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

Archive for May, 2013


Yesterday we drove past Dulnavert Cottages where Alex’s family used to live then we went to Inshriach Nursery. When Alex was young his mum worked at “The Big House” (Home of Major and Mrs Drake) and Alex got his first job working there when he was 15. He was the farm’s dogsbody, cleaning horse harnesses, cutting Ragwort aka Stinking Willie, painting gates and picking produce from the Kitchen Garden. Mr Jack, son of Major Drake established the Alpine Nursery at Inshriach. The original potting shed, has now become a Tearoom called, “The Potting Shed” and the rest is was just the way Alex remembered it. From inside the café you can sit and watch birds through big windows. People told me you could always see Red Squirrels there feeding but they must have been away on holiday yesterday.

We came home along the old A9, which was the main road from the south to Inverness until shortly before we left in 1978. Alex worked on the bridge building at Tomatin. At Carr Bridge we stopped to check out the old Packhorse Bridge (built before Alex could legally leave school).

Tonight we had a nice meal out to celebrate Lena’s birthday, I’m DEFINITELY due for some serious walking and salad eating when we get home.

Fort George

It’s my day off from blogging today, Alex and Lena went into Fort George while I had a snooze in the car. They went in and walked around with an audio thingie. They watched a short film about the different regiments. Their paternal grandfather served in the Seaforth Highlanders in WW1 and was killed in action. He’s buried in Meteren Cemetery in the north of France. His widow was left with four young children at home, their dad was the oldest child aged 7.

The garrison was built by the English rulers after the 1745 rebellion (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s failed rebellion) to impose order on the unruly Scots. It’s still a working garrison and the Squaddies were going about their business. (Some were out on the firing range disturbing my sleep.) Some were lined up in civvies waiting to get their “Permission to go slips”. The building looks as though it hasn’t been changed since it was built.

In the Museum there were poignant messages sent from soldiers to their families during WW1 and WW2 and personal belongings including a mud splattered kilt which belonged to a soldier injured at The Somme. In the Ex Governor and Commander in Chief’s living quarters they had uniforms you could try on and take selfies. One of the staff suggested Alex try on a kilt and show off his legs but he declined. He did find a jacket the same as his dad would have worn in the Royal Artillery but it was apparently meant for an undersized soldier so it was too small for Alex.

Since both Alex and Lena have dodgy knees they ascended the steep, wet, grassy ramparts to see the gun placements (all original) very carefully and descended even more carefully.

I was startled out of my sleep when the back door of the car suddenly opened. Their tour was over.

I won’t be blogging tomorrow, it’s a private family day.

Golf Day at Strathpeffer

Today started warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky, the promise of another perfect day…. somewhere. Here it was OK at first with only a few clouds and it didn’t seem too cold. I left the house without a jumper or jacket on but did put them in the car. On the way to Strathpeffer I saw another Fly Fisherman and this time I managed to get a photo, he was up to his waist in the water.

Alex’s booking was for 10:00 at Strathpeffer and as soon as we arrived the jumper and jacket went on and I knew I should have left my beanie and scarf in my backpack. It was daft to think they were only needed on the islands.

There were only a couple of cars in the Carpark and as soon as we’d organised the buggy etc we were off. I THOUGHT I was joking when I said I’d be using my Jeep Club training but the track beside the 1st hole made me really wonder what I was in for. The Golf Course truly is a beautiful setting and so much easier to appreciate when you’re tootling about in a buggy rather than trudging up and down all the hills.

The only weather we missed out on today was snow! Luckily when the hail came down we were able to shelter in a little hut. Every time I stopped I tried to position the buggy so the plastic windscreen would take the wind head on but it was impossible to get good protection. The guy in the pro shop had warned us that we shouldn’t have any trouble with the buggy apart from the 18th where we must stay on the buggy track because it was quite precipitous and slippery anywhere else. When I saw the hole I realised what he meant and certainly wouldn’t have been keen to head off straight down from the top but the buggy track was fine.

Alex has decided that Strathpeffer is a Golf Course every golfer should play but I think the golfer who duffed his shot on the 15th at Askernish should ignore that advice. He would have lost balls in a pond, in bracken, in the Machair, heaps of places before he got anywhere near the fairway.

After we’d finished we went into Dingwall to Grant’s Café for a warm up and some lunch. An ideal place for both.