Ballindalloch Castle: Scotland’s “Pearl of the North”

It’s cold. It’s gloomy. It’s the time of year when cabin fever starts to become a very real thing; although, I just realized the official start to spring is only 31 days away! Woop! Anyway, to cheer myself up on this gray Monday (well, this, and maybe watching a few episodes of “The Great British Baking Show”), I am going to take you guys to Scotland’s “Pearl of the North”; the BEAUTIFUL, the GORGEOUS, the OH-SO-STUNNING Ballindalloch Castle.

A tree lined gravel path leading to Ballindalloch Castle.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Abstract

This week Patti has challenged us to “break the rules and go beyond the traditional realistic image of an object, scene, or element” to post a picture of something abstract. I immediately thought of these photos, taken at Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Moray, in the northeast part of Scotland.

This is the beautiful vaulted ceiling and column in the cathedral’s Chapter House, an octagonal room in which the cathedral clergy met daily to discuss business. The Chapter House was built in the early 13th century and remodeled in the late 1400s.

A column and intricate stone ceiling at Elgin Cathedral.

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Kinloss Abbey-The Ruins of an Old Cistercian Monastery

It was late afternoon, and Mr. C and I were on our way back to our cabin in Farr, tired from a full day of exploring sites in the Moray region of Scotland. We were driving on the B9089 through the village of Kinloss when I suddenly spotted some intriguing looking ruins out my window. I shouldn’t have been surprised – it is Scotland after all. You can’t drive five miles without coming upon some treasure or another (you think I jest). I had Mr. C turn the car around, and though we were worn out from our long day of adventuring, we ended up spending another hour or so happily exploring what turned out to be the fantastic ruins of Kinloss Abbey.

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Celebrate Halloween Like a Boss-The Faces of Elgin Cathedral

A few of my friends have popped by today to wish you all a happy Halloween! They may look a little frightening, but I promise they’re harmless. They are the vault bosses who reside at Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Scotland.

Elgin Cathedral in Scotland.
Elgin Cathedral dates back to 1224.

Never heard of a ‘vault boss’? Yeah, I hadn’t either until I met these guys.

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Auchindoun Castle-A 15th Century Treasure

Hi, friends. What’s new in your corner of the world? It’s hard to believe that a week ago yesterday, I was sitting on a crappy, cramped Boeing 757, heading home from two amazing weeks in Scotland. Why we would ever get into a metal tube that shoots us through the air at 500 miles per hour and at some 34,000 feet above the ground is beyond me. Ohhhh, I know why. It’s because our love for the people and places that await us far outweigh any of the risks. And for Scotland (in the words of Adele), I’m willing to take the risk.

Today I would like to share with you one of my favorites castles on my ever-expanding list. This is Auchindoun Castle, a 15th-century treasure that lies near Dufftown, in Moray.

Yellow gorse in the foreground and Auchindoun Castle in the background.

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Cullen Skink Recipe

Hello, friends. Today’s recipe comes to you from the great state of Florida! No, not really. It comes from the village of Cullen in Moray, Scotland. I just had to go all the way to Florida to find the haddock.

I have wanted to make Cullen skink soup for a while. I searched for the required fish at every single local grocery store here in Virginia. None to be found, I was delighted when, while on vacation, I spotted frozen haddock at the Publix in Panama City Beach, Florida. I immediately bought two bags, packed them on ice, and took them back home with me in the car. Using packaged frozen fish is probably not quite as good as fresh, but hey, be grateful for what you have, right?

So I’m guessing by now that you have realized that Cullen skink soup is not made of skink.

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