Tuesday, May 28
We spent a little time Tuesday exploring Inverness. We visited one of the Edinburgh Woolen Mill shops for souvenirs. They sell tester bottles of many different brands of Scotch so I stocked up for a taste tests when we returned home. (It’s been interesting comparing all the different types and flavor profiles from the different distilleries.) They also made some good treats to bring back to friends and family.
We packed up and took a scenic drive to Fort William and Stirling. We followed the A82 which runs southwest along Loch Ness and Loch Lochy and then, about halfway along Loch Linnhe, turns southeast towards Stirling.
We passed pretty rolling hills that reminded me of Oregon,
And saw a couple of Highland cows in situ.
We visited the West Highland Museum in Fort William to see their collection of Jacobite relics. The highlight was the secret portrait of Charles Stuart. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746, it was treason to show any support for the Jacobite leader. The anamorphic portrait was painted as an unrecognizable distorted shape on a tray
which resolved itself into Bonnie Prince Charlie’s likeness when reflected onto a silver cylinder.
From the West Highland Museum’s website: …the loyal friends of Prince Charles would place the tray on the table and raise their glasses in a toast to his likeness reflected in the cylinder (or in a goblet of claret). If there was a danger of interruption and discovery, the device could quickly be dismantled and the tray would appear as a meaningless blur, or be replaced by a similar decoy tray.
They also had an embroidered waistcoat worn by Prince Charles,
and even a lock of his hair.
As we turned southeast the weather turned cloudy and rainy. This could have been eastern Oregon.
Rannoch Moor was beautiful but desolate.
Between the damp and cold wind in the winter and the clouds of midges in the summer, this would be a hard place to live. I read a thread about advice on dealing with midges. One local recommended “[bug spray], midge hoods, rum and bad language.”
We reached Stirling, checked into our B&B and walked up the hill to see Stirling Castle. This is the castle from the Wallace Monument located on nearby Abbey Craig.
The castle is surrounded on three sides by cliffs. The views were once strategically important but today we can appreciate their esthetic value.
We strolled around the Old Town Cemetery between the castle and the Church of the Holy Rude (derived from the Old English “rood” or Scots “ruid” meaning cross).
The oldest headstone is from 1579. Many of the older stones have symbols of the trades of the deceased: a backwards 4 for a merchant,
wheat and peels for bakers,
and compasses for masons.
We walked around the courtyard of the castle. This is the gate of Stirling Castle with a tiny walkthrough door.
We had a late dinner at an Indian restaurant and then headed back to our B&B.