Halloween and all of its festivities are nearly upon us, so I thought it would be fun to find a Halloween-themed cocktail that is made with whisky. Notice, that’s whisky without the ‘e’ (Scotch). Because as much as I adore bourbon, I’m pretty much all about Scotland here! I discovered this particular recipe on a … Read more Recipe: Professor’s Poisoned Apple
It was another serendipitous find for me and Mr. C. By the way, you can thank him for the silly title. 😉 Thanks to our mutual craving for margaritas one recent Saturday, we accidentally stumbled upon this latest offering from Don Julio while buying our tequila. A little over a year ago, Don Julio released … Read more Whisky Meets Tequila – The Transatlantic Romance Continues
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 … Read more Invergarry Castle
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 … Read more Old Packhorse Bridge
So tomorrow happens to be my 2 year blogging anniversary. Hooray me!!
To celebrate, I am trying a new whisky cocktail called a Full Scottish. Seems rather appropriate, actually, given the focus of my blog.
I found this recipe on The Glenlivet’s web site, however, I imagine it would be good with any other Speyside (or perhaps Highland) single malt of your choice. The Glenlivet recommends using their 15 year old Scotch for this recipe. Mr. C says that’s an awfully good Scotch to use in a cocktail recipe, but I told him we’re going to do it anyway! It’s a sacrifice I must make. 🙂
50 ml The Glenlivet 15 year old
20 ml/4 tsp lemon juice
15 ml/3 tsp white/ruby port ( I used Sandeman Founder’s Reserve Ruby Port)
Queen Anne’s Lace always makes me think of the scene in Anne of Green Gables when Diana Barry tucks a sprig of the summer flower into her best friend Anne’s hair. She tells Anne, “This is the very last of the Queen Anne’s Lace of the summer.” She then says, ” Don’t worry about your hair. No one even notices it anymore.” Her tender gesture and reassurance speaks to the sweet and inseparable bond of friendship between the girls.
Hi there, friends. I have something fun and a little different for you today. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with talented fiction author Cristine Eastin who, like me, has a deep and profound love for Scotland. Her most recent novel, Love Inherited, is set in the Scottish Highlands. Although relatively new on the literary stage, Cristine is a skilled and creative storyteller. She describes herself as an “author of contemporary fiction spiced with romance, faith, and hope”. I am so delighted to introduce her to you today! So without further adieu…
Wendy: Welcome, Cris. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.
Cristine: Thanks so much for the privilege of getting to do this!
Wendy: It’s my pleasure. Let’s just jump right in, shall we?
Wendy: What was the inspiration behind Love Inherited?
Cristine: Hmm…a gorgeous American woman inherits a huge Highland estate and tons of money and gets the drop-dead gorgeous laird…I didn’t have to go very subconscious to get to…wouldn’t that be fun? But seriously, having been an American young woman transplanted to England for two years, I know the outlander experience. And I wanted to write a story that, when the reader came to the end, would count for something. So I gave the main characters deep wounding or hurts they had to struggle with.
Wendy: The story of Love Inherited takes place in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Why did you choose this location as the setting for your book?
Cristine: Because I love, love, love Scotland. It’s where I’d love to live if they didn’t drive on the left. Living there in my writer’s head was second best. Having made eight trips to Scotland, I know it fairly well and I thought I could convey the setting to the reader.
The actual location of Love Inherited, Fionnloch, is a fictionalized Gairloch in Wester Ross in the northwest Highlands. My husband and I stayed at Shieldaig Lodge a few years ago and I was so captivated by the area that I set my book there.
I have waited for three months for this book to arrive and today it finally did. Victoria Magazine recently published their first book and boy is she a beauty! So in case you are wondering what I’ll be doing this weekend besides writing (and hunkering down inside to avoid the insane heat outside), there you go. Two hundred thirty-two pages of pure bliss.
What are your weekend plans?
I have a couple of fun posts in the works. First, I’ll be sharing an interview I did with a talented author. And then I’ll be taking you on a little trip to a fascinating stone circle set in the stunning countryside of Aberdeenshire. So stay tuned!
Hope each of you has a fabulous weekend. If you are here in the U.S. amidst this brutal heat wave, please be safe and stay cool!
One of the things I love about Scotland is their “freedom to roam” code, though I would be lying to you if I said that I am totally comfortable with it. The very idea that it is acceptable to trespass on someone’s private property uninvited is just so foreign and so contrary to our laws here in the United States. I can never quite get over the feeling that I may be an interloper, an unwanted guest who might get asked to leave whenever I wander off a public path. Of course, that’s simply not true!
In 2003, Scotland’s Land Reform Act was initiated, allowing everyone “rights of access over land and inland water throughout Scotland, subject to specific exclusions set out in the Act and as long as they behave responsibly” (http://scotways.com). Per Scotways, this basically boils down to three things: respecting the interests of other people, caring for the environment, and taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Of course, there are a some restrictions that hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts must abide by. For example, the land next to and used by a school, fields where crops are growing, or a person’s most immediate personal space (like their backyard or garden) are off limits. But restrictions aside, the beauty of this act is that is allows individuals the freedom to explore Scotland’s vast, wild, and remarkable landscape and unmaintained historical sites completely undeterred. And in a country with over 30,000 square miles of land and a population of only about 5.5 million (most living in the cities), that means you might never see another person while you roam!
A perfect example of a time when Mr. C and I benefited from this access right was when we visited Croft Moraig Stone Circle near Aberfeldy. The prehistoric site happens to occupy a farmer’s field, but because of Scotland’s code, we were permitted to park our car in an unmarked area on the side of the road and walk onto the property without fear of reproach. We were simply reminded by the farmer’s sign to shut the gate, which we were all too happy to do.
Scotland is not the only country with such a code. In fact, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Austria are just a few examples of other nations that also allow for the freedom to roam. Though I love and thoroughly appreciate having this unfettered access when I travel, I grapple with what my reaction would be if we enacted such a practice here in the U.S. Let’s face it. We Americans are overall quite a kind and generous lot, but many of us also strongly believe in a person’s right to privacy and in the right of consent. I know…it’s a conundrum – I want it both ways.
Regardless, as a visitor to Scotland, being granted permission to venture beyond roads and other public access points to off-the-beaten-path places and to be allowed to fully experience the wild, natural, and untamed beauty of the land is both a joy and an enormous privilege. I hope one day you can experience this freedom too.
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.
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.
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.