Doing some backtracking here. For two weeks last August Robin and I drove visited Scotland and had a few adventures. Our friend Barbara Blacker reminded me that I had yet to share any pictures so here goes:
Sunday August 2 we drove from Farnborough to Kelso, home of the ruined Kelso Abbey.
Before driving on to Edinburgh we did a walk along the coast from the fishing village of St Abbs.
August 4-5 we stay in a cool small hotel in Edinburgh and tour the castle, Royal Mile, Carlton Hill, and the HMS Britannia.
View from our hotel room:
Walking around town:
August 6-8 we take the overnight ferry (very NICE!) from Aberdeen to Lerwick, Shetland Island and spend 3 incredible days walking and touring around these rough, remote, and beautiful islands.
In Aberdeen a statue of William Wallace and a beautiful lamp post:
The Aberdeen skyline as we depart for the Shetlands:
Of course, a Shetland pony (baby) and first stop - Sumburgh at the southern end of Shetland to look for puffins. We saw some but not very close up. The nesting season has ended early this year and there aren't many left.
We make a trip to the northernmost inhabited island of Unst and do a walk of a nature reserve. Absolutely deserted, wild, and beautiful. A boardwalk (in the process of being replaced with Trex-like decking) to protect the bog leads us to the cliffs:
Here we get to see some puffins up close. They are very fun to watch. They have a distinctive flight with stubby wings for "flying" underwater and beautiful beaks. We kept missing them as they'd fly out from the burrows to fish and we couldn't tell where they returned in all the different headlands. Robin watched one take off and directed me towards the burrow while he stayed in place. I got about 20 yards from it before the puffin returned and I called Robin over. The bird left again and we ventured closer. A puffin returned and stood on the edge of the cliff looking at us with tiny sand eels in its beak. We wondered why it didn't return to its burrow. It took off again in a wide circle out over the water then flew back towards us. We watched in anticipation to see where it would land so we could get a close look. The puffin flew in fast and hot right into a burrow nearly under my foot! We had accidentally stood nearly on top of its burrow so in order to avoid the stupid tourists it had to dive bomb into its burrow rather than make a nice landing and walk in! Sorry Puffin!
A little taste of walking on the island of Unst:
Robin checks out a turf field and we do our best to keep the Shetlands clean by "dunna chucking bruck":
After a "day off" and then a rainy and traffic-filled drive down the east side of Loch Ness we spend August 11-12 in Glasgow. We saw a piping competition and did a walking tour of the city. On the way we stopped at Culloden - the battlefield where the Scottish received the trouncing that would signal their final defeat at the hands of the English and the end of their independence. We didn't go into the museum but instead walked around the battlefield itself which included some markers with indicators of where the opposing forces established their lines and where clashes took place. Not many of the visitors actually walked the battlefield so it was quiet and a bit eerie.
Scenes in Glasgow:
To wrap up our trip we spent 2 nights with Dick and Lucy McTaggert whom we met prior to PBP 2007. They took us on a walking tour of Galashiels and then a nice walk around St Mary's Lake despite Dick's aversion to traveling on 2 feet rather than 2 wheels.