Sunday, 14 September 2014

Urquhart Castle and a little bit of Heaven

So work has gotten in the way with my fun and I never did get to finish writing about our trip on Loch Ness. We were just about to dock at the famous ruins of the castle of Urquhart. The pictures really tell most of the story. Urquhart is a 13th century castle and was important in the struggle for Scottish independence as Wikipedia will tell you.

We approached it from the side of Grant's tower on the Loch.

Here are a couple of shots of the larger ruins as we came in from the Loch.

The guide recommended the film at the visitor's center, so Violet and I headed away from the castle and learned about the terrible MacDonalds (hmmm - I knew they were empire builders!) and their assaults on the the fortress Urquhart.

The grounds are laid out like this (courtesy of Wikipedia. 

A Site of drawbridge
B Gatehouse
C Nether Bailey or Outer Close
D Chapel
E Inner Close
F Grant Tower
G Great Hall
H Kitchen
I Water gate
J Upper Bailey or Service Close
K Motte and shell keep
L Doocot
M Smithy
N Loch Ness

On the way to the visitor's center we got to see this gigantic trebuchet (what most of us call a catapult).

I headed down to the ruins while Violet sat down to draw,

There was a piper at the base of the ruins. His music vibrated throughout the grounds and lent an atmosphere of olde Scotland to the viewing.

Near the remains of each area, there were very nice information signs.

Here are some random images of various parts of what is left of the castle.

Here is a shot from the tower that shows the nature of the ruins a little bit better.

This is a shot looking back from the castle to the visitor's center.
That little red speck on the right is Violet who decided to sit down and do a drawing.

You could go all the way up to the top of Grant tower, from which you got a really wonderful view of the grounds. 

Far too soon it was time to go. Violet had gotten so engrossed in the aura of drawing the castle that she didn't have much time to  see the sights, but she valiantly raced through the grounds and then back to the bus at our alotted time.


On our way back to Inverness we kept a sharp look-out for the famous Highland Koo. These were obviously not cows.

We did finally see Nessie, but it wasn't in the Loch (and besides we had given up on monsters and now wanted to see big hairy cows.

 Maybe that one on the left is one.


And these guys were pretty far away, but was that orange hair on that one on the left.

 Yes, it was! We'd spotted a Haighlan' koo.

After we got back to town we stopped at a little hard rock cafe that featured Jim Morrison and Blondie pictures on the wall and electric rock music for ambiance. It also had some Scottish food and the most interesting man. I would swear it was Truman Capote if I didn't know better. He was quite dapper wearing a white tie and straw hat and he carried a cane and I even heard someone mention to him that he was the best dressed man in Inverness.

He didn't seem to be the type for hard rock music, but he loved the cafe and in fact came in more than once while we were there.  I didn't want to photograph him obviously, so all my images were blurry, but in the one below you can see the resemblance to Capote.

The food was very nuanced and quite good, although I feel a bit weird saying so as I ordered a salad with blood pudding. Violet had courgette soup that was also beautifully done.

The real special thing however was the dessert. I don't think I have ever had food that was a s delicious as this:

I have no idea why there was a tomato with dry leafy things on top of this, but it's cute, isn't it? This is sticky toffee pudding, the most wonderful, orgasmically delicious thing I have ever had in my life. It is a moist date cake with caramel sauce and served with cream. Violet and I were in heaven! There is no more to be said!

No comments: