OBAN, SCOTLAND

I left Aviemore about 9:30 and headed out on the A9 to Kingussie and over too Laggen. To see Scotland you have to take the smaller roads, this is where you will find the beauty of the country. Now driving on these supposed two way roads is a trip in itself! Here are some of the pictures I took while driving from Aviemore through Laggen, to Fort Williams!

From Fort Williams I traveled back toward Glencoe where I took off on a road similar to our country roads back home. This took me along Loch Lynne coast line and to my favorite Castle in Scotland! Stalker Castle is set in Loch Lynne on a very small piece of land surrounded by water but is an outstanding sample of 15th century architecture, the castle is fairly in tact. Here are some of the pictures of it.

After stopping to take pictures of Stalker Castle I headed on into Oban and find my B&B! Was not hard to find the B&B but parking in Oban is a nightmare! You have to pay by the hour and it is a pound per hour, that is the equivalent of $1.25 per hour! I found the parking area near my B&B and could not figure out how to pay for 2 days so went into the building next to it and the lady helped me figure it out but then said hey lets check to see if our building has an extra spot and you just park there for free! We found one and I only had to walk a block to the B&B! Nice lady and saved me money! I owe her for her hospitality! To me that is Highland hospitality at its best. The Viking and the Warrior were in the B&B next to mine just thought they were cool!

The next day I was scheduled for a trip to Staffa Island where the Puffin birds migrate to in Early May thru July. I was told that they were now not on the Island, they had all migrated South for the winter. I went to check on my reservation with the company and I found out I had booked it for May 15th by mistake, great brain work on my part but as usual the hospitality in Scotland was awesome. The lady was so gracious, she arranged to move me to one heading out to Staffa the next day! Gave me my instructions and I headed back to my B&B but first wanted to go to the place that Rick Stieve’s had shown on his show about Scotland and Oban. I ordered the fish and chips and headed to my room to enjoy my dinner and watch the traffic and water from my room window, and get a good night’s sleep for my adventure tomorrow!

I woke up headed out at 6:30 am to catch the 7:20 ferry to Isle of Mull and then the 50 min. bus to Tobermory at the northern end of Mull where I was to catch the boat. I took my Dramamine and the boat loaded and we headed out! The weather was not the best and we are dealing with open waters of the outer Hebrides and the Atlantic Ocean! Had I known the boat was not so big I may have made different choices but wanted to see Staffa and the bird life that lives out on it. Folks I have never been in a squall nor do I ever want to experience this again!!!!!!!! This boat was like a cork floating and bobbing up and down and sideways!! It was awful, and I tried but when the young boy next to me lost his cookies it was over for me!!!! The young girl helping on the boat handed me 3 plastic bags and I was never so glad to see Staffa and solid land! My only problem was we had to go through the same waters to get back to Mull, then to mainland, and then Oban! Not an experience I want to do over again. What would have made a bit of difference was if the Puffin were still there! No Puffin and we did not spot any wild life in the water or any of the large Sea Eagles that live on the island. Not a fruitful trip! BUT, I did the adventure and survived!!!!!

Just a bit about Staffa and its formation. Staffa is from the Norse meaning “Pillar Island”. It is unique geological phenomenon recognized as one of the wonders of the natural world. Fingal’s Cave has an eerie sound but was the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s Overture due to the sounds made from the surges from the Atlantic Ocean inside the cave. It truly is a beautiful place and one I am glad to have experienced even if it wasn’t my most wonderful experience. I wanted to see more wild life but you don’t always get what you want. The staff of the boat and the Captain tried to show us but even they cannot pull animals out of their lair’s! He did take us back through some of the smaller Islands around Staffa and we did see seals from afar and some bird life. The Puffin were given official recognition in 2011 by psychologist’s as Therapy for relaxation and sleep. The colorful shore line of Tobermory was a delight and the bus ride across the island of Mull was beautiful!

Once back in Oban I got a dinner to go and headed back to my room. I needed to rest and recuperate from my days adventure. Here are some other pics of the area and drive to Oban.

My next adventure is in Tarbert, Scotland on the Kintyre Peninsula. I am headed there tomorrow.

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Adventure Begins with Friends!!!!

Well, Nate is gone and I am about to begin my adventure by myself! I will have to say it would have been more fun to have Bruce or a partner like I did for the first week but I am still going to enjoy this on my own! Driving on the left side of the road came back fast and except for the rain at time coming down like cats and dogs I am doing quite well! Knock on wood!!!!! I am headed out to Aviemore which is in the Cairngorm Mountains and a big recreational area here in Scotland. I am going to stay with friends that I met the first time I came to Scotland and did a hiking and canoe trip with Wilderness Scotland. Rachael was just starting with Wilderness at the time and has done quite well for herself with the company, Colin also works for the company in the technology dept.! My suggestion is if you come over to Scotland and want adventure Wilderness Scotland is the company for you! Rachael and Colin are a wonderful couple and great friends! The guides are awesome and the staff very friendly and helpful!

I arrived in Aviemore and found Wilderness Scotland base building after driving around a bit and making a few wrong turns. I was a bit early so waited for Rachael and Colin to get off work. Rachael had a client that wanted a Ceiliad set up for the evening that I arrived. Ask me to go with them and since it was a private one I was sure that it would be fun!!! We headed out after dinner and drove down to an estate outside of Kingussie. What a treat, it was dusk and we did not get to see the main house but we did see the cottages and outbuildings. All of stone and the estate is rented out to large parties, there were 14 in this group from Australia. 4 rooms in the big house and each outer building has two to three suites plus a barn for parties with a stone patio! Those pix’s are on my phone so will put in later. Here are just a few of that night will down load from my phone as soon as I can. I am having difficulty downloading the Ceilaid video’s so bear with me and somewhere in the blog I will get them downloaded!

We headed back to the house. Next morning was LAUNDRY DAY!!! I had not done laundry for 2 1/2 weeks so had no clean clothes and laundry mats are hard to find! Took all day and no dryer so had to hang up outside but…. had to do it 3 times due to rain coming in but finally got everything dry and repacked for my next adventure starting the next day! Rachael and Colin are wonderful hosts and I enjoy the evening of visiting and catching up with old friends! Here are some pictures of the full moon that was out and over their house! I would love to have a house about this size here in Scotland. The location is ideal and outside of town in the country side! It faces the Cairngorms and gets the morning sunrise!

My next adventure is in Oban, or Alba as the Scots say!

GLENCOE AND BACK TO INVERNESS – NATE

We got settled and due to the late dusk hour here it gave us plenty of time to head out to explore Glencoe canyon and Rannock Moor.

There is not much to say other than it rivals Skye’s Quirang! The canyon speaks for itself and Rannock Moor has a beauty of its own in there is just an expanse of wild country there and you have to be careful as in all moors of the bogs and wet lands!

The pictures will speak for themselves! Nate had fun climbing around and taking pictures with his phone! Honestly, he is the photographer in our family with his artistic touch. Mine are not bad but I learned a lot from him while we were traveling! Hopefully, my pictures show some of what I learned. Below are the pictures of Glencoe and Rannock Moor.

We finished our day with dinner and a great Scottish band, a guitar and an accordion! I have not seen anyone play the accordion like this guy since I was a young girl and watched my mom square dance! What a hoot and quite the comedian! They do like there country and again its Johnny Cash to the rescue! They also played some rock from the 70’s/80’s and some from the 60’s! I did not record any of the music due to low battery! Learned my lesson there to keep batter charged in phone!!!!!! Great night and awesome music! Again, no scotch!!!

We headed back to Inverness the 11th due to Nate had to catch his train back to Edinburgh the next day! Sad Sad Sad! This has been one of my most treasured moments with Nate! I am now in the process of trying to figure out a trip with my oldest son, Jason so I can take this off my bucket list!!! Will plan something in the USA for Jas due to his business and family.

Arrived Inverness on the 11th and got me settled in the Best Western – Palace Hotel right on the River Ness. Walked around a bit then found a pizza place open and had a beer and pizza! Awesome Pizza. Nate catches his train at 7 pm so headed back to Hotel so he could shower and sleep for a bit. Time has arrived to say goodbye and end my most favorite trip and time with my youngest! Would like to do this again with him in another place so will look to see what we can do!!!! Maybe Japan!????! Here are some more pix’s of Nate and my journey!

Our Journey ended and a new one began for just me!!! I am excited and nervous but look forward to each and every day and each drive! I am getting better each day!!! You all have a good one and I Love you Bruiser and to each of my grandkids love you daily and think of you each day!

Love PJ

TRAVELS WITH NATE!!!!

VIEW FROM MY ROOM WINDOW AT “THE MOORING” IN TARBART

I have not written on my blog due to really bad WiFi in the areas up to here in Tarbart, but will attempt to do so. It is raining like cats and dogs right now so seemed like a very good time to catch up!

Listening to Enya and watching the rain come down and feeling like peace! I have had many days like this one here in Scotland and I do love this country!

Back to Nate and my journey after our return from 7 days hiking in Skye! I do believe that Nate loves this country also! Is looking to bring his family back so they can experience the land, hospitality, and just plain peacefulness of the land!

We arrived back in Inverness on the 9th and got settled at our B & B and headed out for food and drink! We looked at several restaurants and we did find McGregor’s Bar and Nate had a couple beers and me my Ginger
Beer due to the virus!!!!! Damn missing the scotch but wanted to get well before adding that to the menu! We then headed out to see what we could find for food from there. Walked a bit but it’s summer in Inverness and most of the good restaurants you need to make reservations for!! We decided that we would come back to the Hootinanny Bar around 9 pm they had two bands playing and we wanted to hear some live music! Headed back to room and found the Pacific Hotel had a bar area we could order food and decided to try it.

We headed out about 9 pm to the Hootenanny for the music and got a piece of the floor for the 1st band, Lots of Scottish/Irish music and Country music from the USA! The Scots like country and especially John Denver and Johnny Cash. Sooooo, we waited until 9:30 before they started and it got more crowded and much much hotter. There was an older gentleman, name of Pete!, he got up to go to the restroom and I told him I would save his chair! Big smile from him!!!! He comes back and says “would you like to sit?” I said no but maybe later if I got tired! Well, I tapped him on the shoulder and ask if I could sit awhile, introduced him to Nate and “big smile” again from “good ol Pete” really was a nice gentleman but according to Nate he wanted more than to just let me sit!!! We decided to head upstairs and listen to the second band and I thanked Pete and he promptly said “I will save your seat for you!” We are headed upstairs and Nate says “MOM he was hitting on you did you know that?” I said yes but what fun! I am sorry that Pete was denied but I am sure there were there were other women to whet his appatite! Nate has more pictures of this night out!!! I put some up when I get them from him!

We headed back to the B&B and a good nights sleep we are headed to Glencoe next via Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, Fort William, and Glencoe!

Well I will be damned! I did the unusual for me and did not save the last part of my writing and now have to re-write it!!!!!!

We left morning of the 10th headed to Glencoe by way of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, and Fort William. We followed Loch Ness for 23 miles and then Fort Augustus where the Caledonia Canal ends. We drove on to Fort William and decided to stop for Coffee and a walk about! Nate needed a bank and we found one open until 12:30 so found Costa’s which is the equivalent of Starbuck’s. Spent couple hours looking and visited a small church there, just awesome buildings! Inside is spectacular and so so peaceful!

We headed on to Glencoe after coffee and bank and as anyone who has been to Glencoe will tell you, YOU will know when you have arrived. We rounded one corner of the roadway and there we were in one of Scotlands very best recreational areas and one of the most beautiful! It was formed by Glaciers millions of years ago. We headed for our B & B and due to a wait for our room we took off on a short hike to “Signal Rock” which has was I think used by the MacDonalds to warn of intruders and/or Redcoats! If you are an “Outlander” fan this was the area that Claire first warned Jamie (just after they met and she had come through the stones 1st time) of an ambush by “Black Jack Randall” and his Redcoats! It was a beautiful hike! Below are some pic’s of that hike and around the Coe River.

I’m going to stop here and take you into Glencoe and up to Rannock Moor which we did after we got settled into our room.

THE REST OF OUR SKYE TRIP

There will be more photos coming of the hikes but I will start with the last one I was able to do due to the intestinal virus! Damit! Sorry to my Grandkids for the cuss words but your grandma was not happy to have gotten sick and unable to make the last three hikes! Especially the one on the boat back into the Cullin’s. Nate said it was like a King Kong movie so will do a picture blog of those hikes when I see Nate’s pictures!

We packed up from UIG and headed to the ferry that would take us to the small island of Raasay off the coast of Skye and the Mainland Scotland. You can see it from the Quirang and most high spots on the eastern side of Skye. We got to the Ferry and were 1st in line. Waited about 25 minutes! It is so cool you can walk on or drive but you pay for the ferry after you are on and there is no food and a small enclosed space from weather but plenty of seating on the outside! Only a short ferry ride to Raasay.

I am downloading the pics of Raasay into this as a gallery. One of the stories of Raasay is that one fellow living there decided to build a road by himself since i assume the government did not deem it necessary to do. It took him 10 years to build 2 miles and then they finally finished it to the ferry so that he could get his products to the market in a timely manner. This is the only road on Raasay. It is a beautiful island and you can see the correlation between Washington State and Raasay with the clear cutting and all. But even with that there is a beauty that you see in the richness of a simple life! I love it. I like the simpleness, the beauty, and the simple remoteness of this area! I know Bruce there is no Office Depot around but ,,,,,,,,,,, not needed!

We headed back on the Ferry and to the finally Hotel/Inn Eileen Iramain on the southern end of Skye. A beautiful drive and this was a beautiful place to stay. We got settled in and Nate and my room was a sitting room down stairs and twins up stairs. GREAT shower and a view to enjoy forever! I will say this now that the Scots are very hospitality minded! Services are great and accommodations are incredible. Thanks to the people who make this happen it is well appreciated.

More photos of Raasay Hike

Here are the photos of our new area of stay!

Good night all tomorrow is a better day! Tomorrow is the boat ride into the Cullin’s and the next day is the “Clearance Houses”! Love you all Peg

THE QUIRANG – MY FAVORITE

JUST HEADED IN ON OUR HIKE IN THE QUIRANG

Nathan has been my teacher with the camera perspective on my pictures so will put mine in this time but will add some more of the Quirang when I receive his photos! He is quite the photographer and it has been such an experience to do this with him! You can grow up with them as kids but the joy of doing something like this as an adult is awesome! I will treasure this hiking trip forever! Love you Nate!!!!!!!!

This time in the Quirang I experienced more of the hiking experience! When we did this in 2013 we only did part of it and then headed out into the moorlands vs hiking up higher!

We started out at the parking lot which was filling up with MANY hikers and families of all ages! This one family we met on the trail had a 5 year old who was climbing rings around all of us and folks to me that is incredible cause it is rocky, narrow, steep and I am not sure who made the trail but I would say that it was the sheep then humans.

Nate climbing higher as we take a break!

More pictures will come later when I receive from Nate. This is such a dramatic area of Skye and the views are so spectacular that sometimes even photos don’t show the extreme value of hiking the Quirang!

I just want to thank my buddies at Anytime Fitness in helping me to be able to do this type of hiking and having a fitness that allows me to make this trip! I miss you guys and am looking forward to sharing ALL my adventures with you when I get back in September! I climbed over rock going up coming down and as long as I had my poles and a few time a human helping hand I was good to go! Some of the areas were very steep and Charlie not many switchbacks! You would love this!

To all my friends that are following this I miss you all too and am looking forward to talking or seeing you on my return. Bruce miss you much and love you always!

More pictures coming in the future! Love and good nite!

MORE FROM THE ISLE OF SKYE HIKING

Well, sorry that it has been a few days since the last posting!! Between internet difficulties and my catching an intestinal virus just hasn’t been conducive to writing even though I’m so spectacular at it!

I am not sure if I posted anything in the way of pictures or writings on the hiking so will hopefully not bore you with to much repeat but here goes!

We left Inverness on the 3rd of August and arrived on the Isle of Skye with spectacular weather and after stopping at Eilean Doan Castle we headed for Portree a small town (actually the largest on Skye I think!) and we did a coastal hike along the water and then back into country. I love the rolling hills of the Scottish country side it is so green and lush and seeing the many white dots (sheep) gives a contrast of lush color that any artist would love to paint/draw! The Sheep just stand and look at you as if they are saying “what the heck are you doing in my domain!”. At spot looking over this pastoral scene, Gordon Anderson our guide for this hiking trip, said that we needed to toast our journey and welcome to Scotland and the Isle of Skye. Now we all know that I love my scotch! Wanted the whole cup but had to share!!!!

EILEAN DOAN CASTLE
EILEAN DOAN CASTLE
PORTREE ISLE OF SKYE
INLAND TRAIL HEADING BACK TO VAN
GORDON ANDERSON OUR “AWESOME” GUIDE
OUR GROUP, from the left Dianna, Liz and Chris, Kathleen and Anne, and then there is Nate my cohort in crime on this journey!
RV’S OR AS THEY ARE CALLED HERE “CARAVANS” have hit Scotland!!!!
ANOTHER PICTURE OF EILEAN DOAN CASTLE! I am in love with the clouds here!!!

After this, we headed back to the van and over to our first hotel and 3 nights in Uig in the northern part of Skye. Checked in, had dinner, and headed to bed to prepare for our 1st hike! Due to weather we will be switching our 1st and second day hikes so will be doing The Waternish Headlands tomorrow and the Quirang on Monday.

Sunday August 4th – WATERNISH HEADLANDS – NORTHERN TIP OF SKYE

We headed out to the headlands at 9 am with our packs and all weather gear!!!! It took us 45 minutes to reach the area on one track roads along with double track. Kept watching Gordon drive and how he used the layabouts for passing cars! I think when I am driving I can do this!

We suited up with rain gear and packs and headed out on our 1st 8 mile round trip hike! Yep, I actually am doing this! It was actually a road for a bit then it went into more trail like walking over pastures and moorlands we passed a War Memorial and then Gordon took us off trail and we hike up to a “Broch” very early one but still in good enough shape for us to see how it was formed. I am amazed at the sound construction of these homes of the past. We then headed back to trail and headed on toward the Headland and a more intact “Broch”. This is sheep and some cattle country. No fences and you see them everywhere. It was an up and down climb, gentle but when the ground is so wet and boggy you have to be careful. Well, found our “Broch” and had our lunch in the rain then headed back toward the van only we took a different route back which took us along the cliffs and the inland waters of the Outer Hebrides and the Atlantic ocean.

Well, we were about a mile into our return and we had to cross one of the many little streams pocketing the moor lands and as I said before you need to watch you step! I checked the solidity of the footing but as I put my weight onto my left foot I went up to half calf in the bog! What a surprise and was happy with my hiking boots and wet gear cause it saved me from a very boggy mess! Can’t say as much for my rain pants tho! They got pretty muddy!!! Got my foot out and headed on my way much more carefully. Nathan found some bones (sheep) and then started the Bone Hunt! Pictures were taken and then we found cow bones in the creek running through the area! Not my cup of tea but to each his own. No you will not see bone pictures from me!!!!! We made it back to the road and headed out for the van and back to the hotel. We headed over close to where we hiked and Dunvagen Castle. An old school house turned into a restaurant! I had my favorite “langoustines” and a good Scotch! We ate at different restaurants each night and the food was incredible! Lots of good company and fun and much drink was had by all!

We had a mix of weather which is not unusual for Scotland and especially the Northern part. Just so you all know I made the hike (8 mile) to some that may not be much but to me its very awesome. I’m slow but I am steady. Here are some of those photos of this day of adventure. Tomorrow is the Quirang and one of my favorite and more difficult hikes for me!!!!!!! It is absolutely beautiful as you will see in the pictures tomorrow!

The view from my window of the UIG Hotel

Inverness to Skye

Nate has arrived Inverness and we are taking a walk around, finally decided on Italian for Dinner! We leave on our Skye Hiking trip tomorrow, August 3rd.

Welp, it is August 3rd, we are packed to head to the train Station to meet our group of 8 for our hike. I am very excited about sharing this adventure with Nathan. Nathan is our youngest son and lives in Florida with his family, Kristi his wife, and two kids Beckett (10) and Stella (14). Our taxi has arrived, we load in and head for the station. Arriving there we met Diana, who is from Australia, Chris & Liz from Oregon, Anne and her mom, Kathleen from California, and our guide Gordon with Wilderness Scotland. Loaded our stuff up and headed out in our van for 2 1/2 hour ride to Skye and our first hike. A short hike (1 1/2 hours) around Portree on Skye. Beautiful little town, largest on Skye. After this we headed to our hotel in Uig and stayed at the Uig Hotel. We will be here 3 nites.

Here are some pictures taken after nates arrival in Inverness and our arrival sat the Our RV people will like the fact that on our first trip to Scotland in 2013 we actually saw only 2 campers on the road and now, WOW they are all over and even have parks for them to hook up also here you can camp anywhere! The castle is Eilean Doan Castle and one that has been used in many movies including some of the Bond movies.

Bellingham to Inverness

July 31st, 2019

Well, again don’t expect any wonders in the writing or grammar division!  Just wanted to share my adventure with you all and my Grandkids.

My journey began almost two years ago!!!  This trip was planned to happen in August of 2018.  Had the hiking trips planned and almost paid for and then the unexpected happened in November of 2017!  I had to have a pacemaker placed and so had to postpone my trip a year, not by choice either.  Wilderness Scotland was gracious enough to hold my funds for 2019 and I picked out two hikes for that year I was excited about.  If you like to hike, bike, kayak, cannot, etc this is the company for you.  They do not just do Scotland!

Well, after spending a year making sure that the pacemaker was working properly and my knees were healthy, a whole lot of time at Anytime Fitness with some awesome trainers Charlie, Alex, Cameron, and the rest of the trainers to give support I was ready to finish my trip planning.  Its hell getting old and things don’t work like they use too!!!!

I began by actually selecting my hiking trips with Wilderness Scotland through my good friend Rachael, and then went to planning what I would do between hikes.  There were areas on the western coast of Scotland that I was unable to see the 1st time so will travel to Oban and some of the smaller Isles such as Iona and Staffa where I think are the Puffin Birds.  I have set up a guided trip on one of the smaller tour boats.  I am excited to see the area around Oban.  Then headed to Tarbart which is at the northern tip of the  Kintyre Peninsula.  Will travel to Luss on Loch Lomond before heading to Glencoe and back to Inverness.

Well, all was ready airplane tickets bought, car rented, insurance for trip and medical purchased (that was an experience), etc.  Did you know that after the age of 70 that medical insurance for travel is $$$$$.  I found out what cost us $500 approximately for Bruce and I on our 1st trip now costs for almost the same amount of time (6 weeks) for one person $1900!!!!!  Anyway, after this it was just continue to look at where and what I wanted to do in these selected areas.

Due to health issues with Bruce we finally made a decision that he would not be able to travel with me this time. Sooooooo, I thought well, I have two sons maybe one of them would go with me for at least one of the hikes!  Jason couldn’t BUT Nate said he would go with me!!!!  So we have two Blue Eyed people in the good old USA and the two Green Eyed people (Nate and myself) in Scotland footloose and fancy free with no one to tell us what to do, when to do it, or how to do it!!!  Nate was given my two hikes, one to the Isle of Skye the other the North Wilderness – Sutherland hike.  He choose the Isle of Skye which is completely awesome!

After Nates decision packing started and away we go!!! Since I had to print two boarding passes, one for Alaska and one for British Airway I was told I could not book all the way through to Edinburgh! The customer service young lady at the Bellingham Airport said YES that she could check the one bag all the way through to Edinburgh!  Got through customs with no problems so good to go in Seattle, thought I was clear of customs until I reached Edinburgh! Made my flight out of Seattle on Briish Airways traveling Business Class.  Was a very pleasant flight and very comfortable!  Seats made down into beds and food was awesome.  On Arrival, about 45 minutes late, I had 1 hour to catch my flight to Edinburgh.  I was not prepared for Heathrow Airport!  It is well marked but still a bit confusing and getting to where I needed to be and running out of time was a bit frustrating.  I was not prepared to go through customs again so forgot to let them know I had a pacemaker and as predicted it set the bells and whistles off, then a lecture from the security staff as to I was not suppose to go through the machines they sent me through, had to take my shoes off, get the pat down, then found my red carry on suitcase but my laptop, purse, phone, and nook were not there, so started looking for them an discovered that since I sent a bottle of water through with my purse they had to go through the process for liquids and purse had to be evaluated!  Long story short after 4 people in front of me I got all gathered up headed to A concourse and was told once there I would find out which gate I was to catch my flight.  I get there the readouts are not for 74 year old people!  Finally after getting 3 people to help me found my gate with less than 10 minutes to go. Flight to Edinburgh was awesome and I was at ease that my taxi I had booked was waiting for me but either he couldn’t find me or vice versa so just caught another one to my hotel.  Was so tired I decided I would call Bruce by Skype after I napped and ate.  BUT as you all know he worries about me.  I was just headed to my room and had stopped at the counter to get some bottled water and heard to of the girls talking about a Peggy Alexander!  I said hey guys that’s me, she starts laughing and said we just talked to your husband, he was worried so called to make sure you had arrived! Well, she knows we have been married 53 years so Im not sure what else he told her but called my worried husband back to say I was fine!!!!!

Got up today and readied myself for getting the car!  I headed out cause the car rental place was right across from the hotel.  Got there, checked in with Europcar and found out I was renting from Hertz so got in line for receiving my car.  Went great and headed out to pick it up.  Met another couple from Illinois who were traveling for a week and their car was next to mine.  I went to the drivers side as I always do in the states and found NO steering wheel! Looked up and she was laughing at me and said “We have done the same thing twice”!  I finally got the right side of the car for driving and checked out with the Hertz guy and headed out to start my driving on the left side of the road.  Honestly, its just follow the traffic and do what my garmin tells me to do!  My 6 years of driving on the left side in Japan came back fast.  Phone map worked for 3/4 of the trip to Inverness then ran out of juice, so stopped at a layabout and found my phone cord then could not for the life of me find a USB port in the dang car, so took the time to set the Garmin up from my road coordinates to my B&B in Inverness!  Had to pull into several layabout due to heavy rain.  You would think I was use to it but we have had so little in the last couple years I wasn’t prepared for a deluge.

Finally arrived at my B&B got checked in and have been vegging since.  Things will get more interesting since I am in area and tomorrow will do some exploring around  on foot and by car.

I have couple days before Nathan arrives and our hike on Isle of Skye starts on Saturday for 7 days.  Will put pictures and my usual as the adventure continues.  Love to my family, Bruce, and all of you.  Pictures Are coming in the next writing!!!!!

Peg

 

GLENCOE – Beginning to Present….

I have been traveling with Bruce for the last week since I posted the blog on Culloden!  Bruce and I got home and our son and family needed the house for a few more weeks due to the work being done on their new home so I decided that a “ROAD TRIP” was in order, so we took 4 days to repack and then headed out on the road for his home state of OHIO!!!  So have been a little behind in my “McAlister Adventures in Scotland”, will try to keep this up better for the next couple of weeks while we are here in Ohio.

Glencoe is one of those areas that leaves a lasting impression on anyone who visits there.  Each impression is different and can only be described by the individual.  I have read and heard many impressions of Glencoe but here is mine!

Living in the USA with as we say “the wide open spaces”.  I have seen and now live in the beautiful state of Washington and near the  Cascade Mountains and shores of the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound.  I grew up around the Great Rocky Mountains and the plains of Oklahoma, was born in West Virginia but only seen pictures of the Appalachian Mountains, driven through Utah/Nevada/New Mexico/Arizona/California/Texas and their great Plateaus/plains/mountains.  Each region has a majestic beauty that cannot be compared or forgotten!  GLENCOE falls into its own class of grandeur, mysticism, and beauty.  It has so many different aspects, from the wildlife, the geological formations of the mountains and hills, the flora and fauna, the outdoor activities of the area, and the haunting historical history of the families and people’s of the area.  My love is the historical side of Glencoe.  In this valley I saw a geological history cut down through the millions of years that has given it the beauty and mystic that I see.  I did not see much of the wild life but in my readings there is an abundance in this area and also the flora varieties are many.  I am not much of a scientist so could not tell you the difference between many plants or trees but to see how the varieties grow from the cliffs and hillsides and the rocky cliffs of the mountains they would have to be hardy plants.  The tragic history  of the MacDonald Clan and how they were betrayed was hard to read and hear about but it is also what makes this glen so memorable and the history so intriguing.  I loved this glen and all that surrounds it.  I would and will visit Glencoe again and hopefully meet more of the folks that live there and who keep the glen so preserved.

This one is for Rachael and Tim who have seen our "Mt Baker".  Is she not beautiful.  This was taken from the soccer fields outside Bellingham!  Always has snow on it but in the summer time you can see the glaciers on it.

This one is for Rachael and Tim who have seen our “Mt Baker”. Is she not beautiful. This was taken from the soccer fields outside Bellingham! Always has snow on it but in the summer time you can see the glaciers on it.  Best snowboarding around!

I will not delve too deep into the geological formations other than to give you a lesson in how Glencoe was formed (a short one)! 500 million years ago Scotland lay near Newfoundland and Greenland and England was a small part of what was called Avolonia.  As the platonic plates that form the earths crust started drifted together about 450 million years ago a period of extraordinary upheaval and change in the volcanic eruptions  of the volcano’s around the world.  This upheaval lead to the combining of Scotland and England as one in a new continent that formed 20 degrees below the equator called Devonian.  Between 300 million and 60 million years ago the continent movement pushed the small continent to its present position separating it from North America and closer to the European continent.  In all this time it went through the violence of the volcanic eruptions and ice age glaciers.  As the glaciers receded through Scotland you see today the Glencoe Valley and the majestic mountains and Monroe’s surrounding the valley that were carved out by those glaciers.  Below are just some pictures of what will show some of how the valley and mountains of Glencoe were formed.  What does not show is the Glacier Period and the receding of the glaciers that formed Glencoe as we see it today.

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We began our journey to Glencoe in Inverness after staying at the Culloden House and visiting the Culloden Battle Fields.  As we drove up A82 highway which runs along Loch Ness you could see the beauty of the changing colors from summer to fall.  The day was cloudy and the mist and clouds still covered the top of hills and along certain areas of the Loch.  I am retracing by car where I would be going with the canoe trip and what a different view of the area that is.  We made our way to Glencoe thru beautiful country and several road construction sites but arrived around 4 pm.  We then tried to find our lodging which was the “Glencoe House”.  Glencoe is a small town and before we knew it we had driven through it.  We decided to turn around and go back when we discovered the “Visitors Center” for the Glencoe area!  Quite an interesting place and has a very good lookout point just outside the center and also great camping and RV areas for people to use.  We then went back into Glencoe and stopped at the filling station and ask directions, .  Now Bruce let me ask directions so I go in and the young man ask me if I needed help and I said “yep, I am looking for the Glencoe House and my bed for the night and we had been driving around for about 1 hour and not finding how to get into the town of Glencoe!”  so the young man who ran the station explained in VERY simple terms that you go down to the corner make a right off A82 and an immediate right again and then go through town until you cross over the hump bridge and make a left at the next road!  The crazy americans finally arrived at our distention!  Now this place is at the “TOP” of Bruce’s favorite places that we stayed!  They are listed as a B & B but not your usual one!  They decided that it would be more enhancing to just do “Suites” vs Bedrooms so they divided the house up into suites and each suite has its own breakfast nook and you are served in your own suite vs one shared dining room, the house is set in an area that is located near hiking trails and has ponds and a awesome view of Loch Leven.  Below are some of the pictures of our suite and the surrounding area of the Glencoe House!  I highly recommend this for a stay, Bruce was so inclined to stay that had we not made reservations on the Kintrye Peninsula and Glenbarr Abby he would not have left we would have completed our time in Scotland in Glencoe House!

Trip over to Glencoe

Trip over to Glencoe

On our trip over to Glencoe

On our trip over to Glencoe

We had been stopped by a construction site on the A82 hwy on our way to Glencoe.  Upper Loch Linnhe.

We had been stopped by a construction site on the A82 hwy on our way to Glencoe. Upper Loch Linnhe.

Walking paths

Walking paths

Duck on the pond

Duck on the pond

Pond near house

Pond near house

Pond with Lilly pads

Pond with Lilly pads

Glencoe House

Glencoe House

Glencoe House

Glencoe House

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One of the ponds near the house

One of the ponds near the house

Pond

Pond

Ceiling in the Bedroom of our Suite

Ceiling in the Bedroom of our Suite

Study area of the great room of our suite

Study area of the great room of our suite

Bar area - Folks the Scots have an honor system that would not work in the good old USA.  Just amazing to me.

Bar area – Folks the Scots have an honor system that would not work in the good old USA. Just amazing to me.

Our breakfast nook over looking the grounds and Loch Linnhe inlet.

Our breakfast nook over looking the grounds and Loch Leven.

Breakfast in our suite

Breakfast in our suite

Bedroom

Bedroom

Great Room with study at one end, fireplace (wood burning) at the other, Bar along one wall and Breakfast nook near study area.

Great Room with study at one end, fireplace (wood burning) at the other, Bar along one wall and Breakfast nook near study area.

Great Room

Great Room

Glencoe House from the A82 why and Loch Linnhe inlet

Glencoe House from the A82 why and Loch leven

Bridge we drove over to reach Glencoe house

Bridge we drove over to reach Glencoe house

Mushrooms on walking path near the house

Mushrooms on walking path near the house

Ponds near house

Ponds near house

Bruce

Bruce

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We settled in took a short walk and headed back to find a place for dinner.  There are several places on Loch Linnhe but we recommend the   Holly Tree Inn.  Food is awesome and the view is spectacular.  Here are some pictures taken from this B & B and restaurant.

Sunset on Loch Linnhe

Sunset on Loch Linnhe at the Holly Tree Inn Restaurant

Sunset on Loch Linnhe

Sunset on Loch Linnhe at the Holly Tree Inn Restaurant

We headed back to the B & B for a good nights rest and get ourselves ready for our adventure in exploring Glencoe Valley!  We talked to the manager of the Glencoe House and he suggest very highly that we take the A82 hwy through Glencoe Valley at least up to the flat plateau area.  So we headed out to see what we could see!  It was rainy and cloudy and mist covered most of the tops of the mountains and Munroe’s but you could still see the geological beauty of the area and eventually the sun came out some and we got some awesome pictures.  The mountain areas of Glencoe Glen are extremely beautiful whether in sunshine, snow, or rain but can are very dangerous!  I could not look at the Glen and tell you which mountain I was looking at but I can give you a general idea with some of the areas that I took pictures and were well labeled.  The area is a well-known a hiking and mountain climbing area.  The West Highland Way hiking trail from Glasgow to Fort Williams (7 days) goes thru here.  We watched many hikers travel this route as we made our travel thru the area.  Here are some of my photos of the area.  (I will label some that I know and hopefully they are correct!)

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This is one of the "Three Sisters" range

This is one of the “Three Sisters” range

Another Part of the "Three Sisters"

Another Part of the “Three Sisters”

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The Falls of Glencoe

The Falls of Glencoe

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Mushrooms on walking path near the house

Mushrooms on walking path near the house

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As you can see I was not to knowledgable of the different names of the mountains I took pictures of, sorry but here are a few of the names and they are in Gaelic folks!  Behind the “Glencoe House” there is walking trails and they are through the range with names of Sgorr Nam Flannaidh, Stob Coire Leith, Meall Dearg, and Sron Gharbh.  As you work your way up A82 highway on your right will be the Aonaoh Dubb, the Three Sisters, Stob nan Cabar, Buachaille Etive Mor and Stob Dearg.  There now you just need to get a map and figure out where they are!!!  Hopefully I have been helpful.    My advice unless you have a guide do not travel these hills without one!!!

The last of the Glencoe adventure is the saddest and that is of the MacDonald Clan in 1692.  Many of the Scottish Clans were still loyal to James II who was replaced on the throne by William and Mary of England.  To keep the crisis under control William required the Highlander Clan Chiefs to swear allegiance to the English crown by January 1st, 1691.  All the Clan Chiefs had done so but Alexander MacDonald waited until the last minute to swear his allegiance to the crown and in doing so sealed his Clans fate.  He thought that he could present his oath to the official at Fort Williams but he soon found out that he would have to take it to Inverness which meant that it would not be given until January 1692.  Whether this was done to him on purpose will most likely never be found out but the Under Secretary of State, Sir John Dalrumple, took this to mean that the Clan MacDonald of Glencoe would be made an example of by the Crown for the other Clans to understand where the English Crown stood on the Scottish Clan support of James II.  Alexander MacDonald went home thinking all was ok and his allegiance given to the Crown.  Dalrumple issued a decree to the Commander of Fort Williams that basically said, “You are to hereby ordered to fell upon the rebelle, the MacDonalds of Glenco, and to putt all to the sword under seventy.  You are to have a special care that the “old fox” and his sones do not escape your hands……..”.  The soldiers and their commander left Fort Williams for Glencoe and were recieved by the MacDonalds as friends, living and eating with them for a few weeks but on the night of February 12 – 13 they struck the Clan while sleeping and killed around 40 members of the Clan including women and children.  Many did escape but many died due to the winter snows.  This raised many protests but the investigation for this crime was not done for several years.  There is much more to this tragedy but I have not read the complete book yet.  If you want to know more I suggest that you buy the book by John Buchan, “Massacre of Glencoe”.

The Island in Loch Leven where the MacDonalds are Burried.

The Island in Loch Leven where the MacDonalds are Burried.

We spent 2 days traveling the Glen and experiencing the beauty and history of this area.  It was not one we will soon forget nor one that we would want too!  On our third day we headed for Oban for one night and then down the west coast to our next destination the Kintyre Penisula and Glenbarr Abby.

I hope you all enjoy this and will take the time if you have not been to Glencoe to visit and spend some time exploring this area!  It is quite beautiful!

Good night and I will try to not keep you all waiting for more adventures.  I might just surprise you and put some of our USA adventure in between my Scottish adventures!  Wait and see!!!!

Love Peg, Grandma, Bruce, and mom