Back From Scotland
Posted by Donna MacMeans Jul 30 2012, 12:53 am
Hi All! Did you miss me? You probably didn’t know I was gone , but I left July 18th for a week in Scotland. The good news is that I took lots of photographs. The bad news is that when I tried to transfer them from the camera to the computer, the program automatically deleted the images from my camera (I didn’t click anything to do that) AND transferred the photos into a non-existent program. Sigh.
Technology is great when it works…not so good when it doesn’t. So I’m working to recover some photos into this computer to share. Cross your fingers for me.
We stayed in Old Edinburgh in an area called the Grass Market. I was standing on the street where we ate most nights and took this photo of the famous Edinburgh Castle. Formidable, isn’t it? Pretty darn high up. The thing is – we met our tour bus every morning on the Royal Mile Rd which is up there by the castle. So every morning we climbed uphill (pant, pant) for the tour and then back down to get to our room. Then we went up again as all the shops and activities were on the Royal Mile…and then back down to go home. It’s no wonder those Scots flaunt their legs under kilts – their calves must be in great shape! :-)
The other side of the castle has a steep drop off as well, but it used to be a lake – the lake where the city inhabitants drew their drinking water, and the lake where they dumped their cesspots . Eventually they made the connection between the unsanitary water and the high levels of sickness and deaths. This was also the lake where women accused of witchery were tried and drowned. Edinburgh drowned/burned more people (predominately women) for witchery than did the Salem witch trials in the States.
While I saw lots of men in kilts, I didn’t manage to get many photos of them as they were often in a rush about their own business. But I did manage to take a photo of this bagpiper. We were at St. Andrews (home of the famous golf course) and a wedding was in process at Edinburgh University - where Prince Harry and Kate met. The bagpiper was playing outside while the wedding was ongoing, so I was able to snag a shot without annoying the wedding party.
While my husband and I were exploring a bridge that stood several stories above the street below, I happened to see this guy – a golden rooster! LOL. That bird gets around. Speaking of animals – I’ve never seen so many sheep in my life! The sheep easily outnumber the humans in Scotland
I’m still sorting through the recovered photos, but I wanted to post a few that would give you a sense of the scenery. This is from the highlands, an area of steep glens and deep blue lochs. (Though is more of a strath – a wider gentler break between the hills than a glen). The other photo is a waterfall, again in the highlands. I’m not sure you can see it here but the water has a brown tinge to it. That’s because it filters through peat, sort of a pre-coal substance, and takes some of the color along with it. One of the reasons for the trip was to learn more about the distillation of Scotch for my next book. One of the things I learned was that in the Isley Islands on the west side of Scotland, the distilleries dry their malted barley over a peat fire. The peat lends a smokey taste to the barley that comes through in the whiskey. It’s easy to identify a whisky from the Islay Islands, even for a non-Scotch drinker like me.
Speaking of distilleries, here’s a shot outside of one. That’s our tour guide, Jonathon. He’s got great taste in reading material . (Couldn’t let a post go by without my cover – LOL)
Also, you might recall an earlier blog post when I asked for help in naming a couple of the taverns in my WIP book. I posted some pictures of various pubs for inspiration. One Scottish one was The World’s End – remember? Anyway, we saw the actual pub in Edinburgh and learned the reason for it’s name. Edinburgh is a medieval city and as such was once surrounded by a stone wall. Most of the wall is now gone, although there are two places where it’s still visible. One is on the cross street for this pub. At the time, the wall would be considered the world’s end for most of the city’s inhabitants – so the pub borrowed the name. I have a photo of the wall and if I can find it in these microscophic thumbnail images recovered from the camera – I’ll post it.
I’ve been talking about Edinburgh, which is the second largest city in Scotland (Glasgow is the first) but there’s another sizeable city we visited on our trip – Inverness. While Edinburgh has that medieval feel, Inverness – the capital of the highlands – has more of a French and Scandanavian feel. Here’s a river running through the middle of town and the road is this photo is heading down that way.
We had a great time, but I’m glad to be back home. How about you? Have you gone on any interesting trips this summer? Any plans to go somewhere special? I’ll be posting more photos throughout the week on my facebook page, so if you’re interested in seeing more of Scotland – friend me Photos with people reading my books will be posted on my author page, Donna MacMeans, author – while landscape scenes will be split between the personal and author pages. I brought some leather bookmarks back with me from Edinburgh Castle. I’m happy to send one to someone leaving a comment – and I can stick it in a copy of one of my books if you like. I’ll be doing the same thing on my webpage in August. www.DonnaMacMeans.com - So let’s chat about vacations.
Posted in Donna MacMeans, Edinburgh, Inverness, Scotland