Friday, September 23rd sunny
After leaving Perth via Scone Palace and Glamis Castle, we drove to Inverness via Braemore and Balmoral Castle (closed because the Queen was in residence). The roads were narrower and the scenery got more and more beautiful as we entered the highlands. We had to stop twice, once for 2 sheep crossing the road and once for a large black cow eating at the side of the road.
We found our B&B on Ness Rd, across the street form the Ness river. Our room is pretty small tho! Just a bed, TV, ensuite, no extras. But we are just off the main street and had just a block to walk to dinner at a neighborhood pub. Had a pint and a good meal. Walked around downtown but everything is closed except the pub and they are filled with young people. So we are back to our room at 9 and watching good old British TV.
Saturday, September 24th Sunny
Today we were off to Urquhart Castle . Brian was very excited to see the castle. The short film at the beginning of the tour explained the history of the castle. It is believed that St. Columba travelled to this spot in the first century AD to spread christianity to a Pict, named Emchath who lived on Loch Ness in Glen Urquhart but the earliest record of a castle at Urquhart is in the 13th C.when the lordship of Urquhart was granted to Alan Durward. When he died with no male heir, the castle was granted to John Comyn but it fell into English hands in the late 13th C. When Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots at Scone in 1306, he took the castle and granted the lordship to his nephew, Sir Thomas Randolph. The MacDonald clan seized the castle in the 15th and 16th C. For the next 150 years the castle was passed back and forth until 1479 when it fell into disrepair. When the MacDonalds withdrew from the area in 1476 George Gordon became the lord of Urquhart and leased the castle to Sir Duncan Grant of Freuchie and in 1509, his grandson, John Grant started to rebuild it when the MacDonalds returned to capture the castle and looted and plundered the area until 1545. The Grants were able to make some repairs at that time. However as time went on, the castle became a less strategic military garrison and was partially blown up by the last garrison to occupy it in 1692. The castle was never repaired. At the end of the movie, the curtain was raised revealing a magnificent panoramic view of the actual castle as it now stands. It was actually very moving. We then toured the ruins climbing each and every stairway and looked out every window opening. Took many pictures. Brian took some stones from the castle and I took some from Loch Ness.