Thursday, May 07, 2009

WIND and more WIND

We have only sporadic internet connectivity (if the hotel/B&B has wireless, we can connect), otherwise, we're only using Mark's iPhone to check things, and trying to be very careful of the amount of data (we have an international plan for data in Scotland for only 100 m of data, which is not much, when you consider how big most websites are).

Anyway, we're at the Craigellachie Hotel, which is famous for its Quaitch bar with 700+ whiskys. (not with an E, that's not Scotch!) While we can't get cellphone reception in the room (stone walls, you know), the public rooms have wifi. Tada! Lovely old hotel - our room is tiny, but the food here is fantastic, and they are in the middle of teh Speyside area for distilleries. We sat in the bar last night with a lovely couple from Germany and two women from South Africa and had a "regional scotch tasting" that the barman put on for us - a whisky from each region of Scotland. It was great!

We ended up spending two days in Northumberland - the time got away from us and we took a whole extra day to see Hadrian's wall and the roman forts along the frontier. The first day, we tried to get to Lindesfarne (and missed the tide - you can only get to the island when the tide is very low) and then visited the major castles that we were given as "must sees" - Bamburgh and Alnwick (pronounced ann-ick, figure that one out). We were too late to Alnwick, so instead saw Dunsanburgh, a huge ruin waaaaay out on the coast - requiring a several-mile hike in blustery winds to even get to the site. Gorgeous, but woah, the wind.

Our evening (including home-cooked meal) was at Rye Hill Farm in Hexham. Piglets were born overnight, and all I could think of was that I love he bacon here and shouldn't think too much about it. Oy! We were up bright and early to head out to The Wall . The morning started out quite nice; blue sky, a little wind, but lovely.

It was not to last. We were the only people at Corbridge Roman settlement, and got to walk the ruins by ourselves for an hour or so, poking among the granaries and temples and houses. It started to drizzle a little by the time we got to Chesters fort, and our last stop (Housesteads) was pouring rain and windy. Ugh. We had hoped to walk along the wall for a short segment from Homesteads to Bodisfort, but we realized that it was too olate and we had to head north or miss our reservation for the Whisky Festival in Speyside. So -- up up up to th e northen part of Scotland (a five hour drive) to arrive her ein time for dinner (which was great) and whisky tasting with our new friends until 1am.

Today, Thursday, we went to two distillery tours (Glen Moray and the Macallan) and visited the ruined cathedral in Elgin and a number of otther ruined castles, including Auchindoun, which is a mile + hike through sheep fields to even SEE the castle, and another trek up hill to get to the ruins. It was so unbelievably windy that i t was hard to stay upright sometimes, and we were awfully glad to get back to the relative quiet of the car.

Tomorrow, a few more distilleries, the cooperage, and then off to Culloden and the forts along the coast. Hopefully the sunny weather holds and the wind dies down enough to have a conversation outside of the car!

Beautiful, beautiful - having a great time!

1 comment:

laurafingerson said...

The girls love the postcard you sent to them of the baby cows! Thank you! Anna-Sofia has it in her room and when I peeked in on her last night, she was in bed *intently* staring at the photo. Very cute. Tonight at bedtime, there was a little drama when she thought she lost the postcard. But WHEW, she found it! We are all saved!