We travelled north fromEdinburgh to Invergordon, which is about 200 miles from Edinburgh. We toured Cawdor Castle. This is the castle that William Shakespeare wrote about in Hamlet [the actual Hamlet castle is somewhere else]. Much of this was built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Now the dowager countess lives there in the winter and opens it as a tourist attraction in the summer [very reasonable way to pay the upkeep on a castle with large gardens]. It was very delightful to tour the place, unlike many places, this is full of personal touches, which makes it that much more genuine feeling.
We left Cawdor and drove through the last battle grounds on British territory [Colloden??]. This was such a waste of life and in the aftermath of the battle the victorious British colonel, told his men to go look for Jacobites and do whatever they liked. about 1700 soldiers were killed in the [very short] battle, then about 3000 civilians were killed over the next 3 days! They reassigned the Colonel to a really remote outpost to get him out of public eye.
We drove through the city of Inverness, a picturesque little town.
last night we travelled further north in the Orkney's to Kirkwall. today we visited a Pict village [Skara Brae] from about 5000 years ago. It was amazing to see the state of the technology from that time, they built into the ground, had multiple with cooking and sleeping accommodations [even rudimentary flush toilets]. They figured out how to keep fish inside the house until they were ready to eat them and had a workshop for making pottery, arrow heads and tools]. This was all before the great Pyramids of Giza were built.
On the way back we stopped at the Ring of Brodgar, this looked a lot like a variation of Stone Henge and was also built about 5000 years ago. There are lots of archaeologic excavations going on around the area and you can see burial mounds and marker stones from ancient times.
The Orkneys ad a lot of Norse influence and still today, there is a very close tie between these people and the Norse and Danes.
Kirkwall is the largest town in the Orkney Islands, it is a nice little place to visit.
The people here are great! The other day I was walking back from the Edinburgh Castle and just stopped at a pub, sat outside and talked to some of the local people, wonderful. The only problem I've encountered is the language, 2 people separated by variants of English! The first night we were tired and wanted something quick and easy. We went to the pub near the hotel. The place was a little noisy, but the waitress' accent was hard for me to understand. So between the noise and the accent, I kept asking her to repeat answers to my questions [pretty sure she thought I was either deaf or retarded!].
Everywhere we've gone, the people show up with bag pipes. the other morning we were sleeping in and the bag pipes came blasting up from the pier! I must say that I am just about reaching my limit for bag pipes! There is one exception, as I was walking back from the Royal mile [Edinburgh castle to the palace], I walked through the gardens. There were 3 guys in their 20s playing outside for tips. By the time I arrived, there was a large crowd. There was a drummer, a guitar player and a piper - playing rock music! They had a really good sound, so that might be the way that I could come to appreciate the bag pipes!
I am trying to get some pictures attached to teh messgaes [having some technical difficulties].
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and kind notes.
Take care ...