October 12, 2010

0 Scotland Trip; (Southern) Highlands/Loch Ness, October 12

We headed first West to see Fortrose Cathedral, in Fortrose.  Built beginning in the 13th century, it is a rather sparse but still beautiful ruin today. 

I have lots of similar images from different sites, but I just love how the moss fills in the letters!

We weren't able to go "inside" the ruin, as it is currently under repair, but I tried to show the vaulted ceilings.  Gorgeous!

Next stop was Beauly Priory, another rather sparse but still beautiful ruin set in the center of Beauly, a charming little village.  Also from the 13th century, many gravestones have been moved into the priory for preservation.

Another one for my fellow Outlander fans!  (Note of interest, Beauly is also the seat of the Frasers of Lovat!)

Our day was damp, foggy, and chilly, but that made our drive down to Loch Ness that much more interesting.

As we were driving I kept thinking I saw frost on the plants alongside the roads.  I was sure it wasn't cold enough for frost, so finally I pointed it out to Paul, and he said "No, that's... spiderwebs!"  We pulled over, and sure enough, the plants were COVERED!

Just a view of the many colors of fall covering the Highlands- I haven't seen New England in the fall, but I have to say Scotland will be hard to beat!

Finally we got to Loch Ness.  Our first stop was at Urquhart Castle.  The current castle began it's existence in the early 13th century, but it is believed that the site was a fortified settlement of a noble in the 6th century.

View of the loch from near the castle's dock.

Urquhart Castle changed hands frequently during it's heyday, and by 1692 it was in the hands of the government troops (of William and Mary).  Under siege from the Jacobites, the government troops blew up the castle gatehouse rather than let the Jacobites gain control of the stronghold.  This fallen debris is from that explosion.  The castle fell to ruin after that, never used as a residence again.

The gatehouse, with the above debris shown to the right. 

View from the Summit.  Gatehouse is on the left, Grant's Tower is ahead.

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