All thoughts of spending time at Burgie Horse Trials dissipated when we arrived at our destination. Instead we opted to take to the hills and explore the Highlands.
After a brief stop over just outside Glasgow we headed up to Forres, passing through some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. Whenever I visit Scotland I am left questioning why I spend so much time abroad – when all this is practically on my doorstep (granted, its a 200 mile long doorstep).
We spent one night at a hotel in Inverness, and spent the following day exploring the area – not forgetting to call off at Loch Ness. Having observed no mysterious creatures we left disappointed and headed up the coast to our next port of call – Forres.
Knockomie Hotel has to be one of the best hotels I have stayed at, although I admit that my experience in this department is somewhat limited. We were given a warm and unstuffy welcome, the rooms were comfortable and the food was very good. They even welcomed Joe, who at best is proving a little unsociable when it comes to meeting strangers. Sometimes he greets them openly, other times he can be quite nasty, and for a small dog, intimidating. One of the drawbacks of our stay was that Joe kept us awake most of each night because he would growl every time he heard movement either outside the room, or in an adjoining room.
We didn’t spend much time in Forres however, because as soon as we awoke the next day we ventured out along the North East coastline – passing through Findhorn Bay, Nairn, Burghead, Hopeman, Lossiemouth, Spey Bay, and Cullen. We returned to Findhorn Bay in the evening, and went to a local pub for seafood.
Friday was spent exploring the Highlands – most of the day spent at Cromarty. Had lunch at a little cafe, where poor Mum required me to act as a translator in order to make her order. Poor Mum was certain she had just experienced hearing Scottish Gaelic, I felt a little sad telling her he was speaking English – she just couldn’t follow his accent! As for me, I nearly proposed marriage based on the sound of his voice alone.
More time was spent exploring the Highlands on Saturday, and Skye on Sunday. I love the North West of Scotland – Loch Carron / Loch Alsh areas in particular. But nothing can match the wild untamed beauty of the Scottish Highlands.
We started our journey back on Sunday, calling off at Stirling to spend the night. On Monday we arose early so we could arrive back at home before lunchtime. As they say the best laid plans often fail. A strange rattle in the engine warned us something was amiss as we passed Gretna, four miles later we found ourselves in a layby with a overheated car. A cap had worked its way loose and drained our radiator. With the mobile choosing this moment to go on the blink, I ended up walking up the side of the A74 Southbound to a small farm shop. Not only did they allow me to use their phone they also drove me back to the car! The hour that followed was nerve racking to say the least as our small car was constantly rocked by passing lorries who saw amusement in attempting to clip my wing mirror. Not funny!
Rescue arrived, and it was decided that we were to be driven the whole way home by tow truck. We arrived home 6pm Monday evening, red faced and certain that we had simply pushed our little car too hard in covering over one thousand miles in less than a week.
The experience has left me craving more, and so we are now abandoning all plans of spending Christmas and New Year in Spain in favour of a short break in Scotland for New Year.
My poor attempts at capturing my holiday can be found in my photolog.