Good Directions

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Inverness was a nice place stay apart from the bathroom in our loft guestroom. David and Rick were tall enough to regularly hit their heads on the sloped roof. Rising early we wandered around town and did a little bit of shopping before heading on. David had read that the MacKenzie Clan also previously owned a castle in Strathpeffer, not far from Inverness. As we'd already seen Eilean Donan Castle, a previous MacKenzie haunt, we figured we'd check this one out too.

Arriving in Strathpeffer we found out the town is known for its thermal springs, a lot like Bath in England. It seemed to be kept pretty quiet though as we read nothing about it in any tourist brochures we'd picked up along the way. It must be a local secret. Castle McLeod is a private estate only opened a few times each year. We drove up the public drive way, took some photos and then headed into town. Wanting to get a better view of the castle we pulled over and asked a local for directions. He gave us very detailed and long winded directions in a thick Scottish accent and, due to our different accent, thought we were all from Glasgow! We followed his directions - left, right, left, past the phone box in the middle of nowhere, left, right again, down the dip, past the rusting farm machinery, up the rough bit then there we were in a little car park. From here we had a great view of the town of Strathpeffer and the Leod Castle. Also to our right were the grassed over ruins of an old Iron Age fort.

After we'd wandered around for a bit we deicded to head for Fort George, a fort built to suppress the Scots after the Jacobite uprising. Not wanting to go inside we grabbed a quick, very average, lunch at a bakery in Nairn then drove onwards to Cawdor Castle. Pulling into the car park the car started make splurting sounds, like it was dying. It also gave off a burning smell. We looked under the bonnet but couldn't see anything wrong. Maybe it needed to cool down or maybe it was some dodgy diesel fuel we'd just bought down the road? Who knows.

Purchasing a ticket to see the gardens we wandered in. The colors of the flowers were great. We couldn't go inside the hedge maze (strange that you'd grow and maintain a hedge maze that no one is allowed to go into). Walking back through the old forest was fun but as it was getting late we figured we'd better move on and head for the hostel in Aberdeen.
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