Monday, August 25, 2008

. . . . And We're Back

Hello to everybody,
We have arrived back in Horsham after a day spent on the trains and the tube. When we flew to Scotland we had 1 large pack and when we came home we had the pack and a suitcase! it would seem that we may have come home with more than we left with.

We took over 800 photos in the last 2 weeks so now I will post some pretty castles and ruins and things from our travels.
These photos were taken from the very first Loch that we went to. Loch Etive. It was raining and the day was pretty cold but the view was very pretty. We drove down a very narrow winding road to get to this spot. Coming from NZ it felt like we were driving on a footpath it was that narrow. One of the things that I am still getting used to is the size of the roads over here.

The highest mountain in Britain is Ben Nevis and these next photos were taken on the Nevis ranges. We took a gondola up to the only ski fields in Scotland and from there we took a trek to a look out point further up the mountain. The following three photos are taken from that walk.

The day after our trip up the mountain (which, compared to mountains in NZ is a hill - The summit of Ben Nevis is the same height as the visitor centre on Mt Taranaki apparently), we took a ferry across to The Isle of Mull and then from there to the Isle of Iona where there were some pretty ruins of an old Nunnery and an old Abbey which had been restored and was once again being fully used:

That last photo was Amber trying to be arty. . .

When we got back to Mull from Iona there was a Seal playing in the water beside dock. Unfortunately we didn't actually get any photos of that, our brother-in-law did though so hopefully he'll e-mail us a couple of them and we'll be able to add them. The locals said that the seal visits quite often and sometimes brings his mate and pup with him. He seemed quite tame and friendly, our theory is that he sometimes gets food from the locals, they have mussel farms so sometimes they probably drop some fish and stuff that he snatches up.

On the Thursday we visited Loch Ness and although we didn't spot any monsters, we did find a really pretty castle!!

So that is Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness (and the view from said castle).

So, continuing on from Loch Ness we went to Fort George which is an actual military base now but was built in the time of George the. . .5th? (I can't remember which George exactly right now, but one of them!!) It's HUGE, we wanted a golf cart so we could get round the place and explore properly. (they don't offer that service though!!!) They do have the funniest signs though:

Unfortunately we don't have any photos of the "Danger of Death" signs which are everywhere here! Fort George also has a very pretty view:
But anyway, Fort George was actually built to be defended from attack in times of unrest (it was an English fort in Scotland after all) so the following Sluice Gate was designed to be opened to flood the moat. . .

Unfortunately, this only worked during High Tide which lead to a discussion amongst us all as to how they would react if attacked during Low Tide. Would they have sent a message asking the attackers to please come back in 6 hours when they were more prepared??? Speaking of English stupidity when it came to the Scots, Urquhart Castle was actually destroyed delibrately by the English because they didn't want the Jacobites to hold it during the Uprising. They packed the gatehouse full of Gunpowder, threw a match at it and ran.

After all of that military history we decided to find ourselves some Standing Stones (No time-travelling though, Shelley would have gotten lost. . .) Without going too far out of our way we found Clava Cairns, an old OLD cemetery, burial mounds with Standing Stones placed around them.

Pick the movies the following image is featured in:

So, after that busy day travelling the countryside, we packed up the camp and started on our way back South. On the way we went to Scotland's only Lake (and anyone who can tell us the difference between a Lake and a Loch will win. . .something, Shelley said $5,000; but we don't have that, so, no) and took a little boat ride to a pretty Island with Inchmahome Priory on it. Apparently lots of people like Mary, Queen of Scots and Richard the Third visited it in it's heyday, but now it's kinda. . .ruiny looking. . .

From Inchmahome we contined to Sterling Castle, which, for those movie-buffs out there, is where William Wallace (Braveheart) fought his big stand against those damn English. . .

Shelley says this one is my Labyrinth photo:And now here's me sitting on my scottish throne:

Personally, I think it suits me. . .
Anyway, it's getting kinda late over here and we still have Edinburgh Castle, street performers from the Edinburgh Festival (which we were lucky enough to wander through) AND our week in Bradford with Mai-ana. . .so, we will post more later.
Sweet Dreams,
The Travelling Shambles.
P.S. The Hunting of the Haggis is not bloody in anyway shape or form. We'll explain later and also post photos of our Haggis, Kelda.


Cavegirl said...

Niiiiice photos you guys - keep it up please!

I'm a bit disappointed - I always thought Highlands were ... high. I guess in Scotland they just mean a little bit higher than lowlands.

P.S. Please say convent from now on. Nunnery just sounds wrong. I know that it is actually a word but it reminds me of runny, which ... ech!

shambles said...

Don't worry, thats the only...convent...that we went to :)
They may not be high, but there are HEAPS of hilly mountains like, everywhere. And the area IS the highest part of the whole area is just beautiful.

Tiggeronlegs said...

Oh oh...danger of death...that reminds me....

Andrew brought back a danger of death sign just for Shelley from his trip away, but forget to give it to you...hehe...