Bonnie Scotland - Ullapool to Inverness (June 16, 2012)

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Waking up at 5am to catch a 6:15am ferry isn't fun. But I took a nap for most of the entirety of the ferry crossing from Stornoway (Isle of Lewis) to Ullapool.

The ferry had bossy bathrooms.

Then there was a bit of a drive from Ullapool to our first stop. The weather wasn't cooperating so we really didn't make any unplanned stops.




In the main square of a town called Beauly sits a priory established in 1230.







Signs in the priory well document how the various sections would have functioned back in the 1200s and beyond. The priors seemed to be rather wealthy for men of the cloth.







This water doesn't look that holy to me.




I loved how the priory had tombstones from the 1800s that looked as you might envision tombstones from then to look.

I've always imagined old headstones would look something like this.













The priory was visited by a lot of ravens. I quoted Poe as we walked toward our car.

Next up on the agenda was a drive to Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle remains. They've done a good job painting a picture of the history of this castle with an eight minute movie you view in the visitor's center before descending down the hill.

I thought I saw Nessie from the castle. Kris said it was a boat.







Kris and the trebuchet










The giftshop had some interesting music.




Being it was after 3pm when we were going through Inverness, we decided to pop in to unload the car at the Eskdale B&B where we'd be staying for two nights. The owner was quite friendly, and I adore the decor. The main carpeting is the print of a Scottish tartan.







Before I explain where we next went, I have to preface the locations by saying that I'm a big fan of the Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldon. The woman can weave a story, and she's weaved a massive one. I devoured these books and felt a connection to the main characters, Claire and Jamie.

It just so happens that the majority of this book series takes place in and around what would be Inverness...in 1946 and in 1743 (and beyond).

Two of the notable locations of the novel included the Culloden Battlefield and the Clava Cairns.

Realistic or not, Claire goes to the Clava Cairns and gets sucked back in time from 1946 to 1743. Then the historical romance really begins.

As a whole, I'm not generally interested in war things...but, since it was such a big part of the book series, I was actually interested in visiting the Culloden Battlefield to see where the Jacobites fought the Redcoats.  You can read a bit about the history here.







I was even more interested in visiting the Clava Cairns where Claire's time travel accidentally took place. Things were sketchy for me for a moment too.


This probably only makes sense to fans of The Outlander series.


Even if you are unfamiliar with the novels, the Clava Cairns are an exceptionally well preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns that were built about 4,000 years ago. It's not every day that I visit a Bronze Age cemetery from 2000 BC.









When we left the Clava Cairns, we were held up by a man having a conversation with a guy in another car. The one guy was outside, in the rain, and would not stop talking. Whenever the car finally started moving, the man on foot started strolling alongside the car continuing the conversation. Such a different life than I'm used to.

This guy was blocking traffic so he could walk next to this car in the rain down the road.

Hungry, Kris and I decided to park back at the B&B and have dinner in town. One of the main reasons I'd picked the Eskdale was it's proximity to the center of town. You could view the pedestrian footbridge from the B&B. Walk across and voila!




We found a few places on TripAdvisor with good reviews for dinner after a quick look while at Eskdale and settled on one called The Room after viewing the menu. I got the broccoli and spinach soup with crusty bread and fried brie with cranberry. Kris got the chicken and haggis dinner.




I must say...they are really on to something with the fried brie. YUM! They also gave us ice water!

Kilt count = 3
Bagpipe count = 1 (we heard a lot of bagpipe music - just only once live)


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