Scotland Day 3
Day 1 of the 7 day Bronach tour to the Orkney Islands with East of the Hebrides tour company.
This isn’t your typical tour company. The peeps that run this gig are super cool. Bill is the King of one-liner jokes and his wife Karen is a complete sweetheart. Bill is always keeping the crowd entertained and Karen is always making sure you have everything you need. This was my first solo trip and I was terrified. From the moment I met up with him and the rest of the crew of Albannach and Brother, they all welcomed me with open arms and warm hearts and not for one second did I feel alone or out of place. Bronach is what comes together to make up this tour, it consists of Albannach, the Scottish pipes and drums band from Scotland and Brother, another trio of massively talented musical gents. They play live for us most nights and the music and set up is the bees knees.
I immediately felt comfortable and made friends. Some of those friends became friends for life (we even gave each other nick-names) and now this has become an annual get together. We have become a medley of (fill in the blank), a gaggle of fools, you name it we called ourselves that…the loving cup of liquid courage. We literally made that up. We seriously needed a scribe to follow us around to repeat every funny thing we said! We made that up too. Instant shenanigan soul-mates I tell ya! I’ve recently become the master of collecting one-liner jokes so I can compete with ole Billy boy for next time.
I know I’ll never win….ever.
He is the king and Pops will reign forever in my book. That’s the nick-name I gave him. He wasn’t too thrilled with it so he named me “Granny.”
Other nick-names to be revealed later on in the week.
The first stop consisted of visiting The Kelpies, located in Falkirk along the Forth & Clyde Canal, about 45 minutes west of Edinburgh. These massive 30 meter (100 feet) stainless steel structures, designed by sculptor Andy Scott, are shaped like horse heads and are the largest equine sculptures in the world! They are inspired by the cultural heritage of the Clydesdale horse which was a major factor in helping people in this area. Beautiful by day and stunning by night when they are lit up. You feel like a tiny little ant standing next to these beauties.
Next stop was the cute little town of Pitlochery. This is home to the John Muir trust. Being a mountain lover, I was stoked to say the least. We ate lunch and perused around this quaint little town. I visited a few thrift stores and used book stores. (I’ll never pass one of those.)
~I apologize for the lack of pictures. My first visit to this beautiful country left me awestruck and forgetting I had my camera in hand. ~
Next stop for this first fun filled day of new adventurous experiences is the Ruthven Barracks.
These beautifully preserved barracks are one of 4 identical infantry garrisons built after the Jacobite rising in 1715. Located approximately 3 hours north of Edinburgh, near Ruthven in Badenoch within Cairngorm National Park near River Spey, these barracks are nicely situated on top of a natural large sand and gravel mound that previously housed a castle back in 1229. Being on top of this mound proved to be a very nice strategic move defense wise and was only eventually seized by Jacobite rebels in August of 1745 as a part of the Jacobite rising of 1745.
Being within these walls you could almost step back in time to feel the presence of those fighting the battles that took place here at that time defending these walls. The shouts between men, the gun fire and smoke, the loud booms of the cannons. A ghostly presence indeed…
The day was almost over as we head to our first overnight stop in Strathpeffer at the Ben Wyvis Hotel.
Supposedly “a haunted hotel” is what Bill our leader tells us. Woooooooooo…. Interesting indeed. We get our rooms assigned and low and behold, I get the Mac Daddy Suite! Wahooo! It’s just the luck of the draw when it comes to room selection and I hit it big tonight!
Will I encounter a ghosty tonight?? We shall see. Bronach will be playing their first show of the week this evening. Time for dinner and entertainment. Tomorrow we head to the Orkney Islands.
Another fun shenanigan filled exploring day in Scotland!