The travels continue in the UK travel blog

Newton Hotel Nairn

Dancers waiting their turn

dancer & piper

lower levels of drive:

Pipe bands as we passed through a village

Ski lifts powered by one wind turbine

a camouflaged mountain?

winding road in mountains

narrow bridges

babbling burn Braemar

Our stop for the night was in Nairn as we had had difficulty getting accommodation for 3 in Inverness. Fortuitesly we ended up with this ‘castle’, the original section built in 1500’s then renovated and added to over the centuries.

Jennie and Alyssa went to the beach (and it was a beach, with white sand)and did their sandcastle and paddling bit wile I vegged out. Not only was the building a bit special but so were the staff. One little example of this; one suggested we watch from the corridor near the door of a room where a tour bus group was getting a show of Scottish music and dance: accordion; bagpipes and dancing. Bit hard to get photos!

We've heard a lot of Scottish music on the way. Not just the pipers at various stops, but we've had a CD playing in the car. Really well known songs and dance tunes so we jigged or sang or hummed a long to "a Scottish Soldier' "Coming through the Rye" "loch Lomond" and 22 others. It all reminded me of Uncle Bill, a Scotsman who married a Great Aunt. the played drums in a pipe band but was also a whizz on the button accordion. I remembered at least one occasion when he had a group of great nieces (maybe some nephews) on his back lawn and put us through our paces, learning Scottish folk dances.

Next morning it was off to Edinburgh via Braemar. not for the Royal connection, but because Jennie suggested it would be a very scenic drive. It was.

Perth wasn't a deliberate choice, it just happened to be on the route!

As often happened, there was a surprise. We came upon a small village with traffic backed up the road. As we stopped we could hear pipes and drums. We were going to park and get out, but the music stopped and when we passed the spot as traffic moved on, we could see disbanding groups of kilted musicians. It would have been an even better surprise if we'd come upon it sooner and got to hear more of the music!

Ski lifts reminded us that tourists had reason to come here in winter! But even in summer there were people using the lifts as well as many hikers walking to the hill top to see the views.

I had been hoping that there would be heather flowering when we got to Scotland, but we have been too late, with most heather now brown, and only small patches of purple. At these higher levels there was more heather but still in patches. most of the still flowering heather seemed to be smaller newer bushes, growing in patches that looked as if they'd been cleared of bracken, the end result was this camouflaged looking scenery (look carefully for the heather! Its there, I wasn't dreaming)

Our route took us on the highest road in the UK. The road was always winding and a bit narrow.

WE had lunch at Braemar, again this also just happened to be on our route. No royalty around. But some nice spots. We did a little shopping. Alyssa has a post card list for friends, so at each stop she buys a few. And as always we teste3de the coffee. The water in Scotland is so good that the coffee gets a head start here. For the second time, so that Alyssa has a choice at coffee time, we've introduced Babychino to the locals. I wonder that little recipe started?

Probably should mention that the weather was again fine. hoping it will keep up for a stopover in Edinburgh

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