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Thursday, November 24, 2011

On The Road: Durness to Dornoch

After another hardy breakfast (if you love a big delicious breakfast… Scotland is the country for you!) we left for our drive back south.  The wind had died down to its normal brisk self and we had the same rain-no rain-rain pattern. 

Dave didn’t take us down the major roads… we went down the lovely winding single track roads every chance we had. 

I was surprised to see many lenticular clouds over the water.  Usually they form over mountains.  These are the ones that have caused many a UFO sighting!  LOL  I found out after we got home that “These clouds have also been known to form in cases where a mountain does not exist, but rather as the result of shear winds created by a front.”  

That explains it!  They were the result of our gale winds! 

Harvest was in full swing and we saw many fields of hay being baled for winter.

This is a boat house on some small loch.  We saw several buildings with grass roofs in this area.

Never got tired of the beautiful stone dykes.  And I miss seeing them now that we are home.

This is a commercial fish farm. 

One of the things I really, really hoped to see was one of the famous Red Deer stags (think the stag in the Hartford Insurance logo).  

And I did!  

My yells of “Whoa, whoa, whoa!  STOP!!!”  about scared Deane and Dave to death.  (You’d be surprised how fast a van can get stopped!)   
Here’s what I was so excited about!

He never did run.  I got off a lot of shots of him and we drove on with him and his family still browsing in the gorse. 

The next stop was at the lovely “Falls of Shin”.

They are famous because they are a great place to see salmon leaping up heading to their spawning grounds.  We saw several but the only ones I was able to get a picture of were…

…these!  Isn’t that a great mosaic? 

One of our last stops for the day was at Dunrobin castle.  It is one the oldest continually occupied castle in Britain – having been lived in since the early 1300s.  It is owned by the Earl of Sutherland.  It has 189 rooms!!!  Part of the castle is open to the public and part is still lived in by the Countess of Sutherland.   

(See that speck of red in the courtyard between the archway and the clock tower?  That is Himself!) 

No excuses for being late!

I’m standing along the back wall of the castle.  It is 5 tall stories high at this point (and there are some floors below where I’m standing too).

What a lovely view.  That’s the North Sea beyond the gardens.  Farther down the coast we could look back and see the castle from many miles away.

The gardens were perfect.   

From there we headed to another castle.  This one was our lodging for the night!

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