A road trip through Northern Scotland
I am still traveling with my husband in Northern Scotland. This blog tells you about our drive from Bettyhill to Fortrose. (Zum deutschen Blog.)
Unfortunately, the dry weather does not hold, it is raining lightly as we get into our car. We decide to look at the small museum in Bettyhill, which is housed in a former church. It shows vividly how the poor people were cheated off their meager plots by the rich landowners and why so many people from here emigrated.
The area here becomes flatter and flatter. Now we see again cattle, especially the cuddly Galloways. In our full rain gear we start walking from the small parking lot to the lighthouse of Strathy Point. The walk takes about 15 minutes and winds through several sheep pastures. The lambs look at us curiously, but their mothers do not let them approach us.
We have a great view from the headland at the lighthouse. The water is seething among us, the wind is whistling around our ears, but neither the seabirds nor us are being disturbed by that. After all, it does not trickle any more from above.
The Northernmost Point
From here we drive along the coast to the next lighthouse, Dunnet Head. The landscape is quite monotonous, but the cloud formations are quite dramatic. Before the sky falls on our heads again, we shoot some photos of this lighthouse that stands high above the sea, and the many seabirds that have their nests in the cliffs.
In the afternoon we visit Queen Mums Summer Residency, the Castle of Mey. It is located in a beautiful garden. I am very curious to see how the English Royal Family has lived here. A bit disappointed I am already, the rooms are very small, partly quite simply furnished. I imagined this more pompously, but the staff tells us in almost every room an anecdote about the royal life. They are just people like you and me after all.
Just before 6pm we reach our today’s B & B, the Hawthorns. Again we get an exceptionally nice welcome and taken to an awesome room, which is even handicapped accessible. At Castle Arms Hotel we eat very well and look forward to tomorrow.
Real Scotland weather awaits us the next morning. Mist, drizzle and low temperatures. It is good that we are used to this weather from northern Germany.
Heading back South
We start quite hesitantly, because we chatter with some other guests. It is a lot of fun to exchange the travelling routes and experiences with other Scotland tourists and, of course, the hosts.
Actually, we would like to walk to Duncansby Head Lighthouse in John o’Groats, but the wind here is blowing so strong at the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland that the heavy rain almost pounds horizontally on our car. I love Scotland, but still more, if there is no continuous rain …
Our route takes us back to the south. Today is another long drive ahead of us, the final destination is Fortrose, very near Inverness.
There are a few more or less dilapidated castles on the way, but mostly we just pass by. Too little is left and the rain is too strong.
At the Bettyhill hotel we tasted a delicious whiskey the day before yesterday and found out that the Pulteney distillery is right on our way, namely in Wick. We even find a parking right in front of the entrance and hope we can join a guided tour through the production halls. Unfortunately, that’s just started. As a consolation, one of the very friendly ladies lets us taste the whiskey liqueur. Hmm it is delicious! I would like to buy it, as it fits well as “decoration” on top of an ice cream.
Unfortunately, they currently do not produce it and all the stocks are sold. Big disappointment for me! So the lady calls a local sales point and there, a last bottle is available. This is reserved for me and so we go there quickly. That’s what I call a great service!
Despite the rain we are still making a detour to the Noss Head Lighthouse. It is so stormy that I do not even get off to take a picture. Also at the Sinclair Girnigoe Castle we take no closer look, much has not survived anyway.
So further south we drive. In the early afternoon, just in time to have a cup of tea and a delicious scone, we arrive at Dunrobin Castle.
It really looks a bit like a bewitched fairy-tale castle, with a beautifully landscaped garden and a falconry. We’ll see an impressive flight show with birds of prey and then take a tour of the castle. Here is much more to see than in the Castle of Mey, but it is also much bigger.
We continue at the Nigg Ferry Terminal, we want to shorten the trip and take a small ferry across the Cromarty Firth. Actually, it commute every 30 minutes, so we wait. Unfortunately nothing happens. I try my mobile phone and find out that the ferry is on Facebook. I leave a short question there, if there is still a ferry coming today.
Actually, I get a quick reply. Because of the strong wind, all trips are canceled today, as a local one probably knows this. I thank them for the quick response and now we have to go the long way around the Firth to Fortrose.
Here we arrive punctually around 6 pm. We get a very warmly welcome by Gill and Bill at the B & B Water’s Edge, will it be as good as 9 years ago, when we have been here before?
You’ll find it in my next blog post, the last one to our trip through Northern Scotland, then it’s about Inverness and Edinburgh.