Netherley to Inverness

From rural Netherley near Stonehaven on the east coast of Scotland, where we stayed at Schonwald B & B with our vivacious hostess, Christine, who makes her own yogurt and granola (truly a woman after my own heart), we drove up to Aberdeen.  (That’s a Pictish name, by the way, but more about Picts later.)

In Aberdeen, we met Bose, Amy’s sister-in-law.  She’d come for her graduation from the University of Aberdeen on Friday.  It was lovely to meet her, and I wish we had been able to spend more time with her.  While we waited for her to arrive, we went to the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens on the university campus in Old Aberdeen.  It was a lovely way to pass the time, and some of Amy’s flower pictures will be over on the other blog at http://www.gardenforestfield.com.  She does such a good job with her phone camera.

We ended up going to Inverness by way of Cairngorms National Park,  and there was still snow on the mountains.  I have given up trying to take pictures from a moving car, and once Amy gets that car moving, she doesn’t like to stop unless something like ice cream is involved.  However, we did make a couple of stops, once so I could take pictures of a river (which one I have yet to work out because we were nowhere near where I thought we were when I took the picures), and once because we saw a sign that said “Pictish Stones.”  Amy whipped that Renault off the highway and on to a lane so fast it’s no wonder my neck is sore.

We both have become fascinated with the Picts and have learned that they didn’t just disappear, as was once thought, but were assimilated by the Gaels.   However, their language survived in place names, most frequently in the prefixes pit- (Pitcairn) which means farm or unit of land, and aber- (Aberdeen) which means the mouth of a river or stream, in this case, the Dee.  We learned this at Pictavia yesterday, where we saw a few old stones behind glass and a bunch of replicas.  But today, at the Old church at Invararon,  we saw four Pictish stones, displayed on the porch of the church, up close and personal, touchable.  It was a thrill for us both.

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We are staying at a guesthouse in Inverness that’s like a small hotel, quite different from the bed and breakfast places we’ve been staying in, but the room is quite comfortable.  We will have to find our own breakfast tomorrow.  Amy thinks she’s found a place that has pancakes which is rightbacross from the Joy of Taste, where we had dinner tonight.  I had Highland venison fillets on onion polenta with beautifully cooked vegetables (a first, really, since we’ve been here), and a scrumptious vanilla cheesecake with fresh raspberries and raspberry gelee.   It was interesting to compare the venison tonight with our venison at home.  Ours tastes wilder, which I suppose isn’t surprising since it is not pasture-raised.  The Highland venison was very good, although I would probably have cooked it a bit less if I’d cooked it myself.  Still, it was tender enough to cut with a butter knife!

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Tomorrow, after we visit Culloden Moor and the Clava Cairns, we turn south for Glasgow, and the next morning we fly to Dublin for a couple of days.  We are both getting a bit homesick and more than a bit road-weary, but we have seen so many interesting things and met so many wonderful people, I know we will be sad to leave Britain behind.

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5 Responses to Netherley to Inverness

  1. Christine spark says:

    Really enjoyed reading about your trip, wish we had had more time to talk when you stayed with us at schonwald, Netherley. So pleased you enjoyed your trip.

  2. Michael Mills says:

    Jean,at last you have enjoyed some decent Veg,and it seems Amy has become very adept at negotiating those tricky narrow winding country lanes,she would make a good rally driver.l agree with you when you say it’s a thrill when you touch those ancient stones,do you,like l do,experience a tingling sensation going right through you when you come into contact with antiquities,near to were l live,is the ruins of a 12th century Priory,it is hidden in woodland,and it was a joy when l first discovered it,l go there with my dog quite often, and stand in which was the refectory,and it feels as if l am being watched,there is even a stone Sarcophagus completely intact.Aber is also used in Welsh,and has several meanings,eg,confluence,mouth of river,estuary,brook,and stream,perhaps it was borrowed in the 9th century when the Picts were united with the Scots.Culloden is not a very nice episode in our history,the Scots were defeated by the forces of the Duke of Cumberland,and his ruthless pursuit of the Scots and his killing of wounded men earned him the nickname “The Butcher”.the battle took place on the 16th April 1746.l hope you enjoy Dublin. Regards,Michael.

  3. There is something so powerful about old stones–running your fingers along marks made by people who lived long ago. Like a time warp. Glad you’re experiencing so much!

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