Our new friends have taken us to Scotland with them. They took us everywhere they had gone. They even had us spend time with their friends there. We got to go to all over the highlands and see many new things. We went to a distillery, brewery, beach and even a castle. We even ate fish and chips, went for hikes in the woods, drove heavy equipment and hung out with Sam. We went to this really strange place where there were socks and other clothing hanging all over the trees. We got to spend David’s 69th birthday with him and toasted him with whiskey. We have to make this a short one because we are heading to Iceland with our friends, after saying goodbye to our new friends.
Our last day of sightseeing and we are heading out with paper in hand, but David doesn’t know where we are taking him. He had wanted to go to a distillery, so our first stop was at Glenmorangie.
In 1843, William Matheson founded the Glenmorangie Distillery in the Scottish Highlands. Inspired by the Distillery’s peaceful surroundings on the banks of the Dornoch Firth, he brought forth a pioneering single malt whisky wonderfully complex and exceptionally smooth.” Ever since, we have pursued our craft with uncompromising dedication – endlessly creative in our quest for perfection. To this day, we honor the Distillery’s provenance in our award-winning single malt. Its pure, smooth spirit is distilled in Scotland’s tallest stills, matured in the finest casks and perfected by The Men of Tain. And, in the hands of these select craftsmen, the guardians of our spirit, Glenmorangie will surely delight malt whisky lovers for generations to come.”
We went on a tour with the wonderful, young guide, Aiden. I was really impressed with his knowledge of the working of the distillery. He kept you entertained through the whole tour. The huge stills were just breathtaking. I had never seen anything like that before. We saw an old caddy that was used in the commercials. I will get into this more when I write an article about the tour. David even got a bottle of Scotch. I told him to get what he wanted until I noticed the highest price on one was 7200 pounds. He did get one a whole lot cheaper. He enjoyed his first surprise.
On to our next stop, Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. Dunrobin Castle is also one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland.
The bells you see above and the servants bells, so they knew which room to go to and who was calling them.
We enjoyed the gardens.
Then the best part was the Falconry Show
Then it was time to say good-bye to Dunrobin Castle.
Off to our next stop which was a nice beach.
Then it was time to head home, so Fred could fix our last meal. We had a sad detour though on our way. As we neared Beauly there were cars all lined up. David and I could see from our seats that someone was getting CPR. The next thing the fire engine blocked the road so we had to turn around and go back the way we came. Then going the long way home. I found out later that a 75 year old woman had a heart attack and passed away even with the help she was getting. At least she did go fast. We will be thinking of her family today.
We finally made it home where Fred jumped into the kitchen and started cooking another wonderful meal.
He also made him an ice cream cake but we didn’t get back early enough for it to get totally frozen. Of course, all the candles did not help much. We popped open a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
Then Fred broke out the whiskey, so our early night turned into midnight before we knew it. A great time was had by all. We will miss them.
I met Fred and M many years ago. Fred was in the military with my late husband, Baggy, also known as Stuart Bagot. I got along with them great and we all became great friends. I spent time with them after Baggy’s death and it helped me a lot. I wanted them to meet my new husband, so I asked if we could come visit while we were in the United Kingdom. They said of course, so the trip was planned.
Fred who’s real name is Andrew Graeme was a very close friend of Baggy’s. Baggy had trained him up in II Para. All of the unit seemed to earn nicknames. Baggy got his because he was so skinny that his uniform hung on him like a bag of shit. Fred got his because he could swim really good and hold his breath for 2 minutes. His sergeant started calling him Freddy the Fish, so he became Fred. They had not seen each other for many years because Freddy had gone AWOL. Baggy said his Lieutenant would keep calling him into headquarters and telling him that he had got a post card from his friend. Then after Fred moved around for a lot of years he settled in Germany where he met M. Many years later they moved to Scotland and started the recording studio. He got hold of Baggy in Blackpool and their friendship was rekindled.
Fred has done many things in his life but he mainly worked in the music industry. He has been an editor, truck driver, written many articles, taught I believe for a while too. He is a fantastic cook. I love going to visit just to eat his cooking. He also likes spending time on the internet, as you can see in the above photo, but he does enjoy playing with his outside toys; tractor, digger, chainsaw and such things. He is always good for a laugh.
Mechthild Graeme better know as M is probably the closest friend I have. She was born and raised in Germany. We have just always got along great. She is also one of the smartest woman I know. She like Fred has done many things in her life. She was a DJ for years. She worked for some American company for a very long time too. Of course, she is the business side of the recording studio. She knows three languages, German, English and Gaelic. She decided if she was going to live in Scotland she should learn Gaelic. She is now teaching English as a second language to people online. M just can’t stay still. The other day when we took a relaxing day she did too, but for her that meant working in the yard. She is an amazing woman who I am very proud to call my friend.
Besides Fred taking us all over the highlands to show us the sights and making us wonderful meals we put a big dent in the 32 gallons of beer that Fred had made. We also played Malefitz which is a German board game. We had to teach David how to play because he had never even heard of it. That is what we usually did after dinner. On the norm the women usually won but one night Fred won. I have never seen him get so excited. We will never hear the end of it. Poor David though never did win. We have so many laughs playing this game. We also had to have David watch Funny Bones which is a movie that takes place in Blackpool.
Fred and M for as long as I have known them have always had a Great Dane. They have rescued quite a few and given them a great life. They never know what kind of background they have come from, so sometimes they can really be a lot of work.
Sam is the one that they have now. He does have some cute ways about him. There used to be a commercial in Britain for a company and the star was Churchill the Bulldog. Fred and M somehow ended up with a stuffed one and Sam has adopted it. He carries it around and lays it down gently. He treats it like it is his baby. Sam must have also gone to model school because just bring the camera out and he poses for you. He is a real ham. But he is a Great Dane which means he has the brain the size of a pea. He can do some dumb things like not being smart enough to get out of the sun when you get to hot. When he is panting he is not smart enough to drink water. They have to put a lot of water in his food to make up for his lack of drinking it plain.
Sam is a good guard dog when it comes to people jumping over the fence to pick mushrooms. He goes bounding after them barking. They go running. We are never sure if he is really chasing them or if he is saying wait I want to play.
Sam has his own couch to sleep on in the hall with his own blanket, of course. He spends a lot of time here dreaming of chasing sheep and horses. He will bark at them and is very brave when there is a fence between him and them.
All in all Sam is just a big loveable dog who will always make you smile by doing something funny or with his facial expressions.
Sam thanks for all the laughs while we were visiting in Scotland.
On Sunday at the Byre we usually have a nice cooked breakfast and read the paper. We just decided to hang out. The boys decided to see what David’s low note was. He went lower than I think Fred thought he could. They ran to Lidl to get a tool Fred wanted. M and I just enjoyed the sun and the quiet.
I know you have heard me mention The Byre several times and you probably wonder what I am talking about. The Byre is a recording studio built on 20 acres. There is also the old house that came with the property when they bought it. Fred has done a lot of remodeling on it and is still working on it.
The recording business isn’t as good as it used to be, so they now rent it out several times a week to the Inverness Music School. Fred is also starting a film studio and building a shed for it.
I have always loved it here. It is so peaceful. When I lived in England it was my place I could go and feel like I was back home in Alaska. I decided just to take some photos around the property on Sunday.
They have a horse called Murphy who is getting older and doesn’t get ridden much any more, but is very spoiled. When he sees M with the lawn mower he comes running for him treat of fresh green grass.
The day was just an all around beautiful day spent with good friends. I hope ya’ll enjoy these photos as much I enjoyed taking them.
Once again we headed out with our piece of paper with directions for the day that M planned for us. Off I went with the mouths and M got her quiet day.
First stop was tall trees and historical roots at Reelig Glen.
Reelig Glen is a narrow, steep-sided gorge, cut by the rushing waters of the Moniack. The woodland is a mixture of old conifer and broadleaved trees, but its real glory is a stand of Douglas Fir trees that are well over 100 years old. They soar above you to a height of about 170 feet (50 metres).
One old giant measured over 200 feet (64 metres) in the year 2000 – the tallest tree in Britain at the time. After a local competition, it was named Dùghall Mòr – Big Douglas!
Our next stop was in Beauly not knowing that the Highland Cross was going on.
The Highland Cross is a 50-mile duathlon (20 miles on foot, 30 miles on bike) traversing the spectacular Scottish Highlands coast to coast, west to east from Kintail through Glen Affric and Strathglass to Beauly.
Highland Cross exists to raise money for causes that benefit the people of Highland, disadvantaged by disability, ill health or social need.
Beauly Priory is one of three priories founded in Scotland in about 1230 for monks of the Valliscaulian order. The Valliscaulians came from Val-des-Choux (‘Valley of the Cabbages’) near Dijon in France, and adhered to strict ideals of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Beauly, meaning ‘beautiful place’, must have seemed to the monks a wonderful location in which to devote themselves to worship. Only the abbey church still stands today, housing some fine funerary monuments.
We left Beauly by the back roads to avoid the traffic of the Highland Cross. Fred wasn’t sure where he was going but managed to get us back where we were supposed be. I wanted to stop at the Kiltarlity Old Church on Beauly River.
The monument consists of the remains of the sixteenth century parish church of Kiltarlity, which may have succeeded an earlier one on the same site.
The dedication is said to have been to Thalargus (Talorgan) or, according to another account to “Tarrail”. It is situated in an old graveyard on the S bank of the River Beauly. The rectangular church measures 19.1m E-W by 8.4m over walls 0.9m thick. The walling is a mixture of random masonry roughly coursed with rubble.
The gables are approximately 4m high, while the side walls stand to a maximum of 2.5m. The gables have opposed square-headed windows with segmental rear arches. The W gable has a plain window (now blocked) on the upper level. There are two entrances on the S side and a window. A small credence niche is located in the SW corner.
I also found a Geocache which I wasn’t looking for but it was just sitting there, so I showed the boys what it was.
We didn’t have a long day because we did things around the croft. When we were walking through the Tall Trees I noticed how quiet it was, this is when I figured out the boys were quiet when we were walking in the nature.
M and I decided it was our turn to do something together, so we decided to go to Inverness. We needed to go grocery shopping and I needed to get some presents for the kids and grandkids. We also hit the charity shops. We had a great time exploring the town. I had been there many times before but it is always nice to go back.
We left our men on their own, a little scary but we needed some quiet time. They were sitting at the dining table when we left. When we got back they were still there. I think the only thing that they did was Fred showed David around the sound studio. I think the rest of the time they were just looking things up online.
M and I had wonderful day together. We came home and the boys were still at the table. Believe it or not they were still talking.
I told M that I wanted to take David to see the sock tree. I had driven past it many times but never stopped to check it out. Off we went again with our piece of paper with places to go. Clootie Well is not far from Fred and M’s house, so we started there.
The Clootie Well is a rather weird remnant of an ancient tradition once commonly found in Scotland and Ireland, of holy wells to which pilgrims would come and make offerings, usually in the hope of having an illness cured. The tradition dates far back into pre-Christian times, to the practice of leaving votive offerings to the local spirits or gods in wells and springs. With the arrival of Christianity, the practice was simply adapted to the new circumstances.
The holy well at Munlochy is said to date back to – and probably beyond – the time of St Boniface or Curitan, who worked as a missionary in Scotland in about AD620. Pilgrims would come, perform a ceremony that involved circling the well sunwise three times before splashing some of its water on the ground and making a prayer. They would then tie a piece of cloth or “cloot” that had been in contact with the ill person to a nearby tree.
As the cloot rotted away the illness would go away as was believed back then. They even would leave their children there over night in hopes of making them well. Not sure if that worked or not because I think it would have scared them more than anything else. It is a very eerie place.
Today people leave pieces of clothing but they are made from man-made material and don’t rot away. David said the whole place smelled of mildew from all the damp clothing. This isn’t great for the environment but people still believe that it might work, so they leave all kinds of articles of clothing.
David and I tied a couple of Fred’s socks to a limb. I wonder if that means Fred will get double healing, since we tied his sock there. I hope he can be fixed but I doubt that there is anything that can cure him of crazy.