Some places we've been and some places we're going.

Archive for April, 2013


The weather forecast for today wasn’t good, coming from the north and the Pole doesn’t seem that far away! We thought a  long walk in the forest was a bad idea but since the laundry bag was full clothes washing was a good idea. The wonders of modern technology meant we could do the washing while we went to Pringles to get a jumper or two. When I was packing I decided that restricting my clothes to a few colours meant everything would coordinate. The down side of that, I’ve discovered, is that it appears I’ve been wearing the same clothes every day so off we went to Pringles where I bought acrylic and Alex bought cashmere. Happy with our purchases we headed up the coast to Invergordon where maintenance is done on Oil Rigs. There were at least 6 in the harbour some maybe being dismantled.

Coming back from Invergordon I spotted a couple of seals in the Cromarty Firth. The road is very busy but we were able to pull into a layby and walk back (safe side of the Armco barrier) to see one seal lying on its back moving its flippers about and looking directly at us. A second one swam in towards us, had a good look then went back out again.

On the road back to Inverness we came to a section of road we thought was covered in fresh snow but when we got back to the house we discovered the white was actually an accumulation of hailstones. Luckily each time we were out of the car there was no rain or hail and in fact we walked about in sunshine so it’s been very variable today.

East Coast Jaunt

Today we had our breakfast at a Garden Centre. While we were there we could have bought a waterproof jacket, boots, Polar fleece, crockery, Scottish souvenirs, BBQs, knick knacks, beds and bedding, kitchen gadgets or old fashioned lollies. The eating area is able to cater for about 100 people and on Sundays someone plays the grand piano and another person the guitar. There were a few plants around too.

We headed down the road towards Nairn, went to the beach where Alex reminisced about going there in a bus with the Sunday School and having Fish and Chips on the way home at Granton on Spey. At the harbour there was a statue of a Fishwife. The detail was fantastic especially the plain stitch knitting on the cardigan opening, the texture of the rope and the flesh on the fish. In her basket were birds’ eggs, a scale, herring and little packages. In her creel was a box. I’m always disappointed when I can’t find the artist’s name anywhere on a sculpture.

The old Abbey ruins at Kinloss were interesting as were the gravestones, some have carvings of skulls and bones which seemed to be tied in ribbons or scrolls. There were many skippers and shipbuilders buried there including an Australian buried in the 1800s. The language on many tombstones was archaic and some were highlighted by moss growing in the carved letters.

Burghead is a town built on the site of an old Pictish Fort, we couldn’t get into the Visitors Centre or the Well because they don’t open until May. The town is situated on a narrow spit and the streets and very narrow lanes run parallel along the spit. The houses are impressive solid stone structures mostly two storey but some low houses with front doors ideal for the vertically challenged.

It was a relief to get to Hopeman with its well tended facilities! The wind was so strong there that the rigging wires on the boats were singing. We walked until our eyes were streaming then came back to the car and drove to where I knew there was a geocache where I could leave something.

From there we made our way back “home” via Lossiemouth, Elgin and Forres. Even the main roads were narrow and it seemed that some farmers took their massive machines to town for their shopping.

Arrived home in time for Alex to get into the kitchen to make dinner and give Lena a break.

Less Sitting More Walking

After yesterday’s full day of driving about we decided today we needed to walk. Our legs are now complaining because we walked and walked through the forest because I had the Geocache bit between my teeth and impenetrable scrubby stuff and steep drops/rises got in the way. The first place we went was along the canal which was nice and flat. Alex found the cache on his first ever expedition, a tricky one too he also found the second one, his devious mind is good for caching. We had a hot drink at a café in a Garden Centre, one with very elaborate hot houses, people pay to go through them. The woman asked me if I wanted cream or marshmallows with my hot chocolate & I said, “Just one marshmallow thanks”. She told me they were only small so I said I’d have two then. The photo will tell what I actually got.

The jaunt into the forest just behind Lena & Mark’s house certainly took more effort than I expected and all for one cache. The second one couldn’t be accessed from the direction we’d taken. When we were only 100m away a vertical drop, fence and train line stopped us so we decided to leave it for today and come back by car along a road we could see beyond the train line. Then we had to climb back up the hill, fight our way through the forest and find our way home. Luckily I did record home in the GPS but Alex also had an idea of the way we needed to go. He saw a deer I only saw some very big fungi growing on a tree trunk.