Scotland '06


In July 2006 I sold my house (in Eskilstuna) and bought a caravan (a Cabby 440 DL from 1987 if you must know :-). At the end of August I drove down to Gothenburg to catch the ferry to Newcastle and then further north into Scotland.

This trip has been split into three parts: September, parts 1 and 2, and October.

In this second part, I travelled from Dornoch to the top of Scottish mainland, then down to Inverness and along the Northeastern coast towards Stonehaven, and finally down the East coast to Lundin Links.

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September, part 2

Ullapool to Dornoch (continued)

Friday (15/9) turned out to become a rather nice day and I had lunch in Tain, where I also picked up an OK curry. The day was otherwise used to catch up on some reading.

Saturday (16/9) started off very foggy but also turned out a nice day. Yet another day to catch up on things I have had on backburner for a while...

Will sunday (17/9) be the day I get to Thurso? Yes, it was! :-) I started off by a visit to the broch south of Brora, which was followed up by a visit to the previous clearance village of Badbea. (The Clearances was when landowners evicted tenants from their crofts to let, the more lucrative, sheep graze on the land. The crofters had to move to the, most often less fertile, coast and start again.) Georgemas Junction was a must (if boring) before arriving in Thurso, which failed to impress me as well.
Nicer where the sand dunes east of Thurso as well as Dunnet Head, the northern tip of Scottish mainland. Moving on John o' Groats was a commercial disappointment (for me), but the trip down to Wick had it's points (mostly nice old houses). Wick is not either a place I feel compelled to return to and yet again, the trip south from there had it's points. Got a good photo of the sun shining on a lighthouse. Unfortunally it started raining so I decided to skip the cairns and standing stones. :-(

For monday (18/9) I had nothing planned... The afternoon was used to try and get connected to the Internet (and be allowed to connect my USB memory to upload this home page). I ended up picking up a chinese take-away in Golspie, which produced some photos while I was waiting for it. On the way back I got a glimpse of the old light railway between Dornoch and The Mound.

Dornoch to Bunchrew (Inverness)

On tuesday (19/9) I moved south again to Bunchrew just west of Inverness. The afternoon was spent browsing in Dingwall and Strathpeffer. It started of with a futile visit to North Kessock to try to see some dolphins (though a nice view of the old ferry crossing and Inverness :-). Next was Dingwall, with it's nice town hall and typical British railway station (where 134 864 men where supplied with tea during WW1). In Strathpeffer yet another railway station was visited, Strathpeffer Spa (closed, as is the 'main' Strathpeffer station, 2 miles outside the village). I took a walk along the old track bed of the branch line ("spa line"), overlooked by two old bronze age forts. Looked at another pictish stone, the Eagle Stone, and some of the hotels. I guess I saw the start of the autumn as well.
I finally got connected to Internet! Too bad I failed to upload the pictures, etc. for this home page...:-( (But by now that will have been fixed! :-)

The Black Isle was toured on the wednesday (20/9). It started of with a quick visit to Fortrose and it's cathedral, where I picked up a lunch that was eaten (looking at the waves) at Chanonry Point trying to spot a dolphin (but alas not...). I continued on further out on the penninsula (no, it's not actually an island :-) ending up at Cromarty, with a view of the North Sea between the Sutors. On the way back I stopped off at Beauly to look at the priory. Unfortunately it was a bit after lunch, i.e. not to many photos were taken...
(A quick visit to Inverness was managed, where I got to complete my collection of books on Scottish railways, snap some photos of railway station [quite boring] and a first look at Caledonian Canal - more on that 'tomorrow'.)

Thursday (21/9) and it's time for Culloden! (Culloden, 1746, was the last battle on British soil where the troops of Bonnie Prince Charles fought the English... and lost. After this the English came down on the Scots and forbade the wearing of tartans, the use of bagpipes, and other things related to the Scottish clan system. Yes, yes... There isn't much to see on the moor, except perhaps the cairn and stones with clan names raised by Scottish descendants.) The moor was pretty windy but moving on to Clava cairns, amoung other passage graves, in the woods was a big change. Lunch was had in Nairn, a town I could not find a reason to like before I went. And having been there I still can't find a reason... at least none more than Dornoch or Thurso (i.e. has a nice beach and a summer holiday might be nice there). I gave Cawdor Castle (but not there lovely trees :-) a miss as did I Fort George (as they cost a bit of money and I actually got a better view of the fort across the firth yesterday). Having missed the opportunity to get a good view of the railway viaduct at Clava cairns (and as I had time to spare) I went back to get a closer look. :-) I got a nice look at a small burn, that had 'eaten' itself in to the rock, and the 'small' bridge (compared to Culloden Viaduct) over it.
Back in 'the world', i.e. Inverness, I took a closer look at the Caledonian Canal and the railway swing bridge.

Bunchrew to Cullen

Friday (22/9) and 'moving day' again... I started off trying for Huntly, only to find the campsite full (a first for me! :-). I therefore pushed on to Cullen on the north coast. The afternoon was spent revisiting Elgin, a place I made a quick visited to a few years ago. Obviously I missed the cathedral last time, but my liking of Elgin has not improved. One good thing is that the square has become nicer as the traffic has been moved to a by-pass. In all fairness to Elgin (and Thurso, Wick, and Nairn) - I'm not a fan of towns. The evening sun was nice, just before it started to rain.

Saturday (23/9) and time to see Huntly, amoung other things, which I 'missed' staying at. The day started of a bit overcast but when the sun hit the rocks, the view from the camp site was really nice. I started of by touring Cullen and documenting it's many railway bridges (now unused), harbour, and beach. A quick visit to Fochaber's square, as it reminded me of Grantown-on-Spey's square (although a bit smaller :-). Good old Lennox was nice enough to introduce electric light to Fochaber. Moving on I went to Keith and toured railway station (won't bore you with that :-), Milton Tower, new town, old town (with 2 RR for wedding party), and got a glimpse of whisky storage and vats. (Saw a limousine in Cullen, for another wedding party, and yet another on the way to Keith, or was it the same one?)
Pushing on to Huntly I saw the square (without the caravan this time! :-) and it's town hall (and railways station of course, but won't bore you with that either :-). Then headed 'home' to do some washing...

Sunday (24/9) was used to see more of the east: Banff, Macduff, Gardenstown, Portsoy, Sandend, and Fordyce. Banff was seen in the rain... so not to many photos. But I got to see the moat of the old castle (which is no more) and yet more nice houses. Had my lunch (from Banff) outside the Marine Museum in Macduff (still in the rain). I think I saw the less interesting side of Macduff because I was quick to push on to Gardenstown, where I had coffee in a café/gallery with lots of good photos in many shapes (pictures, coasters, table mats, and more). I myself got a pretty good photo towards Crovie, I must say. :-) (Gardenstown had to be visited as I saw the zig-zag road in my road atlas, and it didn't disappoint me. The view wasn't to bad either in the mist. :-)
Portsoy's 17th century harbour was nice, as was it's old streets. Got a 'good view' as well. :-) Sandend has a nice beach and next to the old distillery (now only used to store whisky) an old windmill (called The Cup and Saucer and strangely enough built on top of a bronze age burial cairn). Lastly I took a walk around Fordyce, visiting it's church, lime kilns, workshop (and the workshop's 'Internet café'), castle, and old church (where forestry work was being done).

Cullen to Stonehaven

On monday (25/9) I moved again... Stonehaven was the destination and the early afternoon was used to tour the beach, the harbour, and old town and town hall. I now know where Mackie (icecream maker) 'lives', and he has to be a wee man. :-) Having seen photos of Dunottar Castle I just had to see it for myself! Result: 90 pictures! :-) A quick tour of railway station before supper was fitted in. After a wet afternoon the evening turned out quite nice. (The day also produced two videos of the waves at the beach - one to count the waves and one to get the noise of the shingle when the waves retract.)

Tuesday (26/9) was spent driving west from Stonehaven. I took a slightly closer look at Montrose and Arbroath. The library in Montrose, built by Andrew Carnegie, is very nice. The boring station was visited, where I got a great view of the basin at low tide. On the way back I stopped off to look at the basin at high tide to compare. The cathedral in Arbroath was massive in it's day - larger than St. Andrews. The promenade was interesting, but must be nicer when the tide is in. Visited the Signaling Tower and it's museum (the tower was used to signal the lighthouse 11 miles out, i.e. the tiny, tiny thing far, far out in the middle of photo, and to house the families of the lighthouse workers). I remembered to stop on the way home and take a closer photo of Stonehaven's war memorial, that features in photos on the hill above Stonehaven, and a birds eye view of harbour and town.
(This is where I started to feel the tourist fatigue syndrome, i.e. got a bit bored of touring.)

Stonehaven to St. Andrews/Lundin Links

On thursday I have to be in Fife, hopefully to meet my cousin Catherine and her 'Wee Iain'. I decided to move on the wednesday (27/9) and found my second camp site that was full (outside Dairsie). So I ended up 'on a hill' above St. Andrews (not above East Sands though and not Craigtoun :-). I stayed here for two nights before moving to Lundin Links (which was less than 2/3 of the St. A. price). Visiting my aunt and uncle has meant less tours (i.e. less photos). On saturday (30/9) Catherine, Robert, and 'Wee Iain' came to Cupar, where the 'Kilted Viking' (and his beard) was a bit frightening to start with... :-) ... and on sunday (1/10) Grant, Vicky, and Chloe came to Cupar. (If I stay a bit longer maybe the Kiwis will come as well. :-) The stay at Lundin Links lasted for almost two week and only a few short trips where taken.

Continued in October.


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