Tuesday 26 September 2017

Six days in Scotland in September - Part Two

From Pitlochry we began to make our way towards the Highlands through the Cairngorms to our next overnight stop at Insh Hall, Kincraig.
 This was a delightful location in the heart of the countryside at the edge of a Lock Insh with its own beach.  Guests staying two nights or more are entitled to free hire of water sports and ski equipment from 4-6pm.

On the complex there are also chalets, an outdoor centre with every water sport imaginable plus a dry ski slope.  The delicious breakfast is served in the Boathouse Restaurant which directly overlooks the loch.  The guests were from all over the world and a variety of ages.  We even one brave woman having a swim. 

The restaurant also serves dinner but we ate at The Tipsy Laird in nearby Kingussie.
The next day, we continued driving through the dramatic landscape of the Cairngorms, stopping at Aviemore before making our way to the hustle and bustle of Inverness.
 Inverness Castlle

It was then on to the coastal resort of Nairn with its white sands. 

Sadly the sunny showers gave way to a steady drizzle so we moved on to Lossiemouth, where our next overnight stop was scheduled.

 View of coast and golf club from hotel room

The boat monument below is in memory of the men who drowned in three fishing boats, virtually wiping out the male population of the then small village of Lossiemouth.

 War defences in the North Sea
 The skerries (rocky islands) is home to diverse wildlife

Friday 22 September 2017

Six days in Scotland in September - Part One

Our road trip was rather whistle stop in nature and we had to pick and choose what we were going to see.  However that leaves loads more to do next time.  I’d just like to mention that my RHS membership card was beneficial in keeping down entrance cost to gardens.
First stop Dunblane with its bitter sweet recent history.
We looked round the well set out museum and saw all kinds of artefacts from battlefields, farms and homes.  

This quiet town will always be remembered for a most tragic event.  A gunman went on a shooting spree at the local primary school killing 16 children and their teacher.  One of the surviving pupils became one of Dunblane’s famous sons, the tennis player Andy Murray. 

 The gold post box and bench in honour of Any Murray

 A statue in memory of those who perished in the school massacre

Although we saw tennis courts, apparently Judy Murray has put in a planning application for a tennis and golf centre.
After staying the night in the city of Perth with its lovely buildings, we visited some well stocked, public gardens by the River Tay.

 Bridge over the River Tay

 Rodney Gardens by the River Tay, Perth

Then it was off to one of Scotland's most important stately homes,Scone Palace (here Scone rhymes with spoon) which has an exciting and colourful history.   

The guides were excellent and really brought the rooms and pieces to life.  The dining room was set out as it would have been for the visit of the young Queen Victoria.  It took them two years to prepare for her visit!  The extensive grounds, where peacocks strutted about, were also enjoyable.

En route to our next overnight stop, we stopped at Pitlochry on the banks of the River Tummel where, next to the Festival Playhouse, is the Explorers Garden which is planted on a hillside.
The 6 acre garden was rather back-endish but had wonderful woodland gardens in which we spotted red squirrels. This tranquil place is divided into geographical zones where plants brought back by Scottish plant hunters are grown.   There are also interesting sculptures and architectural features.   At the top of the garden,  the David Douglas Pavilion, built from a variety of  different woods, housed an exhibition of photographs by Julia Cordon taken during her plant hunting expedition in North America.  The pavilion allows you to appreciate the trees and look down at the burn (stream) below.     

“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...