Flat Ole Hippies Do Scotland

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.


I hope you enjoy the photos.  Off to Iceland now.

Day 7 David’s 69 Birthday


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.

Their Story

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.



Day 6 at the Byre

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.

Day 5 in the Highlands

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.



Day 2 in Scotland

Armed with a piece of paper that M wrote down all the places she had planned for us to go see today we headed out.

First stop was Glen Ord distillery where we planned to go on a tour but the next one was a tasting one which was 18 quid.  We thought that a little pricey, we just went through the museum which was just our price, FREE.

Glen Ord is a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands and is the only remaining single malt scotch whisky distillery on the Black Isle. Its principal product is an eponymous 12-year-old single malt whisky. The distillery won awards for the best single malt at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 1994 and 1996

The distillery is off the A832 at Muir of Ord, 15 miles west of Inverness.


Our next stop was Rogie Falls.  I really enjoyed the nice, easy walk to the falls.  We walked across the suspension bridge.  There was a couple with a small dog, who was scared to death on the bridge.  The poor dog just laid there shaking. I thought the bridge was way cool.

I read that you can see the salmon leaping up the falls in August and September.  Just like at home in Alaska. The falls flows from slopes of Ben Wyvis. The falls are really worth seeing if you are in the area.


Here I also discovered that the men stopped talking as much when they are walking and enjoying the nature. I hope M plans more trips with a little walking in nature, so I can get some peace.

Next stop was Ullapool where you can get the best fish and chips. Ullapool is a small, quaint fishing village which has many things going for it; like hillwalking, nature, and beautiful views.  You can also take the ferry to Stornoway.


Seaforth Bar & Restaurant is the place to go for fish and chips.  Don’t go into the fancy bar and restaurant just go to the chippy that is on one side of it.  They are always busy, but the make the fish fresh and it is wonderful.  There is nothing like chips from a chippy shop. The chippy has won all kinds of awards.  Sit at the picnic tables outside and enjoy the sea air.


After stuffing ourselves on the great fish and chips we started off to Achmelvich beach.  Now is time for taking pictures out of a moving car.  Fred did actually stop once for a photo op.

Achmelvich Beach is a stunning, white sandy beach with a popular caravan and camping spot nearby. A popular spot with water skiers, windsurfers and kayakers, Achmelvich is a bustling beach during the summer months. Dogs are not permitted on the beach during the peak tourist season and neither of the camping and caravan sites allow dogs. The unique morphology of the area, means there are many nearby walks and climbs, including the famous Suilven, for those interested in hiking. The beach is popular with fishers with cod, haddock, whiting, pollack, saithe and mackerel being common catches.

The sand reminded me of where we I grew up on Padre Island in Texas.  I just love the sea and beach. I think they are so peaceful.  We went early enough in the season that there was not many people there which was really nice.