Published: May 10th 2006May 9th 2006
SUCCESS!! I was able to upload all of the Edinburgh Road trip pictures for that post, the one that was missing from The Highlands post as well as these from yesterday's activities.
I slept until 9am this morning, but I awoke feeling like a new man. Between the driving and the walking yesterday I was whipped when we got back to the cottage last night.
The weather has turned warm (80 degrees) and if it weren't for the cool sea breeze we could wear shorts and sandals...if we had them. Cindy and her parents spent most of the morning wandering around the castle grounds cataloging various plants, flowers, birds and insects, graciously leaving me in the quiet of the cottage to write about our time in Edinburgh the previous day and to choose and prepare the photos that would accompany the post.
When they returned we enjoyed a light lunch before driving into Oban. I dropped off a roll of film at the one-hour developers of pictures I had taken with my in-laws' 35mm camera, then walked down the street to the Internet cafe to post the entry and pictures of the road trip to Edinburgh. Unfortunately,
TravelBlog seemed to be having some kind of problem accepting the photos so the post went up without any of the great pictures I had to go with it. I'm hoping I can get them posted on Wednesday.
Back to the photo developer where my prints and CD of the pictures were ready. Amazingly, I actually took some good shots with what I like to call "The Super-Camera", so now I feel comfortable using it to take some higher quality photos. Plus I can experiment with all the lens settings and different adjustments.
Cindy, her mom and I were going to go on the Oban Distillery Tour, but it was booked full, so we made reservations for Wednesday morning's tour. Since we had already paid for parking time, Cindy's dad joined us and we all got ice cream cones and strolled along the main street and back to the car. The area is beginning to fill with tourists, as demonstrated by the nearly full sidewalks and streets.
Our next stop was Dunstaffnage Castle, just outside the Oban city limits. This castle was built in 1220 by Duncan MacDougall and had several additions built on to it through
Walking through the Tunnel to Inside
Cindy's mom and dad walking through the tunnel-like access.
the centuries. However today it is in ruins, though still in better condition than some we have seen. Dunstaffnage stands on a peninsula that juts out from the southern shore of Loch Etive. Dunstaffnage Bay, protected by this peninsula, made for excellent anchoring. Even today, the bay is used by sailboats and yachts to weigh anchor and for safe harbor, as you can see in some of the pictures from the castle out to the bay.
Cindy and I were apparently in some kind of "silly" mood as we took lots of pictures of each other around and inside the castle ruins, something we don't normally do.There were so many great shots, especially inside the castle ruins, that I took a good 80 pictures or so and Cindy probably took 60. Way too many of course for this blog, but I'm sure some of them will end up on the DVD production. Disappointingly, we both left the cottage without the video camera, so we have no video footage of Dunstaffnage Castle.
From the castle we walked back in the nearby woods (which weren't yet there when the castle was built) to the chapel that was built for the
Inside the Guard's Room...
...those guys must have been SMALL!
residents of the castle. It too is in ruins today, but drawings from the time when it was built indicate that it was quite ornate. A small burial ground was added to the eastern end of the chapel in the 18th century.
Leaving there we drove to the opposite side of the bay to have dinner at The Wide-Mouthed Frog, a restaurant that Douglas, our Scottish friend in America, had recommended to us when he found out we were staying in Oban. We sat on the outside dining area that faced the marina and across the bay we could see Dunstaffnage Castle. Our meal was sumptuous and delicious; we spent about an hour and a half just eating and talking, finally leaving at 8pm to return to the cottage.
After arriving at the cottage, our stomachs were still so full that we decided a walk would be good for all of us. We were going to walk down the mile-long access road, but instead found a road further up the mountain we had not seen before and walked it, going higher up the mountain than we had been before and encountering the pigs we had heard about from
the owner. Fortunately they were penned in an area, but it was cute to watch them as they thought when we approached that we had food and came grunting and oinking from the base of the mountain up to the gate where we were at, looking for that food. When we didn't give them any, they went back to rooting in the ground. By the time we walked back down the mountain trail an hour later in the twilight, we were all ready to relax and prepare for bed.
There are more photos below