The weather was superb for day twenty-seven of our trip, what a difference a bit of blue sky and sunshine makes (especially for the pictures). We made full use of our Historic Scotland membership today too, saving quite some cash on the three of their properties we visited.
Photo of the day
Rolling fields of golden wheat in the late afternoon Scottish sunlight.
Our first Historic Scotland visit of the day at the 12th century Elgin Cathedral. Some great exhibitions in the towers, quite a labyrinth of passageways up steep stone stairs.
Looking down on part of the remains from the lookout at the top of Spynie Palace.
Yay, more lighthouses today, starting at Covesea Skerries Lighthouse, just west of Lossiemouth.
Good timing, we were just getting hungry when we spotted Baxters visitors centre on the map!
A mug of Baxters soup for lunch, despite it being a lovely day (not really soup weather really), we had to try the local delicacy.
The Mannie statue of a fisherman by Correna Cowie….
… keeping careful watch over Findochty Harbour.
Views west over the rugged coastline from Portknockie.
Canoeists dwarfed by Bow Fiddle Rock, which looked more like an elephants head if you ask us.
Hundreds of seagulls picking between the pebbles on Cullen Beach.
The quiet harbour at Portsoy, apparently often used for filming and commercials.
A jumping dolphin sculpture by the artist Carn Standing in the harbour.
The impressive Duff House at Banff. Again we seemed to pick a good time to visit. We were the only visitors this afternoon, so we had the helpful Historic Scotland guides all to ourselves.
Just a little taste of the restored interiors. Actually there was a fab Picasso on display (Les Soles, 1940), but sadly no pictures allowed (other than personal use), so Google it 😉
The views over the golden fields near Silverford (along the B9031), breathtaking in the late afternoon sunlight.
So we ended up taking just a ‘few’ pictures, here are a selection…
The locales enjoying the fresh hay bales.
And a solitary wind turbine, nature and technology in harmony.
The tiny fishing village of Crovie clinging to the waters edge. No space for cars, just a small access path along the front.
Then just a little further along at Pennan, we could make it down the tiny coastal lane into the village, just.
No back gardens, so everything happens on the seafront….
..including hanging out the washing.
The phone box made famous by the film ‘Local Hero’ (staring Burt Lancaster), actually we haven’t seen the film.. but will do now.
Another dove house, we seem to be making a habit of this.
Two lighthouses at Fraserburgh’s Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, one old and one new.
And a collection of disused brightly painted Buoys.
Our final stop of the day, as we tried to get closer to Rattray Head to view the lighthouse. However, the track became increasingly narrow and bumpy and we weren’t sure if we were now on someone’s private drive. So we took some photos, somehow managed a U turn in the tightest of spaces, then continued our drive down to Aberdeen.
A day full of contrasts as we drove south from Invergordon to Elgin, again a beautiful coastline, but dotted with off-shore oil & gas rigs. We would have loved to have seen the coastline prior to the North Sea oil & gas finds, but appreciate it also greatly supports the locally economy (clearly evident).
Photo of the day
The local birdlife taking advantage of the freshly mown fields near Boath Doocot.
A typical sight along this coastline, oil and gas rigs, set against the rolling Scottish coastline and countryside.
Storehouse of Foulis
Synchronising watches old school style at the busy Storehouse of Foulis. A local museum, shop and restaurant (busy for breakfast).
The Cromarty Lighthouse, no longer working, and now used by the University of Aberdean as a field station for the University’s School of Biological Science.
And as we walked around the quaint little streets of Cromarty, we came across this bush full of life with tens of butterflies…
…and busy bees.
Hugh Miller’s Cottage, the birthplace of the Scott famous for his early geology, writing and social justice. The cottage, museum and garden is maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. It was very quiet, we seemed to be the only visitors this morning.
Pottering around the Cromarty streets.
The view over Cromarty Firth, again such a contrast from the idyllic Cromarty.
How cool is this?! Never seen one of these before, an egg vending machine on road side. Looked a bit like Febo – the Dutch will understand ;-).
Pop your money in, and pick-up some fresh eggs.
Heading over to the Moray Firth, and crossing yet another golf course, we arrived at Chanonry Point. Seemed to be super busy for a lighthouse. Then we realised that everyone was waiting to spot Bottlenose Dolphins, and sure enough they turned-up, check-out the video at the bottom of the blog. One of the best viewing places in the world!
The remains of Fortrose Cathedral, at its peak, twenty-one Canons and five vicars served here.
The chapter house at Fortrose Cathedral, the only section that was still in one piece.
Inverness was a bit of a surprise to us, on the map it looks so remote, but when we arrived we could have been in any decent sized bustling British market town. Julian got a haircut, then we had a quick look at the castle. We stocked up on socks (35 days on the road requires a lot of socks!) and sunglasses for Julian, replacing a pair lost somewhere in the highlands (yay – no more squinting in selfies). We contemplated heading inland to go Loch Ness Monster spotting, but then decided to not get distracted and keep to the coastline…
A drawbridge at the huge Fort George. Unfortunately we arrived just before closing, and as it is still a working army base they were strict on closing times, so we made do with our own tour around the perimeter grounds.
So many walls!
Looking back over the Morray Firth to the crowds gathered at Chanory Point, on the lookout for Bottlenose Dolphins.
To be honest, not the most interesting thing, but along our route to Elgin so we made a quick stop. A dove house atop a 12th century castle (now just a mound).
But great views over the fields south of Nairn.