Monday 25 May
Leaving Milnathort our first stop was at Dunkeld a small town north of Perth which has an interesting history and prides itself as being the gateway to the highlands. The town has associations with Beatrix Potter who enjoyed long holidays there in her youth. The local postman, who was an acknowledged expert on fungi befriended the young Beatrix who drew and painted fungi and became an expert herself. Dunkeld also has an ancient cathedral, half of which is now ruined, which sits on the banks of the river Tay with beautifully mown lawn leading down to the river.
Next we stopped at the fishing village of Johnshaven (do we read that as John’s haven or John shaven we wondered) where we had a quick walk around the small harbour before driving on to Stonehaven below Aberdeen, another attractive seaside town with a small harbour. A long drive took us to Lossiemouth where we had booked into the formerly very grand seaside Stotfield hotel. The public areas were still large and elegant but our room although satisfactory was pretty tired. We are booking places at the budget end of the accommodation spectrum, our basic requirement is ensuite facilities, and most have been pretty good but it’s a bit of a lottery.
After a good dinner we had walk around the town which has a marina with yachts and power boats of all sizes.
Another good day!
26 May (today)
After a drive around Lossiemouth, with its sand dune backed, East beach we stopped first at Nairn before driving on to Dunrobin castle which is more reminiscent of a French chateaux than a Scottish castle. The tour of the house was great and the formal gardens were spectacular but, for me, the falconry display was the most interesting. The gent presenting the show flew a gerfalcon, an owl and a peregrine falcon all of which flew with great precision. The owl, in particular was flying so low over the watchers that at times its wings were touching people’s heads.
Tonight we are staying in Halkirk at the Ulbster Arms Hotel. The hotel owns the fishing rights on the adjacent river and sells beats on the river to fishermen for over 1100 pounds a week.