On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Albatrossity in Scotland
After leaving the Outer Hebrides, we headed to Kingussie, near Cairngorms National Park, crossing Loch Ness on the way there. Kingussie was the site of a BBC series titled “Monarch of the Glen”. I had never heard of this series before, but the townfolk were keen to tell us that at every opportunity.
Prior to our trip we had consulted with a KSU colleague who was from Scotland, and she warned us that we would experience some “really bad food” there. I asked what, specifically, we should avoid, and she answered “Lasagna”. So naturally, when I saw lasagna on the menu one evening in Kingussie, I had to try it. She was right. Never doubt a native when they talk about the food of their native land.
Ruthven Barracks is a ruin that was just across the road from our B&B. The history is fascinating. This was built by the British following the failed Jacobite uprising of 1715 to house British troops and to maintain order in the unruly Highland region. There was room for 120 soldiers and stables for horses for the dragoons. At the start of the second Jacobite rebellion in 1745, it was besieged, but the rebels were unable to capture the site. The next year, however, the supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie took the barracks. That proved to be a brief victory. After the crushing defeat of their forces at nearby Culloden in that same year, they retreated to this barracks and burnt it after hearing from Bonnie Prince Charlie that the uprising was over and that he was going into hiding. They then scattered back to their homes and farms. These burnt-out shells remain today, a monument to the failed dreams of the House of Stuart.
The Scottish national flower, the Thistle, and a native pollinator. This is a fly, not a bee, although it really wants you to think that it is a big bad bee.
During the academic conference which Elizabeth was attending in Aberdeen, I had some time to explore Aberdeenshire. A trip north from there on a bright sunny day was rewarded by this scene, the ruins of a 13th-century chapel at Rattray. I found out later that this might be one of the most photographed sites in that part of Scotland; it certainly was photogenic on that day.
One day of the conference was devoted to some visits, via a large touring bus, to some of the local attractions. We saw the battleground at Culloden, the Glenlivet distillery, and Cawdor Castle, which is assumed to be the castle of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the “Thane of Cawdor”. Probably not, since the real MacBeth lived in the 11th century and this castle was constructed in stages in the 15th and 16th centuries, but it makes a good story for the tourists. The castle is occupied by a countess or other such nobility, and you can pay for a tour to see some of the inside. I stayed outside to see the gardens and walk along the stream.
The formal gardens at the castle are extensive and diverse. Here’s one small section.
The entrance road to the castle had a nice grove of ancient linden trees, and some of them had interesting configurations.
Between our time in Kingussie and the conference in Aberdeen, we took a couple of days to see some of the Orkneys, a group of islands north of the northern tip of Scotland. Remote and ancient, these islands are a good place to see Neolithic stone structures, seabirds, and the North Atlantic. The ferry ride was quite rewarding in the seabird category. We spotted lots of birds, including this Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica).
This Northern Fulmar cruised alongside the ferry for much of the trip.
Next week’s installment will feature the Orkneys.