Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Craig na dun, Ardsmuir, Edradour, Lallybroch, Edinburgh Castle


May 21: Well, the morning after dawned on the six of us, who may or may not still be slightly drunk. After an elaborate breakfast, we packed up the van and took group pictures in front of the castle. What a night-even though somewhat blurry, it's one we won't be forgetting anytime soon.








Clava Cairns was eerie. You see these rock mounds that are thousands of years old, and were designed to coincide with the winter solstice-more accurately than modern technology too. All us girls got a picture "going through" the stones before we went off to our next destination....
Ardsmuir, or Ruthven Barracks in real life, like so many other structures we've seen so far, had no roof. If you had no roof, you paid no taxes. Guarding the "prison" were two Highland Cows (pronounced hee-lan coo). Very docile animals, in fact-one was eating while lying down. It's fairly close to what we all were feeling. But, we marched on...back to Pitlochry.
Our first stop-Edradour Distillery, the smallest one in Scotland. We'd already heard of it at our whisky tasting back in February though. The tour was 40 minutes long but felt like hours in the warm sunny weather. A quick stop through the gift shop and I acquired two bottles of single malt (Bowmore and Bruichladdich-both 19 years) to take home.
We hiked back on a beautiful trail to our B&B (Gerry and Janice again) and changed clothes for dinner. All of us are exhausted, and settled for the first place we came to. Dinner and ales consumed, we headed back to the B&B for showers, naps, and emails. Scot entertained us with more stories before bed. I have no idea what time I fell asleep, but it was after 11 pm-still light out by the way.
May 22: Our "Lallybroch" was a private estate built in the early 1600s-1720s. Because it was a private home, we weren't able to take pictures. It's really close to Diana Gabaldon's description. The church on the estate was built in the 1500s, and they still have services occasionally. There were memorials inside, and some of their family way back fought with Robert the Bruce.

We ate lunch in a cafe in Edinburgh, then dropped off our luggage at our respective B&B's (each "couple" stayed at a different one). Erin and Scott came to get us when they got settled in, and we all walked to the castle. I was a little underwhelmed-in my mind I'd pictured the interior restored to what it would've looked like in it's hayday. It was still beautiful. We all paid money for those stupid headsets that we ended up not using much. Oh well. Lots of pictures were taken and souvenirs bought. My favorite part was the Cavalry room (of course it would be horse related).
Dinner was frozen pizza and a wonderful ale (Caledonia) at Ensign Ewart pub. Great place-we went there a lot while in Edinburgh. We had a few drinks, and stopped off at the Hard Rock Cafe for t-shirts for the kids and us. Erin hadn't been feeling well all day, so we split up to go home. On our way back, we ran into Jenn and Brenda who were sitting outside a pub having drinks. Never one to pass on good company and alcohol, we sat down to join them. At this point in the tour, it's hard to believe we'll be going home soon, and may never see these two in person again-a bittersweet thought.

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