Today, proved very  rewarding and successful. Here is an outline:
  • Departed our lodgings at Braemar Lodge about 9.30am and then paid a brief visit to the pleasant village of Braemar which is tourist orientated but, nevertheless, attractive with a small stream (burn) close by. The air seemed fresh and invigorating.
  • Nearby is the Royal castle of Balmoral. We arrived at 10.00am to avail of a tour/visit on the last day of the season for which the castle is open to the public. The Queen was scheduled to arrive in the afternoon for her summer vacation in readiness for which there was a huge police and army presence evident.

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Garden

Balmoral Garden


  •  We greatly enjoyed the gardens and facilities in the Highlands environment aided by relatively benign weather conditions. A lady gardener pointed out the flowers  in the garden she had selected to decorate the interior of the castle specifically for the Queen’s stay. There was also an opportunity to observe, and briefly participate in, shoeing of horses by a local farrier.
  • After concluding our Balmoral visit we drove to the nearby Royal Lochnagar Whisky Distillery. Here, we joined in the 12.00 noon distillery tour with an excellent guide who took us through the full process of malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation. Royal Lochnagar is a small distillery forming part of the Diageo Group. The product is available as a single malt but most of the output is used in the Johnnie Walker Blue blend.

Royal Lochnagar

  • After completing the distillery tour we headed north through some stunning Highlands scenery, including grouse moors, past a ski centre to Inverness and then on to Dornoch where we arrived at 4.30pm for a short visit before our final destination of Skibo Castle(Carnegie Leisure Club) on time at 5.00pm.


  •   By special arrangement a private tour of Skibo was provided by a senior executive of the resort which lasted about 90 minutes. Only images of the exterior and gardens were permitted which proved very adequate as the gardens were in full bloom providing a blend of vivid colours against the background of the castle.



  • After 90 minutes at Skibo we returned to Dornoch and our lodgings for the evening at the Bank House which is a quality establishment in centre of town. Dornoch is an absolute gem of a place with many historic buildings, including a castle and cathedral. There is also golfing and beach nearby. We dined at the Donoch Castle Hotel, which was fine.

Golf at Dornoch

Beach at Dornoch

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