Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Reenactent Redcoat Soldier, Fort George, Scotland

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Inverness and drove for about 30 minutes eastward to visit Fort George, a combined active military base and visitor attraction. This is an artillery fortress dating from 1769 with little structural change over past 250 years. The site is protected by one mile of walls facing the Moray Firth.  The fort was built to deter Jacobite uprisings after the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Entrance to Fort George, Scotland

Cannon at Fort George, Scotland

Defences at Fort George, Scotland

Next, we drove to nearby Cawdor Castle which is connected with Clan Campbell and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Cawdor is home to the Dowager Countess Cawdor and features low doorways, turnpike stairs, massive walls and original kitchens.Outside are three gardens including a wild garden around a river.

Cawdor Castle Garden, Scotland

Cawdor Castle, Scotland

Wild Garden at Cawdor Castle, Scotland

Next, we drove for about 45 minutes to the magnificent ruins of Elgin Cathedral which date from the 13th century.The site was subject to destruction by fire in 1390 and went out of use after the Protestant Reformation in 1560. in the grounds can viewed a carved Pictish stone which may date from around the 9th century AD. Key features are the West Front, sumptuous decorations and chapter house with latter still in use today for weddings. Good views of the Cathedral and locality can be obtained from top of the towers.

Video clip taken from atop tower of Elgin Cathedral.

Carved Pictish Stone at Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

Elgin Cathedral, Scotland

Next, we drove west to visit Brodie Castle which was home to the wealthy Brodie family for about 1000 years. The structure incorporates features from the 14th, 16th, 17th and 19th centuries. We joined a guided tour which provided a useful insight into the building’s history and life of the family which lived there until transfer to the National Trust in the late 20th century. The interior contains antique furniture, many paintings, oriental artifacts and fine ceilings.

Unfortunately, photography of the interior is not permitted.

Brodie Castle, Scotland

Brodie Castle concluded our touring for the day. We then returned to Inverness. Tomorrow, we visit Skye.

Snowy Owl in flight at Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

This morning we departed our lodgings in Inverness and drive north-west for about 45 mins to Contin where we stopped to visit Rogie Falls, a series of falls forming part of the Black Water ( river) in Ross-shire.

Video clip of Rogie Falls

Rogie Falls, Contin, Scotland

Next, south-west a few miles to visit the village of Strathpeffer where we stopped to visit the Pictish-era ‘Eagle Stone’ which stands in the open and dates back about 1400 years.

Pictish ‘Eagle Stone’ at Strathpeffer, Scotland

Next, we travelled east for about 30 minutes to visit Chanonry Point on the Black Isle. Here we had hoped to see dolphins hunting for fish in the cross-currents but, unfortunately, none were to be seen. However, the location did afford good views of the Moray Firth, Rosemarkie Bay and Fort George.

Rosemarkie Bay, Black Isle, Scotland

Next, we continued to the N.E. tip of the Black Isle ( which is actually a peninsula) to the quaint village of Cromarty where we stopped for about 30 mins and also viewed a number of redundant oil rigs, casualties of the falling oil price, from the North Sea which are moored in Cromarty Firth.

Redundant Oil Rigs, Cromarty Firth, Scotland

Cromarty, Black Isle, Scotland

Next we drove north for about 900 mins to visit the popular Dunrobin Castle, home of the aristocratic Sutherland family. This castle is more akin to a palace reflecting wealth of the Sutherlands in the 19th century when they were the largest landowners in Europe.

At Dunrobin we watched the excellent falconry display.

Falconry display at Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

Snowy Owl at Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

Garden at Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

We departed Dunrobin about 4.00pm and then returned south to our destination of Inverness calling at Evanton en-route to view the scenic Black Rock Gorge by which time the forecast rain had commenced.

Blaock Rock Gorge, Evanton, Scotland

Tour Group at Edradour Distillery, Scotland

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Birnam, central Scotland and drove about one mile north to our first stop at the Falls of Braan. Access entailed a pleasant walk along the banks of the River Braan through tall pine trees. On arrival the Ossian’s Hall viewpoint was closed but we were still able to reach close proximity to the Falls and obtain photographs.

Falls of Braan, Dunkeld, Scotland

Next, we dove about 15 miles north, through the popular town of Pitlochry, to Edradour which is one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries. Here we joined a tour, led by a very able guide, who guided us through the malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation processes.

Whisky Stills at Edradour Distillery, Scotland

Edradour Distillery, Piutlochry, Scotland

Next, we drove north for about 90 minutes to Aviemore with object of using the Cairngorm Mountain Railway to reach high into the mountains and benefit from the views. Unfortunately, however, low cloud covered the mountain peak which negated the point of the trip so we opted for a few photos from the base of the railway and continued north towards Inverness.

Monadhliath Mountains, Scottish Highlands

Monadhliath Mountains, Scottish Highlands

Our next stop was Culloden Battlefield, site of last battle on British soil, April 16th 1746. Here the Jacobite forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie were heavily defeated by a larger British ‘redcoat’ force under General Cumberland thus ending a series of attempts (over 57 years) by the former Stewart dynasty to regain the thrones on England and Scotland by force.

Culloden Battlefield, Inverness, Scotland

Culloden Battlefield, Inverness, Scotland

Next, we drove round to the nearby Clava Cairns, a prehistoric burial site dating from around 2000 BC which was in use until around 1000 BC.

Clava Cairns, Inverness, Scotland

Clava Cairns, Inverness, Scotland

Finally, we drove into Inverness, capital of the Highlands, and checked into our new lodgings.

Tomorrow, we explore the Black Isle and sites nearby.