Sunday, July 08, 2007

Scotland 7

Monday, 18 June

Another full Scottish breakfast this morning, and I decided against the turtleneck that clings to my belly. Love that shortbread.

We packed into the vans at 9:00 and headed east to Inverness. Along the way, we peeked at the ruins of a castle that didn't make much of an impression on me, though the view over Loch Ness was lovely. (Paul loved this castle, because there was a GMC Jimmy parked next to where we stopped. He has an odd attachment to Jimmies, considering that he totaled the last two he owned.)

And then two fighter jets flew overhead! Back again! Pretty cool. RAF and Loch Ness.

As we drove further east, the Highlands became tamer. Everything was green and softer. (Have I mentioned that there are lots of ferns as ground cover? I'm told that this is where the midges live.) The hills are more rounded, the lochs further apart, and there's more flat space.

Sheep and cattle grazed in fenced pastures rather than mingling on the roads and beyond. Some fields even showed evidence of modern agricultural operations.

And Inverness was surprisingly large, not all right on the water, and sprawling.

Culloden battlefield was an interesting stop for me, though everyone else was very disappointed by the construction (to return it to its original state, including a less-obtrusive visitor center, though heavy machinery did disturb the mood.) Gabaldon did such a good job making the history come alive: Frasiers, MacKenzies, Camerons. Again, the punishment the British meted out after the battle was beyond cruel, easily approaching genocide.

After Culloden, we went over to Clava Cairns. Everyone enjoyed this. It was peaceful and quiet; we had the place to ourselves. Moss, ferns, evergreens, grass, stones, history, time to bask in the dappled sunlight, all was lovely.

Eventually, we headed back to Inverness for shopping, but I wasn't clear about what I wanted to shop for, apparently, because we ended up at a mall! We quickly left (though I half-jokingly suggested that we stop at Starbucks first) and found local shops nearby, including a Victorian Market. It was nice to get a flavor of the local city life, though tourism here - as elsewhere - seems to be the main industry.

A long drive back to the hotel (2 hours) and we decided to put the girls straight to bed, which has worked pretty well so far (11:30 pm) each up once and now sleeping again. I really enjoyed dinner with the other adults, though Paul and I did have to take shifts staying in the room with the girls.

Ada is kicking, time to sign off.

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