Leaving Fort William, we proceeded up the A82 past the unimaginatively named Loch Lochy past Loch Oich to Urqhart castle on the shores of Loch Ness. This castle dates from the 6th century in the time of St. Columbia. Although we saw a lot fo Loch Ness we saw no monsters, I think. One thing I am not allowed to write about is what happened with my sister-in-law at Urqhart castle.
As we were a bit behind, we planned to just see Inverness castle in Inverness, When we arrived, we saw it was a really modern, occupied building, so we eschewed this and some other Inverness attractions and left for Balvenie castle. This one is a bit more intact than Urqhart, but not much. A really impressive structure, all of these castle even more impressive when you realize this was built sans cranes, bulldozers, etc.
We also stopped at the Glenfiddich distillery, as it is about 1,000 feet from the castle. Although modern in the inside (no photos) the buildings look quaint and old; the visitor center is the original distillery from over 100 years ago. They sell bottles at prices up to and including 10,000 Pounds for a 50-year old scotch.
From there to Huntley Castle near Huntley (where else). We didn’t have a lot of time as the closed in about 1/2 hour, so we ran through and took lots of pictures. This castle still had some great detailed carvings left, as many castles were stripped of anything ornate (even plain stones) for local peasants to use as building materials.
We arrived in Aberdeen about on time (who was wrong to make a schedule?) and lucked out again. The hotel (Craibstones Suites) was like the Fort William hotel newly-renovated with posh accoutrements and a fantastic mini-kitchen. The Italian restaurant near us was closed, and no one at the time really wanted Spanish tapas, so we chose a Chinese restaurant.
Later Avery and I went walking to get some next day snacks. We found a grocery store that was moving, so everything (beer too) was 1/2 price. However, due to some draconian Byzantine law I could not buy beer accompanied by a minor. I was told (the girl thought 13-year-old Avery was 16 or 17) that I cannot buy alcohol with a minor with me. I thought she meant (like in the States) that he couldn’t carry it. I was told flat-out I couldn’t buy it. Weird; so we wne tnext door and he waited outside.