17 November, 2009


This weekend I went with my friend from CU and Celtic class, Lindsey Stirling, to visit her family and the sights in Inverness! It was truly a blast and I'm so thankful to have been so well looked-after by Lindsey and her family!

We took the crowded Friday evening train to Inverness, where her parents collected us and fed us and put us to bed. The mattress in the loft was paradise compared to the Hillhead mattress, and I slept like a baby!

Next day (Saturday), we rose early (for college students, okay?) to visit Culloden Battlefield! I have been an amateur historian-fan of the Jacobite Wars for a long time, and this was a special experience (a wee guide for those unfamiliar with the battle here http://www.britishbattles.com/battle_of_culloden.htm). Considering the tragedies that occurred there in 1746, I look way too happy in the pictures. That would be the geek side of me just being excited that I was there. (I smiled at Lexington, MASS, too.) I did have my quiet moment of respect for those that fought and died there, too, but you just can't photograph that sort of thing.

Unfortunately the museum doesn't allow photography, so most of my pictures are from the battlefield itself and the cairns and monuments erected there in the nineteenth century. I did however, try to sneak a pic of a brace of pistols engraved with "Murdoch"--since that's a family clan name. My illicit efforts were not rewarded, as the pictures did not really turn out.

A few minutes drive from Culloden we visited the Clava Cairns. This was honestly the most beautiful area I have seen so far in Scotland, and it was such a surprise. The pictures hardly do it justice (there are some better ones here: http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/inverness/clavacairns/ but still, really, nothing like being there), but I tried. Just the combination of the gnarly trees, the orange leaves of autumn, the moss-covered rocks, the pagan mystery, the standing stones, the mist--gorgeous! The surprise favorite of the trip!

We turned out to be too ambitious in our planning and had to save Urquhart Castle (pronounced, basically, like "irk" + "heart"--just omit the second U) for the next day, but I was rewarded with a hillwalk around the shores of Loch Ness with Lindsey's family and dog. The country they took me through was beautiful, and by the time we got back to the Loch the water was perfectly still (Nessie's nap time?) which made for some great pictures.

After a wonderful supper ("tea" is what they actually call the evening meal) prepared by Lindsey's mother, we gathered in the family room to play a game of LotR Risk! I had never played this version, but I've always been keen on World Domination, and despite being the red "orc" team, I felt no remorse when Lindsey and I won! The victory is documented!

The next day we went to Lindsey's lovely church, and afterwards took a packed lunch to Urquhart Castle! (http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/drumnadrochit/urquhart/) My camera pooped out about halfway through the visit, but I will get pictures from Lindsey when we get around to sharing photos. Built in the 13th century on the site of an old fort visited by St. Columba in the 6th century, and blown up as testament to Scotland's inclination towards scorched earth tactics in the 17th.

The ruins were beautiful, and Sunday was a much brighter, prettier day, so the visit to Urquhart Castle was a success. Lindsey has a great eye for photography, so I'll post her pictures when I get a hold of them: we visited every nook and cranny of the ruins and photographed each other in them. It was a lot of fun. There's also a trebuchet outside the castle walls, allegedly built by some American medieval history students.

We took the train back Monday morning, and I arrived back thoroughly pleased with my visit. It was great having not only a local but a local with a car and a heart of gold showing me around the place.

I returned to an empty kitchen but Lynne totally rescued me, cooking up a batch of tacos and macaroni and cheese, and I was so glad that the taking-care of Megan was continuing I stayed at her flat all day and we watched movies. A perfect lazy end to a wonderful trip!

Now it's really back to the daily grind, probably until Christmas. I want to get studying done early, but besides that I'm staring down the barrel of three papers and a presentation. Wouldn't have fazed me before, but either I'm getting lazy or I just want more time to explore!

Hope this rather more entertaining post finds all of you in the best of health and happiness! Love!


Anonymous said...

Go Lord of the Rings!!! Glad you had loads of fun!! Maybe we can talk again this weekend? (it's looking less busy than usual...) Love! ---Bethany

Anonymous said...

Way to go, girlie!!! You suck up as much of that there Englishification as you can before you return to us Yanks....


Anonymous said...

update yo blog woman! --Bethany