There are 32 photos after the blog.
So the electric shower was somewhat anticlimactic. Hit the "on" button, and that's it. Simplest shower we have had yet. (Each one is usually a challenge.) I had plenty of hot water. Amazing.
We have also noticed they don't use top sheets here. They have your base sheet, but on top is a comforter that is sort of covered in a sheet. A combination, I guess. We have had that in every B&B so far. All the window have been difficult to open - Dot has been handling that.
So far, the rain has been very off and on. Rains some, then stops. It rained hardest when we were driving from Edinburgh to Inverness. It hasn't poured like it does at home, but it can sprinkle pretty steadily.
We had planned a full day of site-seeing today. The day started well. We managed not to talk to anyone at breakfast, even though the room was full of Americans...you can just tell, you know? We dressed for the weather: high 50's and rain. I love having the car because we can throw extra clothes and umbrellas and snacks in the car.
We checked the midge report. (see photo) That is an actual thing here. The midges are these tiny little bugs that fly around, like gnats or mosquitos but more annoying. Our Midge forecast was a "1 = no flies on me" so things were looking good.
Hopped in the car and made it to the Culloden Battlefield without too many scary incidents. Good signage. The battlefield has an excellent visitor center with a lot of history and explanation of the battle. The Outlander fans know all about this, but in 1745 the Battle at Culloden took place that pretty much wiped out the Highland Clans. They were Jacobites and fought to put Bonnie Prince Charlie back on the throne to bring back the Stuart line. They have paths through the battlefield you can walk through and you can see that the ground is terrible for a battle. It is rough and boggy and tough going through. Throughout the field there are stone markers to commemorate the clan members that died here. The British killed all the wounded and didn't keep track, so they are pretty much just mass graves with clan names on them.
In the visitors center
they did a demonstration of how to put on a kilt. It was pretty cool. They lay out a long narrow piece of tartan on the ground, then they hand folded half of it to make pleats. The picked a guy from the audience and made him lay down on it so that his butt was halfway down it and the pleat section was at his butt. Then they reached under him and buckled a leather belt around his waist. When he stood up, the upper part of the plaid folded right over the belt. The pleats were at his butt, so when he sits down, he has a nice cushiony spot. (I never knew that was the reason you see all the pleats at the back) The layer that folded over the belt can be pulled up over your shoulders to keep your arms warm. Amazing how a long rectangular piece of fabric can be so functional. It was fascinating.
The gift shop was awesome, of course. I really want to buy some of these tartan scarves/ponchos but I know I would never wear it when I got home. But they are beautiful. There is also so much
Harris Tweed here. It's everywhere - the cutest purses, backpacks, jackets, etc. So tempting.
From the Culloden Battlefield it was only a short drive to the Clava Cairns, neolithic burial chambers dating from 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. They look like piles of rocks, but they are surrounded by standing stones (like Stonehenge but much smaller of course) and Outlander fans will realize that these are sort of the inspiration for Craig na Dun in the books. We had some fun here. I am including quite a few pictures, mainly for my father-in-law who has an interest in this rock/ruin stuff. We put a fun, short Outlander themed video on Facebook in front of the standing stones. Sorry I can't get video's onto this blog site.
Although it was only a mile from the battlefield to the Clava Cairns, it was an adventure. We turned onto little tiny single lane roads, oh-I'm sorry, these are 2 lane roads in someone's imagination. They have these little pull over areas where you have to pull into to let the oncoming traffic pass. Whoever is closest to the pull-out gets to wait, even if you have to back up. We passed
a lot of sheep, 2 donkeys having sex - kind of weird. They didn't seem to care that they were right by a public road. At first we thought they were cows, then horses, then maybe donkeys. Not quite sure. Then we saw a sign (pic somewhere in the blog) that said "Weak Bridge". That didn't inspire much confidence, especially with a bus behind us. We went over the weak bridge - could see some broken metal rails.
When we finished at Clava Cairns our next stop was Cawdor Castle, only another 8 miles down the road. Dot had purchased us tickets in advance online. There was some road construction along the way and our 3 GPSes were not in agreement on which route to take. It was 2 to 1, so majority rules. We we hit a road closed on the route we needed to take to the castle. So, we turned around and took the route the 3rd GPS was suggesting, even though the road sign said "no through traffic." We thought we were approaching the castle some back way because we were way out in the country side on practically dirt roads. The GPS finally led
us to a road that dead ended at a beautiful private mini castle. Oops. I don't think anyone was home. We turned around, gave up and headed back to Inverness. Failed to make it to the castle.
Since we were returning to Inverness early after some traumatic driving experiences, we decided to reward ourselves with a late lunch at the organic pizza place the locals recommended. The Black Isle Bar was not in Rick Steve's book, but is was excellent. All locally sourced ingredients. We had Venison Salami pizza - pic somewhere in the blog. They didn't have coke, but I had some weird Fentiman's cola that was pretty good. Mild flavor of root beer. Also tried another dram of whisky the bartender recommended, also distilled locally: Royal Brackla from the Cawdor Estate (the castle we couldn't get to). Pic somewhere. It was very warming. 😊 There were 4 dogs in the restaurant. Dogs are everywhere here. And...we didn't talk to anyone, except the dog people briefly so I could pet their dogs.
After lunch we wandered around Inverness taking in the sites.
Tomorrow we head for the Isle of Skye with some touristy stops along the
way. Wish us luck driving! We might have to take a car ferry. I think there is another bridge option. We'll see.
Dot got 18,000 steps today.
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