Only one night in Aberdeen, but saw some of the lovely old grey granite buildings, and the memorial to the Gordon Highlanders and had a wee break from driving!.
The next day we went north and viewed Huntly Castle, home of the Gordon Clan - a ruin but with many signs of its former glory. The Castle is part o the modern community with Saturday sport for the kids going on in the grounds - good to see.
Then on to the Moray coast where we stayed at MacDuff (just near Banff) - a seaside fishing village. We visited Moray coast fishing villages, including Pennan (major location for the 1983 cult movie Local Hero, we found the phone box featured in the film); Gardenstown, where we found St John's Kirk, built in the 8th or 9th century to commemorate a victory by the local villagers over Danish raiders; and Portsoy, famous for its icecream (& very nice it was.)
This whole area was home to many Clan Anderson/MacAndrew families and we found many reminders in the old churchyards we visited.
Later viewed Elgin Cathedral, burned in 1290 by the Wolf of Baddenoch, it is huge, and still has some amazing stone carvings. This was the centre of the Church in the North and it showed in its grandure.
We spent a few days in North Kessock, just over the bridge from Inverness, at the mouth of the River Ness. It has a beautiful view looking back to the city, with a little boat ramp, houses, birds working on the water, very relaxing. In Inverness town we revisited some of the places Graham knew from his visit here in 2000; then walked Culloden battlefield, a very sobering place. Lovely to see that people still leave flowers at the stones marking Clan graves. Later went to Fort George, an enormously imposing statement of military might.
Something different in this vicinity was Clava Cairns - amazing piles of rocks and standing stones from 4000 years ago.
We also drove around the Black Isle, and did a day trip by bus to the little seaside town of Ullapool, the furthest north we go - a welcome break from driving for Graham. Had a lovely ploughman's lunch after walking up Ullapool Hill for the fantastic view. This was the base for the World War II Arctic Convoys and reminders of those were around the town.
Then off down the Great Glen and its wonderful scenery (past Loch Ness but no sign of Nessie) to stay at Morar. We walked down to a little beach there, its clear why they talk about the "silver sands of Morar", the sand really was silvery.
We've done heaps of other things, too many to mention. Weather has been lovely, a lot of sun and very warm, and we've been lucky that we just seem to turn up when things are about to happen, like locks working on canals to lift boats (Fort Augustus) and old steam trains going through stations just as we arrive (Glenfinnan).
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