Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On the road in the Highlands

Dear Mom,
Mustering our courage, we picked up our rental car for the next legs of our Scotland adventure.
Packing the modest sized car with our luggage was an exercise in spacial relations, but we did it.

Things got better by the end of the trip. Or there were more things in the back seat.
Or both.

Needless to say, the backseat was crowded the entire trip, with one suitcase and my  CPAP machine on the seat between us. My back seat partner and I had a very organized system for taking turns shifting the luggage so we could fasten and unfasten our seat belts. Our leg space was not wasted, either.  Getting out of the car was a slow extraction.

After determining who would be the first driver, we left the car rental and immediately encountered our first roundabout. Going clockwise and unsure of which exit to take, we pretty much immediately hit the first of many curbs on the left side of the road. We praised and encouraged and prayed and thanked and cheered our driver.  I will be forever grateful to my brave friends for all the driving they did. And I will just say right here, right now, that we did NOT lose any mirrors (despite a dire prediction by one son -not mine-) and miraculously  did not get a flat tire.  How we did not get a flat has to be the power of 4 guardian angels. The rims on the left side of the car were very chewed up!

As is the case for all of Scotland, the scenery on the road to Inverness was breathtaking. The hillsides are dotted with sheep.
We stopped at the Highland Folk Museum. I did not realize until we got there that scenes from Outlander were filmed here. (Season One, Episode Five, RENT)

The charming, costumed man and woman stationed in the oldest section happily answered our questions and then, because we were obviously from the US, asked us where in the states we were from. Hearing that we came from Indiana, they immediately wanted to know about TORNADOS! We assured them that we did not live in constant threat and fear of them and in fact had never in all our years actually witnessed one. Myth busted.

Next stop, Cairngorm Mountains. The weather became misty and windy on our way up the mountain. But on the way up the sun broke through the mist and we were blessed with the most spectacular rainbow. Photos do not do it justice.

The complete rainbow seemed to be at eye level. Incredible. After taking countless pictures, we had to break ourselves away from this photo op. Needless to say, we were not the only car pulled off to the side of the road, with passengers scattered roadside seeking the best angles for photos. This moment is one of the highlights of the trip. 
We rode the funicular railway through dense fog to the top of the mountain and had lunch at the cafe there. We were lucky to have the mist blow away, the sun shine and were given breathtaking views.

Enough driving for one day, and not wanting to do any of it after dark, we drove into Inverness and our next home away from home, the Oakvilla Bed and Breakfast.

Next, Culloden, Standing Stones and Nessie!