Scotland and The ORKNEYS, Day 4, June 25-28


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June 29th 2010
Published: June 29th 2010
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DAY 4, JUNE 25, 2010, FRIDAY
After a wonderful breakfast of eggs, bacon, sauasage, scones with homemade marmalade, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms ( standard English breakfast) we left by car for Cairngorms, Britians largest national park. it is a living, working landscape with the wild tundra of the high mountain tops at its heart. We stopped many times on our way to the railroad to take amazing pictures of wildlife, birds, the reindeer centre (Santa was not there) and scenery. It is famous as Scotland's top winter destination for skiing. We took the CairnGorm Mountain Railway to the top of the hill for viewing and pictures. It is a paradise for hikers but we were unabler to do thisd activity. Kirk bought himself a fancy cane. Always raising cane!
We left a 4pm for our 1/2 hour and very scenic drive back to Inverness.
We had dinner to Contrast Restaurant with Leeds and Kate from South Carolina in one of the beautiful small hotel facing the River Ness. Everywhere you look in this town is a picture.
It is light for 20 of the 24 hours and even that it is not very dark. Easy to get your days and nights mixed up.

DAY 5, JUNE 26, SATURDAY
After fun and laughter as we shared breakfast with other guests in the breakfast room at Trafford Bank Bank Guest House we left for Culloden Battlefield Visitor's Centre and Fort George. The battlel of Culloden, 1745 was the last battle to take place on British soil and defeat for bonnie Prince Charlie, grandson of James VII and the jacobites. The slaughter by the 'Bloody Butchers, the Duke of Cumberland's Hanoverian army was quick and brutal. Kirk was on a motorized wheelchair and was in his glory as he motored his way through the exibition and around the battlefield. He only tipped the chair once as he went off the trail on his own. (just like home).
Dinner was at The Mustard Seed a recommendation of Maureen MacDonalds. Excellent choice.
The Trafford Bank Guest house was also Maureen and Dan's recommendation. We will be sorry to leave them in the morning as it is such a beautiful home, friendly helpful owners, beautiful soaps and all the little extras anyone could ask for to make our stay comfortable.

DAY 6, SUNDAY JUNE 27
To-day we are on our way to Thurso/Scrabster to take the Northlink ferry, Hamnaoe to Stromness, The Orkney Island.
We visited the medieval town of Dornoch and the Dornoch Cathedral which was built in 1223 by Bishop Gilbert de Moravia and related to the powerful Earl of Moray. During his travels all over Europe on the king's behalf he saw many of the magnificent cathedrels. The bishop started work on the cathederal at his own expense using local stone and glass from Cyderhall.
It is truly magnificient and having read The Pillars of the Earth I could really appreciate the effort it takes to accomplish building this cathedral in 1223.
After a visit to the beach with white beautiful sand we were on our way north.
The drive on twisty, windy and narrow roads was very interesting but the scenery along the way was so incredibly beautiful dotted with farm lands, huge trees amazing coast line with the shimmering blue waters of the North Atlantic.
Our next stop was Helmsdale and a visit to Timespan Heritage Trail Museum. Very interesting. Then on to Dunrobin Castle in Golspie for a short visit.
We arrived in Scrabster where we boarded the ferry for our 90 minute ride to Stromness.
Kirk was invited by Captain Willy Mackay to the bridge during the crossing. It was breathtaking to be on the bridge as we passed west of the island of Hoy, to the sheltered harbour of Stomness. The cliffs on Hoy are 1200 feet high and we passed the famous rock stack, the Old Man of Hoy.
Chris Cooper and Bob and Anna met us with flags as we disembarked the ferry and welcomed us to the island.
We checked into the Avry Hotel with a view of the cathedral.

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