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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Invergarry Castle-An Atmospheric Ruin

I am so glad it’s finally fall. My favorite season! Although we are still in the throes of what has been 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 finally yields, giving way to those beautiful, 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.

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Old Packhorse Bridge in the Scottish Highlands

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 hump shaped Old Packhorse Bridge over the River Dulnain.

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Mandarin Ducks in Scotland? Why Yes There Are!

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 of months ago, we were walking through Milton Woods (near Farr), along the grassy bank above the River Nairn, when Mr. C spotted some unusual waterfowl 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 of these native East Asian species in Britain. Very few have made it all the way to Scotland, which makes what we saw even more special.

Mandarin ducks. In Scotland. Who knew?

Two male Mandarin ducks and one female Mandarin duck swimming in a river.
Two male Mandarin ducks swimming in a river.