Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Last couple of days

Sunday
Last day, and we decided to drive to Pitlochry, a town I first visited many, many years ago when I was a teenager. Went for a walk around Loch Faskally  which is formed by the hydroelectric dam.
Started with a suspension bridge, to which people have attached "love padlocks".


To help the salmon get back to their spawning grounds, there's a salmon ladder at the side of the dam


You can walk right across the top of the dam, and you get a great view along the valley


As we set off round the loch, the sun came out and the colours were fantastic and together with the reflections in the Loch, it was impossible to take a bad picture!




The walk was lovely, and after a couple of hours we were ready for a pint and some lunch, and we found a lovely pub called the Watermill, with a real mill wheel.


Back home for some packing, a couple of drinks (well, we didn't want to take it home), and dinner. Went for a walk after dinner round the site, as the Loch loved lovely in the evening, and there's a old gate from when the site was the gardens to Taymouth Castle.


Monday morning, up early for a long drive back, and it had been snowing on the hills!

Left about 10, and after a stop after a coule of hours, we were doing well. Until we hit stationary traffic at Scotch Corner, and had to do a U turn over the central reservation to find a different way.  Eventually got home just before 6. Tired, but we'd had a fantastic week.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

More waterfalls, Birks and Cows

Friday
Rained overnight, but still mild, so decided to walk up the side of the River Tay, on the opposite side to Taymouth Castle. At first we thought it might be a very short walk as the path was flooded



But we soon climbed higher and got away from the bank.

Came across a folly on the way - presumeably from the Castle estate.


Lovely walk, high above the river for a lot of the way, but you could hear it rushing beneath us.


The colours were fantastic, and for a lot of the way we were walking through an avenue of lime trees.


The only problem was the amount of rhododendrons, which I know look pretty when they are in flower, but they are not native, and grow so thick they choke native plants, and also form a barrier so you can't appreciate the views.

The path finishes at "Chinese Bridge" which was designed to take you on a circular walk over the Tay, past the castle and back into Kenmore, but unfortunately it's currently closed for maintenance, although there was no sign of any maintenance actually being carried out!


We took a short detour to see "Rock Lodge" - a deserted dwelling in the rocks, and then walked back the way we came.



Also came across a rather splendid dog called Dougie who delighted in running full pelt into the river to chase the ducks. Especially near the bridge where it was flooded, and children were waiting to feed them..


 Back in the village we popped into the church, which has some rather interesting windows - etched glass rather than stained glass.



After a soup lunch in the cottage we drove up to Fortingall where we saw the Fortingall Yew - estimated at 5000 years old it is probably the oldest living thing in Europe. Protected by a wall it had a diameter of 52 ft a couple of hundred years ago, but then it was damaged by tourists taking parts of it, and locals lighting fires in the trunk. Now it is properly protected.


The nearby church has a barrel vaulted ceiling, and some interesting celtic crosses in the graveyard.



Then we drove along Glen Lyon, apparently the longest glen in Scotland. It was beautiful.

More waterfalls



And cows who were most interested in me and my camera. I don't think they get much entertainment up there!



Back for the early evening ritual of whisky mac and Pointless and then out to the Kenmore Inn  for dinner - the oldest pub in Scotland and there's a poem by Robbie Burns by the fireplace which he apparently wrote whilst staying there.

Saturday

Drive to Aberfledy for a walk round the Birks O Aberfledy. A lovely circular walk up one side of a Gorge and down the other. Again made famous by Robbie Burns who wrote a poem called the Birks O Aberfeldy. Even the parking barriers have his head on them....

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We climbed high on the first part of the walk for some amazing views


and saw many waterfalls and rapids.



Crossed a bridge at the top over an amazing waterfall, and then quite a steep climb down to river level for the walk back.  We saw the stone seat where Robbie Burns had written his poem



And even caught up with the man himself at the bottom!



Into Aberfeldy where there was a little festival on - live music and a market in the town square, and then lunch in the Fountain.



There's a good independent bookshop in a converted watermill which was great to browse around, and we drove to the distillery to buy some more whiskey cake, but they had sold out! Still we did see some pretty good fungi on the walk up there.



Back home, and we picked up some hampers which we had bought for Christmas from a great shop opposite - we had picked out the contents and they had gift wrapped them. My first Christmas presents bought!

Back home, and shock horror, no Pointless. Still there is Strictly and Doctor Who!



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Waterfalls, whiskey and crannogs

Wednesday

Short drive to Acharn a few miles away on a lovely sunny morning and a walk to see the Falls of Acharn. Quite a steep climb up the side of the gorge, but we got some great views of the Loch.



When you get close to the falls, there's a "hermits cave"  which you go through to get a fantastic view of the falls. Not really a cave, but a man made folly built a few hundred years ago to make the view a bit more spectacular. They really were fantastic, there's been a lot of rain recently and the colours were fantastic.


We carried on the walk up to the top of the gorge, then crossed a wooden bridge to get a view of the top of the falls.



Back down the other side, really loving the autumnal colours.


Lunch at the cottage - good old cheese and Hendos on toast!!

Then it was off to Aberfeldy to the distillery there.


They make Aberfeldy Single Malt, and the very famous Dewars Blended Whiskey. I'd bought Stuart a special tour for his birthday, and we had a great time.

  With our own guide, we got a personal tour of the distillery, which included a special tasting from the cask - a 26 year old, 55% proof whiskey. Amazing. I had to give most of mine to Stuart as I was driving!



Then it was off to the blending room, where Stuart was helped through the process of blending his own whiskey into a specially engraved bottle. Just like being a chemist again!  The result was a very pleasant blend - but with a strength of 58% to be saved for a special occasion. He sealed the top with wax, so it should keep well!



The visit was excellent, and I really recommend it.

Back home.  A couple of aperitifs, and we ate in. We always revert to comfort food when we're away, and so it was jacket potatoes, brocolli in cheese sauce, and pork chops. Lovely. Followed by a triple sacking on The Apprentice! And I knitted a scarf, which I was quite proud of till I cast off, and then realised I'd dropped a stitch half way up - will have to work out how to recover it!

Thursday

Woke to a miserable, rainly day, so didn't bother to get up early! 
After a late breakfast, off to the Scottish Crannog Centre which was very close on the edge of the Loch. Extremely interesting visit, where there's the only genuine reconstructed crannog in Scotland.



Demonstration of various Iron Age skills including wood turning and fire making.



I decided to walk back to get some exercise, and although it was damp, it was very atmospheric. Misty, and still beautiful.




After lunch of cheese and hendos on toast, again, we set off on a late walk from the cottage to Taymouth Castle.



Lovely colours, a nice path, and mild, damp weather.



The castle has been empty for some time, but apparently is being renovated at the moment as a luxury hotel.



By about 4 it had got quite misty, so we set off back.



Just in time for a whiskey mac, and a nice relax before a meal in the on site restaurant. I have taken to wedging my iPad behind the taps of the bath so I can have a long soak watching a video (at the moment The Big Bang theory). I'm sure its going to end in tears....


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Water, weddings and waterfalls

Our Autumn week away this year is in Scotland, at the Kenmore club and the end of Loch Tay. As we could only get in Monday to Monday, we decided to break the journey and do it in two 3 hour drives, so set off on Sunday and drove to Gretna. A66 road from Scotch Corner was closed for high sided vehicles (although we saw loads), and it was very windy! I hadn't realised that Gretna and Gretna Green were two different places, so we were a couple of miles from the famous blacksmith's wedding place. But it was a lovely hotel and I was determined to get as many steps in as possible, so went for a walk in the pouring rain, and the dark, round a quite dismal Gretna.... A good meal, including haggis, cheered us up no end!

Monday

Our twelfth wedding anniversary!  Silk is the appropriate gift, so I got Stu silk socks and a DVD set of Silk, and I got an engraved whiskey glass in a silk case and some chocolate.  Set off straight after breakfast and called into the real Gretna Green for a look at the famous blacksmiths anvil.



Then set off for the long drive. Stopped for coffee just before Glasgow and I took over the driving - it was pretty horrendous with heavy rain and wind, and lots of spray. But got to Aberfeldy in time for a late lunch, and then to our resort. Soon settled in with our cards, presents, and my flowers which I brought up from Sheffield.


Went for a walk round to ground to get some steps in - found a good circuit by the Loch, but in the pouring rain again, while Stuart swam, and then I went into get warm. A few lengths swimming, and then some time in the jacuzzi! Lovely meal of venison in the resort restaurant, and back for a nightcap.

Tuesday

Mainly waterfalls!  The loch and river are very high, and there's been a lot of rain in the last week, so we decided to go and look at some waterfalls. On the way from Aberfeldy we'd spotted one, and went back to look at it. Quite spectacular.


Then we drove along the north side of Loch Tay to Killin past some spectacular views. And by then the sun had come out, so some lovely autumn colours.  In Killin there was a church which I couldn't help thinking of as a "tin tabernacle', and I'm sure my Mum and Dad will know what I mean!


Walked through Killin where the river was very high, and bits were flooded, but there were some great photo opportunities.


Finally got to the  Falls of Dochart which were amazing. Not huge high falls, but more of a gentle slope But a real raging river which went on for ages. Very difficult to convey in photos, but I could have watched and listened to it for ever.





After watching the falls for a while, we had lunch in the pub by the side of them. I had cullen skink - one of my favourite soups. Smoked haddock, potatoes and cream. Yum.  Then came back out to watch the falls again, and a nice round walk back to the car along the river.


Lovely drive back, and then a visit to a shop across the road from our resort where I was amused to see "Broons" Christmas hampers.




 Relaxing time in the apartment, predinner drinks, long hot soak in the bath, and across the road to a local bar for a meal. More haggis!-