Archive for September, 2015

Scotland 2015 #10 – assorted pics


Lynn & Dave – proprieters: Garden Arms Hotel, Gardenstown


Relaxing at Pennan, of “Local Hero” fame


Gamrie Bay, Gardenstown


narrow parking – Main St, Gardenstown. ours is second along



yet another big, fluffy Scottish cow😀


Scotland 2015 #9 – sleep-in, Culloden Battlefield, so-so Scottish KFC

It’s 9 am and knowing that our car needed to moved from the narrow lane way it’s been parked in, adjacent to our Cranna-by-the-Sea unit (a lorry needs to come through this morning), Dale and I have headed off to the cafe and wifi at Fraserburgh’s ASDA store. Gorgeous sunshine as Iook out.

 That’s today. Yesterday, I slept in – yes, until after 8 am. For me, unbelievable. Dale did well too. The plan had been to have a quiet, curl-up-and-read-that-book day, but seeing beautiful sunshine greeted us as we woke, we changed plans and a day early, we drove two hours west back toward Inverness, to the Culloden Battlefield.

 “On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) fought loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands”.

This marked the end of the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 (“the 45”). 

Let’s be clear, I am a pacifist and abhor war. Yet there was something truly significant for me in the Battle of Culloden. European and world history could well have changed if the Jacobites had won at Culloden, particularly the likelihood of France’s rise to world domination.

Sadly, 1500 Jacobite soldiers lost their lives on the moors we walked yesterday, including at least one MacGregor. It led to the “pacification” of the Highlands, with alongside the senseless and abhorrent killing and pillaging post-Culloden, the banning of the wearing of kilts, tartans and playing of bagpipes. The clan system was dismantled. Sobering stuff.

The NTS centre at Culloden proved an excellently informative one, but the highlight was the excellent 45 minute tour on the actual field. Our tour guide was superb, as we respectfully traversed this mass war grave. I found it overwhelming at times. The Battle of Culloden was the last ground battle fought on British soil.

I’m reminded that post-Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie fled, many months later and after much time in hiding and disguise ended up at the west coast Hebrides. The classic Scottish Skye Boat Song is all about that.

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry

Carrying the lad that’s born to be king

Over the sea to Skye

Really appreciated visiting this site. A plus was our running into Dan (from California USA) one of our fellow guests at Iona.

We’re done by about 3 pm at Culloden, so we head back to Gardenstown, stopping twice on the way. First stop – a huge Tesco extra store at Elgin; Dale to shop, me to sit down with a coffee and get my Optus voice mail retrieval to work. Success.

Then, as planned (one can only have so much Scottish food, you know) we stopped at the nearby KFC for dinner. Sadly – perhaps it was our early (5pm) arrival but the chicken etc was not KFC at its best. It was OK, but 6/10 I say.

We get back to Gardenstown around 7 pm, quite tired after much driving. Beautiful sunsets greeted us much of the drive back, harvested grain fields resplendent in the setting sun. 

Nothing however beats the sunset views from our unit, looking toward the headland at Gardenstown around Gamrie Bay.

Just one more full day left after today, at this so-scenic part of Scotland. Come Thursday morning, we take the 4 hour+ drive back to the Glasgow Airport Ramada, before the long flights home come Friday afternoon. 

Won’t quite match the spectacle of such amazing Scottish countryside- Hebrides, Highlands & Aberdeenshire, but seeing I’ll still be on leave, I keenly anticipate the Broncos-Cowboys GF on Sunday evening! My tip – Broncos. (Biased? Absolutely !)

Cheers from the ASDA 😀

Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


Scotland 2015 #8 – beautiful day in/around Gardenstown

We woke this morning each of us having had a good night’s sleep. We were greeted with a beautiful sunny autumn day. After a leisurely breakfast, finishing our clothes washing and finally sorting out how to best lock the place, we set off on a lengthy walk. Remember – apart from down on the waterfront, any walking here involves steep hillside roads – up and down.


We are so close to Pennan, of “Local Hero” movie fame, so a few hours of walking later we head there, to this tiny one-street hamlet at the foot of a long cliff. Narrow, winding and treacherous driveway to get there!

I’d heard of the Scottish Lighthouse museum at nearby Fraserburgh, so that’s where we head; we also needed some more cash and fuel for the car. I leave Dale at ASDA (British Wal-Mart subsidiary) and I head to the lighthouse.

It was worth it. Kinnaird Head Lighthouse while no longer manned (all Scottish lighthouses are automated these days) is the oldest lighthouse on the Scottish mainland, dating back to 1787. 

As part of a tour I climbed it to almost the top, the tour being quite informative and the lighthouse being built inside a castle!

Time to head back to Gardenstown. We ended up getting there by the backroads – lots of rolling farming country and large, very bulky and hairy Scottish cattle.

By the way, here’s a pic of the only grocery store in town – a tiny Spar store.

As the day drew to a close, Dale and I headed off to the trusty Garden Arms Hotel for a tasty dinner – haddock for Dale, sirloin steak for me.



Scotland 2015 #7 – Urquhart Castle; on to Gardenstown

what an interesting day. After polishing off a traditional Scottish breakfast (I passed on the black pudding) we checked out of the Clansman Hotel – complete with lake view and headed off on a 2 hour  Loch Ness cruise.

The highlight was a 60 minute visit to historic  Urquhart Castle ruins – with records showing Columba visited settlement there as far back as the 6th century. It’s been in ruins for over 300 years yet it’s truly stunning.



Then … off to this tiny secluded northern Scottish beachside town of Gardenstown- a pub, a restaurant, a Spar store, no Post Office, no ATM, no fuel, no phone reception. Isolated and beautiful. 3 pics. The first taken by us from the bedroom window of our marvellously decked out little cottage; then two cheated one via the crowd we accessed it through. 

Really tricky parking our hire car, so we may find ourselves delighting in even more of our much anticipated ‘down time’. Certainly no short trips down the road to wherever. Mind you, a short trip nearby to that equally quaint Scottish village – Pennan is certainly on the list. Pennan was made famous in the late 1980s movie Local Hero.



Scotland 2015 #6 – leaving Iona, Glen Coe, Loch Ness

Well, all good things must end and so it is we have left our six days with the Iona Community on such a God-blessed isle. I’m privileged to have now been there 3 times .. yes, I’m blessed. This stay was perhaps the most enriching. Perhaps it was the Wild Goose group’s presence, perhaps it was conversations, perhaps it was the chance to deal with challenges of past months. Will we ever be back? God only knows. I have gained much. Thank you, God.

A final breakfast at the “Mac”, then down to the Abbey for the Leaving Service, then by ferry across to Fionnphort where we picked up our car before driving once again across Mull, this time in beautiful sunshine. Big ferry across to Oban.

 The next couple of hours found us driving towards Fort William and through the SW Highlands. A bit overcast, yet the views through Glen Coe were strikingly beautiful. Beautiful.


 Late lunch in Fort William – tasty Turkey & cranberry sauce rolls and we’re off to the shores of Loch Ness. We had booked into the Clansman Hotel – right across from the Loch. Lovely.

Nice to have chicken for dinner last night after a week of mostly vegetarian fare on Iona. 

 Today? We check out soon, then across the road to take one of the Jacobite cruises on the Loch, including historic Urquhart Castle. Off, then to the little northern Aberdeenshire coastal town of Gardenstown. We are booked into a little cottage right near the beach, and not far from Pennan (of Local Hero film fame)

Part 3 of our Scotland sojourn has begun well 


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