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Micro trip report - a few days in Scotland

Micro trip report - a few days in Scotland

Jun 13th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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Micro trip report - a few days in Scotland

I'm back in Scotland for a few days, mainly to visit some old friends and share photos of grandkids, stories of kids and family, complain about advancing age, and reminisce. Beer will be involved. Unfortunately my wife is unable to endure longhaul flights for the time being, so this is a stag trip, subject to frequent Skyping.

But first I'm taking a couple of "alone" days to drive around the Western and Northwest Highlands, visiting some places I haven't seen for many years. I'll provide more details later, but will link a couple of photos from today. I left Edinburgh this morning, and traveled through Strathearn to Fort William via Glen Coe, then out "the Road to the Isles" to Mallaig, then back and up the Great Glen to Inverness, where I'm staying tonight. Tomorrow I'll head up to the northwest coast via Strath Carron and Loch Shin, out to Lochinver, then back to Inverness via a bunch of single-track roads, dodging sheep. Lovely.

A couple of snaps from today:

Rannoch Moor - http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9037176602/

Buachaille Etive Mòr (the Great Shepherd of the Etive), Glen Etive - http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9034953663/

Loch Nan Uamh, near Arisaig - http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9037179334/
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 13th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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Beautiful photos, Gardyloo! DH and I drove from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond and back today, stopping a few places on the way! We hoped to get to Glen Coe, but didn't get an early enough start. We want to head up in the direction you have gone sometime soon - next time! We dodged a herd of sheep crossing the road today too!

Hope your trip is wonderful. I'll check back here for more photos!
Florida1 is online now  
Jun 13th, 2013, 09:04 PM
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Great photos. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
indy_dad is offline  
Jun 14th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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Och aye the noo, it’s chapter two…

First, yesterday’s driving route - http://goo.gl/maps/2T6C9

Today’s - http://goo.gl/maps/0B0tx

Overnight I decided to amend today’s plan to stay a little farther east then originally intended in order to avoid some bad weather (which never came as it turned out) but also to re-visit (after something like 40 years) one of the loveliest, and I suspect the loneliest, roads in Britain, so unnoticed that it doesn’t even rate a “B” designation, and Google calls it “unknown.”

But first I traveled north from Inverness to the Struie Hill Road, a shortcut to the inner portions of the beautiful Dornoch Firth -http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9043142153/ - and then up the lovely and lonely Strath Carron, to Croick Church.

A bit of relevant history: After the Highland rebellions of the 18th Century (the last of which was led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, who tried unsuccessfully to reinstate the Stuarts and Catholicism in Britain) the dominant English (with plenty of Scottish help) determined to undo the clan system and its traditional Highland economy.

That economy was based on cattle and small farming, both labor-intensive. By dividing up the clan lands into giant estates, owned typically by absentee English nobility, and then introducing sheep farming as the dominant activity – way less labor-intensive than cattle – the population of the Highland glens was too large for the economy to support, so the estate owners, with government help and the connivance of the (protestant) church, set about “clearing” the Highlands. People (who had lived in these areas for thousands of years) were summarily evicted and made to move to the coast to become fishermen (which they had never been) or to the growing cities (Glasgow) or to Ireland (hence “Scotch Irish”) or to the New World, often the colonies of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia (hence much of the music.) The Clearances began in the late 18th Century and continued until the mid-19th.

Back to Croick. In the mid-1840s, the Clearances reached Strath Carron, and a large number of evicted families were encamped in the Croick churchyard awaiting transport to the North Sea coast or beyond. While there, the families scratched messages in the church’s windows, the most heartbreaking of which declares that the dispossessed were “the wicked generation” – words put into them by the fundamentalist preachers who were quick to blame the victims rather than the perpetrators, who of course were paying their stipends.

The church – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9045365782/

The messages – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9045366422/ and
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9045366908/

The leftovers - http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9043144913/

Of course not everybody in Strath Carron suffered in the 19th Century – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9045368300/

So then I moved on up to the far north of Scotland, traveling to Dun Dornadilla via this little, remote and gorgeous road, nothing but damsel flies from the river, a few sheep bleating, and the wind for company. There it sits where it has for – what? – a couple thousand years at least. Was it a fort? A “safe house?” Nobody knows, but everybody agrees that setting the triangular stone over the entrance was one macho task for people with blue faces or whatever.

These straths and glens give testimony to the ancientness of this land. People have been living here since the Stone Age, and a few still do. Continuity and all that.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9043146243/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9043146787/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9045370772/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9043147457/

I drove up to where this road intersects with the northernmost road in Britain, near Loch Eriboll, then over to the Kyle of Tongue and its village, then back down past stunning Ben Loyal, to Altnaharra, Lairg, out to the coast and back into Inverness.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9043148575/

A marvelous, gorgeous day, with a lot of ghosts.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 14th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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Stunning photographs!! What camera are you using? Not to imply that it is just the camera-you are a fantastic photographer Gardyloo. I am adding these places you have written about to my "places to see" on my next Scotland trip!

I find the ruin with the triangluar stone over the doorway intriguing.
Florida1 is online now  
Jun 14th, 2013, 07:15 PM
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Spectacular photos! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait, just one year to go!
noratravel is offline  
Jun 15th, 2013, 01:19 PM
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Ditto Florida1--Gorgeous photos and scenery. Yes, what is your camera?
TDudette is online now  
Jun 15th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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The camera is a middle-aged Nikon DSLR with a 28-270mm Tamron zoom. For photos that were processed I use Paint Shop Pro, the poor man's Photoshop, but more than up to the task.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 15th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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Meant to add, today was spent in Edinburgh in the company of some old friends. No photos taken, nothing of interest to report, except that Edinburgh is installing a tram line that will rival Seattle's light rail for most expensive under-used transit system in the English-speaking world. Because of the construction, central Edinburgh is extremely car-unfriendly at the moment. Naturally it's all Alex Salmond's fault.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 15th, 2013, 02:23 PM
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Wonderful report and photos! I think I've been on that same teensy road. I know I went along Loch Shinn and to Dun Dornadilla/Dun Dornagail and didn't go up around through Durness that trip so it probably was the same road (this was many years ago so the details are a bit fuzzy.

>>Because of the construction, central Edinburgh is extremely car-unfriendly at the moment.<<

Not just 'at the moment' - that construction mess/disruption has been going on for years.
janisj is online now  
Jun 17th, 2013, 07:01 PM
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Great photos ... wonderful idea to include the Google maps too!
ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Jun 17th, 2013, 10:18 PM
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A couple more days have transpired in Edinburgh, spent in the company of more friends. I managed to pop back over the Firth to North Queensferry to add a photo of the old rail bridge to the collection - http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9071850408/ - and after meeting a friend for lunch in Dalkeith I continued through the gloom to Gifford, a "model village" at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills in East Lothian - http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9069625427/ .

Breakfast this morning with one more set, then it's to the airport and back to the USA. It's been a whirlwind but very enjoyable week.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2013, 06:09 AM
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Follow-up a couple of weeks later.

The enjoyment was tempered by a completely horrid transit through Newark airport on the way home. My EDI-EWR flight was fine, even early. However my planned 3 1/2 hour layover at EWR, which would have put me in Seattle at 9:30 PM - 5:30 AM in the UK - became an 8+ hour layover thanks to weather and slot restriction hijinks, followed by a total meltdown by UA ground services trying to turn around our plane - which had been coming from Denver but diverted to Harrisburg PA for no apparent reason.

Bottom line, hi honey, it's 3 AM. Time for elevenses over the pond. Sadly, the dogs didn't sleep through my homecoming. Neither did the neighbors, I'm afraid.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 14th, 2014, 05:31 PM
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Just back from a British Isles cruise and our first time to Scotland, looking forward to viewing your photos. I took 2400 over 2 weeks and I need to choose 500 to put in an album.
PS Glad to hear your wife is doing better.
deladeb is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 05:07 PM
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Great TR and photos! Thanks!
starrs is offline  
Oct 20th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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love the photos. Makes me want to go to Scotland as soon as possible.
sanderskn is offline  
Sep 14th, 2017, 12:03 PM
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Gardyloo, I can't thank you enough for this report.

Today we drove from Tain to Croick Church, and I wish I could express all the feelings we experienced. Sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, awe. It's impossible not to imagine the terror and bravery of those poor souls.

We stopped along the river to look at the babbling rapids, and a fly fisherman came along. We started to chat, and he said it cost £6000 (!) per week to fish along one side of a stretch of the river.

And then a few miles on, we see the horror and tragedy that privilege can blithely enact on the defenceless.

It was just so jarring a contrast within a few minutes. I won't think of one now, without the other. One really brings the other into sharp contrast.

(Ironically, our young friend mentioned that he is related to the Duke of Sutherland by marriage)
sugarmaple is offline  

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