We have been home for a few days now but it has taken me a while to acclimatise. You will be pleased to hear you have not seen the last of Lewis because there are still some photos to post and I shall do so over the next few weeks.
We had originally intended to have just one night on the mainland on the way home but in the end we chose to avoid the main A roads and Motorways and spend two nights. For a number of years Partner-who-loves-tea has had to do all the driving because of my eyesight and my lack of feeling in my legs. Her preference is always to drive on the lesser roads when on holiday and it certainly helps one keep that holiday feel until the last minute and enables one to visit places one has never seen before.
On Monday we got the early ferry which left Stornoway at 7am and arrived in Ullapool at 9.45am. We drove across Scotland to the Moray Firth.
Our first stop was the Dolphin and Seal Centre at North Kessock. Located on the North side of the Kessock Bridge overlooking the Beauly Firth, the centre offers the opportunity to watch for wildlife including the bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth. It is run by international charity, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and offers a powerful interactive and educational experience. It is staffed by experts directly involved in local whale and dolphin conservation and protection. Tessa, who was 'on duty' when we called in ended up showing Google images of the Harris beaches to a Belgian couple and we all arranged to meet there next year! Who knows - stranger things have happened! On the way up to Lewis Jo saw Dolphins here but this time she had to be content with a seal - the last dolphin sighting having been an hour earlier. (Jo also saw dolphins from the boat on the way to Lewis and in Bayble Bay from GB's, along with a seal in Bayble Bay).
We spent the night at Old Churches House in Dunblane. Our bedroom looked out at the Cathedral. The accommodation was very good.
Dressed for dinner.
P-w-l-t's latest piece of jewellery – a mussel shell covered in pure silver which came from Tarbert in Harris.
On Tuesday we called at a UNESCO World Heritage Site – New Lanark Mills.
• New Lanark is a small 18th-century village set in a sublime Scottish landscape where the philanthropist and Utopian idealist Robert Owen moulded a model industrial community in the early 19th century.
The village is a remarkable well preserved example of an early industrial settlement. • The integration of planning and architecture with a humane concern on the part of employers for the well-being of workers is a milestone in social and industrial history. • New Lanark village remains a thriving community with a resident population, visitor centre, a hotel and a range of small businesses.
• The New Lanark Trust, which owns much of the World Heritage Site, is committed to supporting the restoration and development of the village.
At Tweedsmuir we drove under a Golden Eagle sitting on a telegraph pole. P-w-l-t turned the car around for a better view but a lorry came thundering past and disturbed it. As it took to flight it confirmed its identity but sadly it didn’t hang around to be photographed.
Our last night in Scotland was possibly one of the best places we have ever stopped at – Marchbankwood Guest House at Beattock. The hospitality was first class (thank you Sally) and the breakfast superb. And how is this for a view?
On Wednesday we stopped briefly at Lochmaben Mill Loch.
And had a coffee in Annan.
I can't quite recall where this photo of a Northern England tithe barn was taken but it was somewhere back over the border in Cumbria.
When we got home there were dozens of postcards for me to read and enjoy – thank you to all who sent me them. I shall be busy recording them and replying to them for a while now...