Lots of "adventures" today, including my first ever time driving on the WRONG side! Unfortunately it had to be all by myself, since mrmouse was checking us out of the hotel and staying at the curb with our luggage. I did get stuck on a couple one-way streets so had a bit of navigation with the free city street map in my lap, trying to gauge the width of the car from the other side (if you've never tried that before, it is one of the more difficult things about driving on the other side - Brits who have driven in the States have told me this, too!). I did get back to the hotel successfully, but including the walk & getting lost, we finally left Edinburgh proper about 11am, on the road to Torridon via Inverness.
We had decided to go through Inverness to Torridon to see some different scenery, since our other choice was basically to drive through Ft William, where we'll be in a couple days anyway. We did stop at Blair's Castle, which is a large Scottish house and grounds rather than a castle per se, but we just paid to see the grounds, which included California redwoods in the tree collection in Diana's Garden, plus sunflowers and cattails among other beautiful plantings and large pond in the Hercules Garden. We even got our chance to see some cute shaggy Highland Cows - "Highlan' Coos" I mean! ;)
A Highlan' Coo!
However, my favorite bit was the lady bagpiper in full regalia, kilt and all, who started playing as we were in the gardens, so I dragged mrmouse back to the "castle" and I videotaped her playing for quite awhile - hooray! I would love to learn to play the bagpipes someday!
Lady piper at Blair's Castle
Finally leaving Blair's Castle around 1:30, we saw the "welcome to the Highlands" sign around 2:30, stopping for a couple photos a bit after, then making it to Inverness by around 3:30ish. We stopped at a Tourist Information Centre to ask the whereabouts of a Tesco or other large grocery store, since we will need provisions for longer hikes. Voila - there's a 24-hr Tesco at Dingwall, outside Inverness! We didn't go today, since we didn't think we'd need provisions until Ben Nevis, and since we're planning on driving down alongside Loch Ness, we can hit the Dingwall Tesco on the way.
Torridon is absolutely beautiful, and the only photos we have really so far are videotape through the very dirty car windows! We are pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, driving down a single lane road for 10 miles through Glen Torridon to even get to the village, then our lodge is another mile around Loch Torridon in Annat. We had time for a little stroll as the light was fading, then dinner at the lodge restaurant which was delicious, and now an early night for an early start in the morning to appreciate the beautiful surroundings as much as possible. Unfortunately, there is no phone in our room, so not even dialup, since we don't feel like paying £1/30 minutes at the one computer next to the reception desk, especially since we'd have to retype this all into LiveJournal...so you'll have to wait for these updates until we get a real chance to log in... ;)
Until next time!