Friday, March 27, 2015

Heading South

We were a bit sad to leave our little cottage at Balmacara this morning. It's been nice to have a 'home' base with a washing machine and good wifi and Ardview Cottage has been a perfect fit for us.

As on the day we arrived, the sun shine was brilliant, even though the temperature wasn't far above freezing. Knowing the road a bit better meant we could enjoy the scenery more on our way back toward Spean Bridge. It really is spectacular.

The Highlanders are working hard to save the Gaelic language. Every sign is written with bot Gaelic and English and we've tried (in vain) to get our tongues around some of the words.

Just before we turned off towards Glasgow, were passing a pub on the side of the road when a couple of deer started to wander across the road in front of us. Thankfully we missed hitting them and then when we got out of the car the 2 were joined by several more who are obviously used to the passing traffic because they were quite eager to see if we had anything to feed them.

Fort William is another 'Outlander' reference point for me so we stopped there for a quick look. The fort is long gone but there are lots of lovely old buildings to look at in the main street. Taine bought himself a tam o' shanter that will provide a colourful addition to the dress up box when we get home and we went for a quick peek in the free entry museum. There were a lot of Bonnie Prince Charlie artefacts and after our visit to Culloden a lot of the Jacobite history made sense to us. 

We traveled on down beside the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond and when hunger got the better of us we stopped at a little place called Tyndrum where they claimed to have the best fish and chips in the UK. Since we've had none anywhere else I can't substantiate that claim but the haddock was seriously very good and much better than any battered fish I've had in Australia.

From there we negotiated our way through the late afternoon traffic into Glasgow. There are clearly a couple of local rules we weren't aware of because we nearly got cleaned up a couple of times and the looks from some of our fellow motorists were withering. Thankfully we were on the right side of the city for our Premier Inn ( definitely the UK La Quinta alternative). It's probably not fair to judge a city on a less than 24 hr visit but a couple of things stood out in Glasgow. 
1. All the Glasweigans we spoke to (about 5) were very friendly and helpful. 
2. Glasgow is filthy. There is rubbish everywhere, on the sides of the roads, in the gutters, hanging from the brambles. It's pretty disgusting and we weren't sorry we couldn't stay longer.

Edinburgh is just a short hop down the highway and we booked another Premier Inn there so we could park the car and walk to Edinburgh Castle. This is the mother (or should that be father?) of all castles! The entrance fee is in proportion to its size but it was definitely worth the visit. It was freezing cold on the battlements but there was still a sizeable crowd. I think it must be madness in the high season. 

The architecture of the castle is splendid with the walls an extension of the cliff face its built into. From the ramparts you can look out across the city. It's quite beautiful. There's a good few hours of viewing involved in a visit to Edinburgh Castle so it filled in most of the day. Afterwards we walked the 'golden mile' and did a bit of snooping in the souvenir shops but the exchange rate is severely curtailing our souvenir spending. This is probably a good thing. Those magnets always seem such a good idea until you get home and I'm pretty sure tartan isn't a fashion statement in Mortlake!

Tonight we ate at the hotel on their meal deal - twenty pounds for two courses and a drink for dinner + all you can eat for breakfast. This was a good decision. The food was fresh and delicious and an all you can eat breakfast means Taine will survive a few hours in the car tomorrow.

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