As it turns out, Scotland was once inhabited by only giants and witches (or "wetches" in Glaswegian...), and the witches were annoyed by the giants always crushing them to death. So the witches turn all the giants into mountains, and lost all their powers becoming humans. Which kind of explains why the Scots are such weirdos - they're actually Squibs. Anyway - it was worth it, because I have never seen anything like the Scottish mountains. I've never seen mountains bigger than, say, Mt Tremblant in Quebec, so seeing these massive formations was truly breathtaking. They're tremendous rock formations, all of them with some kind of waterfall or creek running down them. The rocks are covered in long, shaggy, unbelievably green grass that actually makes the whole mountain look soft and beautifully rolling. So much of the country we drove through was completely barren of any kind of settlement. It was truly wild and gorgeous.
Some shots from my seat on the bus
|Ruins of Urquhart|
|Loch Ness and the highland mountains.|
From the castle, we went to a sweet B&B/farm also right on the edge of Loch Ness. It was run by a lovely English woman who raised horses and highland cows, mostly to keep the grass nice an trim. The B&B was at an old pier that poked out on old stone over the lake. It was a warm day, so standing on the pier was a perfectly comfortable viewing point of Loch Ness stretching out around the property.
It was so cool to be at the farm. We had full run of the place, so Holly and I went hunting for the hilarious highland cows. I have a soft spot for cows - actually I love them. I love big animals of all kinds, and cows are so hilarious I can't help but love hanging out with them. Even more hilarious than the dairy cows of Ontario I'm used to are the highland cattle of Scotland. They are huge and lumbering as cows are, but at the same time they are woolly and super hairy - the rock stars of the cow world.
|The elusive highland cow.|
We found this one trying to disguise itself behind a bush, but we weren't taking no for an answer and decided to go make some bovine friends. It was a bit of an adventure through the mud and cow pies, across the stream (Holly stone-stepped, I took off my socks and shoes and walked right through it). We were a bit nervous about the horns on them, but like I said, cows are awesome. They just sort of lay there while we goofed around.
|Making new friends.|
We wandered from the farm into the little town of Fort Augustus with about an hour to kill. We found a pub beside the lift locks called the Lock Inn, so we decided to take another Scottish leap: haggis. There were seven of us and we had ordered one plate to share. I'm not sure how the others felt, but I'm virtually fearless about food so I couldn't wait to dig into it. It came in two round slices garnished by berries in a whiskey mustard sauce that was perfect. Personally, I loved it and probably could have eaten the whole plate myself! It definitely will not be my last time having some while I'm here. Delicious!!!
*** Some blog updates: Scroll down to the very bottom of this blog and see a slideshow of my entire photo album. On the sidebar you can visit my online photo album and browse all of my pictures from the trip.