Archive for September, 2010

Journey No 12

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Journey No 12 – 9th to 15th September 2010

9th September 2010

Departed Carrick Castle for a weeks holiday in Harrie, however before the holiday could start Liz had to attend two health clinics in Helensburgh and Glasgow first and since Calum was staying with us, we dropped him off at his flat in Glasgow before driving up to Aviemore. We refuelled in Dumbarton with 40.71 litres of diesel/£48.00 (mileage 115637 km).  Arrived Glenmore by Aviemore early evening and parked up at Coire na Ciste car park – the lower of the two ski area car parks. Having dinner there we watched a beautiful sunset before watching a DVD and going to bed. During the night the wind got up to gale force and the van was rocking so much that we decided to move ‘Harrie’ at 4 am to the small car park below where we had previously stayed on Journey No 8 on 22nd April. There, we were sheltered by the trees and slept well.

10th September 2010

Douglas dropped Liz off at Glenmore Lodge for a SAAF meeting where she was again attending as Chair of the Institute of Outdoor Learning Scotland (IOL).  Douglas did a small amount of shopping in Aviemore before heading up the hill again where he saw a small heard of wild reindeer in the Coire na Ciste car park.

Wild Reindeer at Cairngorm

Click on any photo to enlarge it…

He then drove up to the top ski area car park where he met up with another motorhome that he’d met earlier in the second overnight car park and had tea with June and Geoff. At 3.30 pm he collected Liz from Glenmore Lodge and drove up to Fort George for the night with a good view of the Moray Firth towards Inverness.

11th September 2010

Slept in – sleeping in Harrie is very comfortable!  At 11 am we visited Fort George, 11 miles NE of Inverness. Fort George is a mighty fortress completed in 1769 and is still used by the army today. There are almost a mile of boundary walls and all the buildings are complete.  It took us two hours to visit and we found it very interesting. Historic Scotland look after the site.

Fort George

Liz on the parade ground at Fort George

Harrie parked up near Fort George

After lunch we refuelled in Nairn with 48.34 litres/£57.00 (116046 km) and then headed for Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery at Forres also run by Historic Scotland.  This distillery was built in 1898 but closed down in 1983. Everything was left so you can see every stage of Whisky making from start to finish and even taste the whisky that was produced there! They have just two years supply left of the malt whisky.

Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery

We next went to Elgin Cathedral that dates back to the 13th century – this is a magnificent ruin!

Elgin Cathedral

Archbishop Douglas at Elgin Cathedral

Bishop Liz at Elgin Cathedral

We just managed to fit in one more visit that day that was Spynie Palace, 2 miles north of Elgin. For five centuries until 1682 the palace was the residence of the bishops of Moray. When it was built the palace was by the sea.  Both these properties are looked after by Historic Scotland.

Spynie Palace

Liz at Spynie Palace

That night we drove down towards Huntly before finding an off-road place to park overnight 3 miles short of the town.

12th September 2010

Our first visit of the day was to Huntly Castle, another Historic Scotland property.  This castle has outstanding architecture as can be seen in the photographs – the Gordons were very rich in those days.

Huntly Castle

Next visit was to Kildrummy Castle, 10 miles SW of Alford – a 13th century castle in ruins.  Other buildings in the area used the castle as a quarry for the fine Ashlah stone blocks.

Kildrummy Castle

Finally that day we visited Corgarff Castle, 8 miles W of Strathdon – a medieval tower house that was later garrisoned by troops from Fort George to control the Highlanders and assist the taxmen stamp out illegal whisky stills. We really enjoyed this remote place.

Corgarff Castle

Corgarff Castle is remote

Corgarff Castle from a distance

Following visiting these last two Historic Scotland properties, we drove south crossing the Brig o’ Dee and going over Cairn o’ Mount (1488 ft/454 m)  that has very steep inclines on it requiring first gear up and even second gear down.

Douglas at Cairn o'Mount

We stopped in a forestry car park at Drumtochty Forest for the night near Fettercairn.

13th September 2010

We visited Edzell Castle & Garden property. The gardens were first created in 1604 and are outstanding. The castle has no roof but there is a superb summer house that is complete.

Edzell Castle Garden

Douglas at Edzell Castle

Edzell Castle from the garden

Liz at the Edzell Castle Summerhouse

After this we visited the Caterthuns (Brown & White) hill forts about 5 miles E of Inchbare and walked up to the ‘White’ hill fort in the rain – although we had rain here we missed out on it elsewhere.

Finally that day we headed down to Arbroath to Arbroath Abbey, founded in 1178 and famous in history for the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.

Declaration of Arbroath 1320

There was an excellent visitor centre that explained the abbey’s history – the abbey was in ruins although some of the building were still complete. The last two properties were also looked after by Historic Scotland.

Arbroath Abbey Nave

We refuelled with 52.19 litres of diesel/£59.97 (116471 km).

As we were going to visit Liz’s step-mother in Carnousie the next day we decided to drive there and parked up in the large seafront car park near the golf course.

14th September 2010

We visited Helen, Liz’s step-mother, in Carnoustie and took her out to lunch near Dundee. At the end of the day we decided to head south over the Tay Bridge into Fife as we had more places to visit.  We managed to find an off-road stopping place near Tentsmuir Forest for the night after a walk along the beach.

Harrie near Tentsmuir Forest

15th September 2010

St Andrews was our first place to visit.  We parked up in the town’s long stay car park and walked into the historic town.  Our first visit was to St Andrews Cathedral. The remains of what was Scotland’s largest and most magnificent cathedral but now in ruins.

Next we walked on to St Andrews Castle that was the main residence of the Cathedral’s bishops and archbishops. The castle is mainly in ruins but has a very good visitor centre.

Liz with St Andrews Castle behind her

Our next visit was to Lochleven Castle in Kinross, a late 14th century tower set on an island in the middle of the loch. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there in 1567. We were taken over to the island by boat – a very quiet place.

Lochleven Castle

The Tower House Lochleven Castle

Liz at Lochleven Castle

For the last visit of the day we crossed the Forth Road Bridge and went to Blackness Castle, 4 miles NE of Lintithgow on the south side of the Firth of Forth. This castle is complete and was built in the 1440’s.  It was built with external walls that resemble a ship.  All the properties visited today are looked after by Historic Scotland.

Blackness Castle

View of the Forth Bridges from Blackness Castle

We were now fairly ‘castled out’ so headed home refuelling in Ballach – 27.71 litres/£32.67 (116699 km) –  before arriving home in the early evening.

Summary – Overall we had a very good holiday and enjoyed all our visits. We both have membership to Historic Scotland that meant all our visits were free.  The weather was pretty good with just occasional showers however generally it was very windy but we were not cold at all.

Trip mileage 1205 km/ 753 miles. Total mileage reading 116759 km (72,974 miles) – Ave 24 mpg.