I was tempted to use that old essay title used by many of us on return to school after any holiday break – “What I did on Holiday”. In a sense this was a very special holiday in many ways. I had watch my partner battle her cancer, facing decisions on treatment and her battle to regain strength. At the start of 2016 we planned this holiday and we had set three objects to attain:
- Travel on Strathspey Railway
- See Dolphins
- See White Tailed Eagle
- Enjoy ourselves
We had hired a caravan at Coulmore Bay, North Kessock, Inverness from Val Beales Chalmers. We hired her smaller caravan before, but this 6 berth was a superb base for our touring around Sutherland etc.
21/08/2016 – Strathspey Railway: We boarded the steam hauled train at Aviemore Station. It was hauled by Ex-LMS 2-6-0 Class 2MT no. 46512 “E. V. Cooper, Engineer” for our return trip to Broomhill. (Click here on image right to view album). We arrived at the caravan unpacked and had dinner. The journey had tired out Susan, so a quiet night sitting down at the old ferry dock in North Kessock.
Following day 22/08/2016 – Two Castles and A Canal: An early start of the day saw us heading east towards the Moray Firth in search of Macbeth’s Cawdor Castle. It was not until I entered the basement of the castle did it dawn on me that I had previously been to this castle. We enjoyed a walk around the grounds and garden, alas we could not tackle maze as it was being renovated. From Cawdor we headed east for a long drive to our next historic castle Urquhart. (Urquhart Gallery) This was a tactical error due to the site being a tourist attraction with nearly all the tour busses stopping to drop off their passengers. In fact it was too much for the both of us – so we cut short our visit and headed for Fort Augustus – see Gallery.
A Special Trip – Orkney: Susan was invited by a drama friend to visit Orkney I was included in the invite. We were sailing from Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope by the first ferry of the day. We left our caravan at 5 am on a very foggy Monday morning. I had set up TomTom (SatNav) to give me directions. Even as I type this I shudder at that drive up via unclassified roads, single track (to me farm tracks) lanes as well as the main roads. I’ll give the programmers of the SatNav their due – the device got me straight there in less time I would have taken using just the main roads. Never again I tell you. I turned left and came face to face with a family of deer fine in clear weather but in fog!. We did get to Orkney and Susan friends made us welcome and took us round the tourists spots like the Italian Chapel, Skara Bra etc. (Click here or on image at left to view Orkney Gallery)