Monday, June 1, 2009

Chasing Rainbows

[Hello Evereebodeee! Even though we've not been able to get internet connections very frequently of late, I have been writing every night ('cept Saturday May 30) so that my entries aren't coloured by hindsight. This entry is from 26 May. When I have some more time I will add the other days and add photos for what's already been posted.]

All day the weather has been so changeable. We'll have clouds and rain and then beaming sun. We started the day in Fort William, running a few errands first: getting phone cards and arranging accommodation for the night, as well as a trip to Boots where they always have so many nice things to buy that I can't seem to find at home.

On then to Inverlochy Castle. I'd been here before, in 2001. To me, it's not one of the more impressive castles because it's pretty well crumbled away, but since we were in the area I wanted Robin to see it. I couldn't get him out of there! He took dozens of photos. (I took the one below.)

And here's one of me: happy to be in Scotland, happy to be at a castle:

After awhile I decided to wait at the entrance and watch the clouds pass around the bens, notably Ben Nevis. There is something, I thought, about viewing this scenery that is good for the soul. So awesome, and so peaceful.

A fun thing about the changeable weather is that we're able to see the scenery (and take photos) in a variety of lighting conditions.

Once I was finally able to extricate Robin from Inverlochy we went to the Ben Nevis Distillery (this is a whisky trip too; wait 'til we get to Islay). Outside of the distillery, for whatever reason, were three Highland Cattle (phonetically: "heilan' coos"); the first we'd seen on this trip:

After a few obligatory photographs we went inside to find that the next (and last) tour was to be in more than an hour, at 2:15. They weren't very welcoming, and didn't even have toilet paper in their loo, so we decided to give this one a miss and move on to the town of Caol, rumoured to have a nice yarn shop.

Another bust. It was more of a second-hand shop with some yarn scattered here and there. Nothing you could really do anything with. Very disappointing.

On to lunch. Finally things started looking up. We had a nice pub lunch of salmon and chips and a nice slice of lemon meringue pie to finish. Then on to Neptune's Staircase and the Caledonian Canal for a long walk. Here's part of the path along the canal:

Unfortunately, my pint at lunch made me a little less than energetic for a walk. Then we took a detour -- very strange, there was water running under the water: An aqueduct. We took the path down and walked under the canal.

Once we'd crossed the canal from underneath we decided to walk back to the car along the canal path on the other side. We had a much better view of the bens on the way back and took more pictures. Then only minutes from the car, the skies opened up and we were pelted with hail!

Soaked through, we got back on the road, driving up along Loch Ness. We stopped at the Bridge of Oich (another Historic Scotland site). On approach Robin said it was crap, but he changed his mind once he had a closer look. (Here he is on the bridge.)

During much of the drive the weather was literally a mix of rain and sun (Scotland is the only place I've been where you can need your sunglasses on and your windshield wipers going at the same time) so a few times we got lovely views of full-arced rainbows. Robin took some pictures out of the car window:

Then we were able to get some better pictures at a parking place (there aren't that many of these) along the road.

After our long day of traveling we finally arrived at our B&B. For dinner we walked down to the local shop and got cheddar cheese and biscuits and wine, after which (since it was still light out at 8:30pm) we took the nearby Woodland Walk which goes close to Loch Ness, but not close enough to get good views.

We even got some wireless access at the B&B [where I posted the previous days' adventures]. Now time for sleep to ready ourselves for tomorrow!

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