Lot of driving today, but again in beautiful weather and fascinating countryside. We loved seeing the mirror-like lochs reflecting the grand mansions, then bare hills and ranges followed by woodlands and green pastures, and heather-covered lands further north. The scenery is all that we'd hoped for!
First to Oban Distillery, then to Fort William at one end of the Caledonian Canal, then along the fault line to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, then Thurso via Inverness and the top end of Scotland - John O'Groats.
Oban DistilleryA 1794 distillery, distinguished by its cramped location in the town of Oban. Mostly produces a 14yr single malt from two distillations and maturing in third-use, American oak barrels. The Oban is rated as a mid-peat, mid-flavour whisky but their low production results in a steep price of £45 /bottle. An excellent tour that explained the process very well. We tasted an 11yr, 58% (cask strength) alcohol variety and the standard, 14yr old. The 11yr tasted too harsh, but their flagship whisky is very fine.
Urquhart Castle, Loch NessWe were pressed for time and didn't do the tour. But it did look like just another castle ruin, with a very touristy presentation.
Another great day, we must be due for a change soon. No Nessie to be seen!
Dunrobin Castle, GolspieThe family home of the Earl of Sutherland (one of the seven ancient Scottish Earldoms) for over 700 years! The Countess is 94 yrs old and lives in London but there is still a private suite of rooms for family use. It made a nice change from looking at ruins, and the grounds are spectacular.
Dunrobin groundsGardens to the left of these are equally amazing. Goodness knows what the upkeep costs are!
Dunrobin main stairWe arrived too late to look through the home. The guide (while closing up) called this feature a little boring, compared to the other rooms.
John O'GroatsI seem to remember a similar family photo, from over 50 years ago.
The End of the RoadAt the end of the 15thC a Dutchman, Jan de Groot, ran a ferry to Orkney and charged 2p a trip. The coin for this denomination became known as the ‘groat'. Over a period of time the name Jan de Groot has been changed to John O'Groats.