Apr 28, 2017

Day Three - the Road to Skye

Day Three trip continues on from Doune Castle and Dunblane Cathedral.  If you look at the road map you will see Stirling (where we started that morning).  There are really only 2 roads that take you to the Isle of Skye (over in the top left corner).  We chose to go via Pitlochery (half way up the map, right hand side) and then go east from there.  Our goal was to make it to our B&B before it was "too dark"..... Have I mentioned that street lights in most of the country are not really a thing?

This trip truly was all about the journey.  In both Scotland and Iceland we were in the car quite a bit - but we stopped so often with breaks like these - that it never felt like you were sitting very long.

 Next stop after Dunblane was Queen's View.  It isn't exactly on the main road we were traveling on, but the detour to and from was worth every bit of it.

This view is said to be the most photographed in Scotland.  I find it odd, since it is not in an easy to get to location.  But - it is beautiful.  It was slightly snowing and you can see, cloudy, so our view wasn't as spectacular as the Queen's when she came to view it!

Loch Tummel is long and narrow.  It is surrounded by forests.  In the summer it would be a wonderful place to hike.  While planning our trip, we saw a lot of pictures of the places that made it to our list of stopping points.  There are some incredible ones of Queen's View in the autumn.

Good News!  The blue sky is starting to appear - and in just the direction we were headed!

For lunch we stopped at the House of Bruar.  If a store can possibly be 'majestic' then this one pulls it off nicely!  It is right in the middle of the Cairngorms National Park.  Karisa and I could have easily spent the better part of the day here.  We browsed through the Ladies' side - most of the clothes were wool and so lovely!  Coats, scarves, sweaters, socks!  The men's side was fun, too, but we sped through it as we were hungry and you could see the food from there!

They had some smaller antique shops, Clan goods and an Outlet section.  Those who know us well will know that we must really have had to get on the road - because we didn't even step foot in those parts!

Across from the clothing side is the food.  Part of it is a super fancy "all things British" grocery store.  Literally anything you think might be Scottish - it's there!  

The cooked food portion is a bit like a British cafeteria.  I have never eaten anywhere quite like it before.  There were sandwiches, pies, pasties, carving meats, and so much more to choose from.  You go through the line pick a main and then whatever sides you want - you can cram as much of those that fit on to your plate.  Some of those people were professional crammers, lol.

I had the pie - it was good - but it was far too much steak for me.  All the sides were delicious. 

Take a guess who loaded up on carrots and carbs........

Had it been back in the day when you could put all your liquids in your carry on or hope for the best and fill your checked bag with as much weight as you could....I would have gone crazy in the grocer's side.

 The Jam room.  Marmalades from every citrus you can imagine!

 Easter treats galore!  Those chocolate eggs were huge!

I would have loved to bring home some Lime cordial and some Ribena.  We did get golden syrup and bird's custard powder.

 Ok - if you are planning a driving holiday through Scotland -  here is one thing I would change.  We organized our itinerary so we would be in Dumbarton on a Saturday.   Anyone else I would tell to go the opposite direction than we did.

If we would ever do it again - I would give this part of our trip an extra day.  There was so much to see.  I would eat breakfast here.  Then stop over and get cheeses, jam and breads, and pies and snacks for a picnic at Queen's View.  I mean - LOOK AT ALL THOSE PIES! - and we didn't even eat one!

Funny thing is - we never really passed anywhere else to even eat the rest of the day.  Had we known, we could have taken food and eaten dinner later.

They had a ton of samples, too.  We sampled a few things, but we were stuffed  from just eating the lunch there!

 Haggis, anyone?

When Karisa was studying in Spain - she fell in love with Iberico ham.  I didn't really know much about it - but read all about it online trying to find some locally for us to serve at her welcome home party.  These pigs only eat acorns - a certain kind of acorn - and then only 3000 will become a ham each year.  They are cured 5 years - and then it is ready to be sold. 

 You can see they sell it here for £14.95 per 100g (let me do the math for your - that is roughly $20 for about 3 ounces)

If you would like to order one in the States - you can - make sure to invite Karisa over when you have it, lol.

 So many biscuits - so much shortbread!

Back in the car and heading toward Skye.  This is the part of the trip where you enter the Highlands.  If you have a bucket list - move this toward the top.  So very beautiful.
Karisa had prepared a fun playlist of Scottish music - here are a few snippets of the drive toward the Highlands.  It was still a little snowy - and don't let the cars on the opposite side of the road bother you!

We stopped to get pictures of some Highland coos - listen to the wind!

We saw a lot of feral goats - but they were not often where we could easily stop to get a picture.  This day we did though.  There were Feral Goats crossing signs too - but our speedy driver was always going to fast to get a picture of one of those.....

Many (many!) of the roads in Scotland are pretty narrow.  There are pull overs all along the way.  If someone is coming and you won't both fit - one car pulls over and the other passes by.  Both drivers do the ever so slight hand up off the wheel wave (is there a name for that?).

Serg was the driver and by trips end had waved to so many other drivers!  There were only a couple of times that one of them had to back up because they had both gone too far for them both to pass.

The pull overs are not always in the right spots - but sometimes there are - and you can hop out for some quick beautiful pictures.

Like this:

and this

We stopped briefly at the Fort William Commando Monument to take some pictures.  From here you could see Ben Nevis in the distance.  Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles.

The 2 pictures above are panoramas - but I am not sure how to get them to show.  I don't know if you click on them if you can then see the entire image or not?

Serg at the actual monument.  It is dedicated to soldiers from WW2.

While he was reading about the monument, Karisa was just down the hill trying to be a sheep whisperer.

Back on the road again - there were some competing goals going on in the car.  Karisa was desperate to see (and photograph a stag).  I wanted to be at Eileen Donan just when the sun would be starting to set.  Serg wanted to be at the bed and breakfast before dark......

 So stopping to get pictures around every bend every 10 minutes wasn't possible.  But there were some perfectly positioned pull offs where we were able to take a picture out the window.....

It was just so lovely - every turn - every change of the sun and clouds.

 And then - just before you hit the Isle of Skye - we spotted the deer - hundreds and hundreds of them.  They were hard to spot in the speckled moors - the little bit of snow cover didn't help.

 Can you spot them?  There really wasn't time to stop to get some close ups - sunset was quickly approaching.

 You can see them a bit better here.  Ris was really wanting a stag picture.  And not just any stag - but one that would look straight at her while she was taking the shot.  But that wasn't going to happen this night.  We got a couple of decent shots out the car window.  And then we just watched the hundreds of deer as we drove on to the Isle.

I am not sure how we fit so much in to one day - I feel like it has taken  a whole day just to upload and then get the pictures on here.  

Day Three included starting in Stirling, the Doune Castle, the Dunblane Cathedral, Queens View, House of Bruar, the monument with Ben Nevis in the background and then the deer and moors.....but our best stop was still to come.  

I will note that in our loose itinerary - I had jotted down that it would be good to "get one or two things done on the island" - it's so hard in planning the unknown!  We hadn't even finished what had to be done that day and the daylight was leaving and we were not even to our destination.

Between the 3 of us we took more pictures at our next (last) stop than we had all the day combined.  So I will stop here with this one and give Eilean Donan her own post!

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