Tain and Dunrobin

In spite of the fact that we were in Scotland for two weeks, there is a lot of it that we DIDN’T get to see. Northern Scotland would fall into that category. A whole month probably wouldn’t suffice to see everything in Scotland, but I did, at least, earmark one day for a day trip north of Inverness. Our destination for the day was Dunrobin Castle, near the village of Golspie, on the coast. (North Sea to your right.) Along the way, our only goal was to enjoy the scenery and to stop in the village of Tain, which happens to be the home of the Glenmorangie single malt distillery.  We decided to head first to the castle, and then fit the distillery in if we had time.

The drive up the coast to Golspie was relaxing – the roads were good, and the scenery was gentle. We had a cool day, but no rain. IMG_5837

We stopped and had lunch at the main hotel in the village of Tain. We really liked Tain. It was a fairly good size – no major stores, but plenty of small shops on the main street. The buildings were old and picturesque, and the teenagers in their school uniforms were of the non-threatening variety.IMG_5842 IMG_5844

We left Tain after lunch and headed across the Dornoch Firth, up toward Golspie. In short order we found Dunrobin Castle, with no trouble. The castle is the ancestral seat of the earls and dukes of Sutherland, as we learned on our tour. The castle is the largest “house” in the Northern Highlands, with 189 rooms – not exactly what I would term a “house”. We learned that parts of the castle date back to the 1300s, and – of course – it has its share of obligatory ghosts.Dunrobin

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the castle, but you’ll have to take my word that it was suitably impressive. My favorite parts though, were the gardens outside. The gardens were situated in the rear of the castle, between the castle and the North Sea. Standing out on the patio behind the castle, the view was beautiful.IMG_5857 IMG_5853 IMG_5849

We wandered around on the grounds for a bit after our tour, and then got back on the road, heading for the Glenmorangie Distillery. As it turns out, we were too late for a tour of the distillery, but we did get out and walk around a bit to stretch our legs.IMG_5878

Here is a view of the distillery, with the Dornoch Firth in the background. Notice the hills beyond the firth:IMG_5868

Although we didn’t get a full blown tour, we were luckily able to get a tasting session in. IMG_5875

On the way back to Inverness, the weather turned a bit darker, but we never got any rain. It was just enough to create some spectacular looking skies. The views around Inverness and Loch Ness were all the more dramatic because of it.

(Inverness Castle:)IMG_5883

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We walked around town for a little while, but most of the shops were closed for the night. We headed back to the cozy bar of Bunchrew House, and enjoyed chatting with Peter and sipping on our ale and single malt before turning in for the night.

Another beautiful day was behind us. Tomorrow we would be journeying over the sea to Skye.

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