlarig is worth going out of your way for.
Parking is available across from the cemetery, about a minute’s walk to the castle. When Mr. C and I were there a few years ago, we were approached by a local who requested we move our car to the lot rather than park directly at the site. I don’t think we were hurting anything, but alas, it is private property so it’s best to do as you are told.
Like The White Bridge that I wrote about last week, today’s post features another amazing, serendipitous find. Scotland certainly does seem to be full of those.
One afternoon a few weeks ago, Mr. C and I were driving through the southwest portion of the Cairngorms National Park near the village of Laggan.
We had just turned onto General Wade’s Military Road from the A86 when we spotted the fantastic ruins of an old church to our left. Naturally, we pulled over to check it out.
I never thought I’d be the type to geek out over a bridge. Or old military transit roads. Good gracious. Who AM I?! Someone please send help.
While heading southwest one morning on the B862, Mr. C and I came upon this interesting bridge over the River Fechlin in the tiny community of Whitebridge, Scotland.
Intrigued, we parked our car and with cameras in hand, crossed the road to get a better look.
Well friends, another Scottish adventure has come to a close. I’m home.
It’s 4:45 in the morning as I begin to write this. My body, however, thinks it’s 9:45 and that Mr. C and I should be loading up the car for a day of exploration. With our tummy’s full of Scottish bacon, eggs, and coffee, we would have been all fueled up for a long day of hikes, history, and miles upon miles of some of the most breathtaking scenery on God’s earth.
Being home is bittersweet. I missed my dogs terribly and there is something to be said for getting back into the “regular” routine of things, I guess. But oh how my heart hurt when those airplane wheels began to roll.
That’s how it feels when you’re in love.
A Red Squirrel in the Scottish Highlands. Isn’t he cute? Look at the tufts of hair on his ears.