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Published: September 10th 2011
The weather in Scotland was always going to be a talking point and today was no different. There is some nasty weather coming from a hurricane that started off the coast of USA and is due on Monday with warm temperatures, very high winds and rain. Hopefully this bad weather is short lived.
We needed some breakfast so we made a quick visit to the nearby Tesco for some milk to go with our cereal, as well as food for lunch. With persistent drizzle it was an easy decision to have an in-car breakfast in the supermarket carpark. Once breakfast was over we headed for the Grampian Mountains and Cairngorms National Park. It is in this area The Queen has her holiday home, Balmoral Castle, and on this trip we are ever hopeful. Perhaps we’ll get an invite to lunch.
Driving through the towns of Dunkeld and Birnam with rain falling gives the towns a different sort of beauty. The trees looked very green, the River Tay was racing to the sea and tourists were enjoying the chance to have their photo taken below the beautiful hanging baskets containing bright flowers.
Our drive continued into the National Park where the vegetation
changed quite quickly from farmland and woods to heather and grasslands. What would normally be small mountain streams had become fast flowing and, at times, small waterfalls. Having not received a phone call inviting us for lunch we stopped in a small lay-by and enjoyed our Tesco lunch. We missed the Braemar Sports Day by a week but that didn’t stop us from pausing in this small town for a coffee and a browse in a local tourist shop. We wanted to know why we hadn’t received our lunch invitation so we made the brief detour to Balmoral Castle in the hope of an explanation, but the sight of the policeman on gate duty put a stop to that. We have read that the town of Ballater has many Royal coats of arms showing they are suppliers to the Royal household. One such coat of arms is on a wall between a Chinese takeaway shop and a bakery. After some discussion between tour members it was decided the bakery had the honour so some delicious Royal cakes were purchased for afternoon tea. Another shop honoured by the Royal household appears to sell a wide variety of goods you would find
in a discount store. But on close inspection it seems the store is/was the supplier of TV sets to the Royal family!
The rest of our journey took us through farmland where farmers must be hoping for a change in the weather so they can complete their harvests. As we neared Aberdeen the sun struggled through the clouds. The colours of the surrounding landscape were quite dramatic. From the golden colours of ripe grains, to the browns of ploughed fields and the brilliant greens of the grasses and trees as the sun broke through.
We made a safe arrival at tonight’s hotel and look forward to our drive north to Inverness tomorrow after making a brief visit to Aberdeen in the morning.
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