Monday, 27 May 2019

On to Inverness

Today we toured the south east Scottish Highlands, wherever possible staying on the B roads.  The route took us in a northerly direction though a part of Scotland we hadn’t previously visited.

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From Alyth there was a steady climb to Glenshee on narrow roads.  By the time we reached the summit at Glenshee the terrain and vegetation had changed significantly.  Rolling hills which reminded me of the land around Benmore in NZ South Island.  Some of it also looked similar to Central Otago.  Of course it was Scottish settlers who established themselves in Otago.  Not because it reminded them of home….. it was the discovery of gold! 

Glenshee appears to be a major Scottish skiing area.  Although with no accommodation people must travel daily.

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We drove on to Braemar where we stopped to have a look around.

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The annual Braemar Highland Games are held here every spring.   The Queen’s Scottish residence at Balmoral Castle is only 9 miles to the east of Braemar.  We didn’t think it would be polite to pop in for tea and continued north.

In truth we had lunch in Braemar with Jan selecting the macaroni cheese for the third successive day whilst I opted for the Wild Boar Burger. Frankly it didn’t taste like wild boar.  More likely ‘mildly annoyed’. 

Braemar Castle is on the outskirts of the village.  It’s a tourist attraction (of course).  I didn’t find it interesting.  The castle actually looked ‘new’. Or perhaps I’m getting blasé about castles.  This one had too many windows to look old.  Further along the road was another interesting castle or house tucked amongst trees.  We found a layby and I walked 500m back down the road in a effort to take a photo.  The problem was the building had been carefully surrounded by trees.One assumes to provide the owners with plenty  of privacy. 

IMG_3470IMG_3471A check in Google Maps revealed the building as Invercauld Castle.  Wikipedia states “The Farquharson family settled in the area in the 14th century, and constructed a tower house in the 16th century. A vaulted basement within the present building dates from this time, although the tower house was remodelled in the late 17th century. Further alterations were made through the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1875 the castle was extensively remodelled by John Thomas Wimperis in the Scots Baronial style.[1] The house retains many Victorian furnishing and paintings.”

Some of the B roads eventually became single lane with passing bays.  Fortunately there was little traffic despite it being the last day of the Bank Holiday weekend.  No doubt they we on the A roads and motorways.

It was whilst were were driving on these high B roads that we noticed pockets of snow on the distant hills.

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I’m now harking back to my schoolboy history lessons and if I am correct the Highlands used to be quite densely populated.  However the local ‘Lords’ turfed many of the small peasant farmers off the land and replacing them with sheep.  Many of he disposed Scots emigrated to Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand with others heading to England where they found work in the factories of the Industrial Revolution.  Of course I could be wrong?

2 comments :

nb Chuffed said...

Now you are in inverness I hope you will be exploring the Caledonian Canal, or will that be too risky? It's quite different from the English canals; we had a cruiser holiday on it many years ago, traversing Loch Ness, taking part in a mini-ceilidh in a hotel with a giant Nessie outside, and not quite seeing Nessie - at one point our wake, a rich brown from the peat, had a strange curling smoothness to it, almost like being chased by a monster ....
best wishes
Debby

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Debby,
We are going to follow Loch Ness tomorrow before starting back south.