Housesitting, Housesitting in Scotland, Life of adventure, Travelling between housesits

North of the Wall

What were our first impressions of this amazing vast countryside we know as the Scottish Highlands? It felt comfortable to be here, felt a bit like home though not that comfortable that we didn’t feel like we were exploring a new frontier.

Before starting our housesit in Cupar, which was in the summer of 2016, we decided to check out why this part of the United Kingdom was talked about so much.  Scotland’s scenery is absolutely stunning, despite what the evidence portrays. The seemingly endless showers and cloud should be a hindrance, but in reality, it just adds to the magical mystery that makes up the Scottish countryside.

Where did we go?

From our last housesit in Kirkby Fleetham in June 2016, North Yorkshire we headed north, with a stop in Hexham.  This is a quaint town to wander around.  I loved the flags all around the place, made it feel rather festive.PSX_20160703_205525_edited

Our next stop to explore was from Lockerbie.  As it coincided with a need for sustenance and a walk. This is one place I did not share much with friends/family when we visited it last year.  The area affected us, didn’t really want to talk about it at the time.  We came away from there, with more questions unanswered than when we arrived.

What comes to mind when I think of our visit without over thinking it was the headstone of a 19-year-old male, for some reason that is what left me feeling very sad.  Life had only just started.  Was it because he was so far away from where loved ones live/d?  He was just one of many.  Unfortunately, the town still has that air of sadness, though it has been said that this area recovered quite quickly.  The town has an eerie feeling about it, even writing about it ‘s hard to put into words, our time in this area.Lockerbie_editedMy heart goes out to the people of Lockerbie and to all those people involved with their incredibly sad stories.  Not sure if the area around and Lockerbie will ever be anything other than a place for the memorial for those who died in one of the country’s major terrorist attacks.  As it not only killed many people, it also marked a town as one that was involved in a terrible event.

It was, however, for us, a place of quiet reflection.

Driving away we looked ahead with eagerness to just be with our thoughts and also admire the passing countryside.  Until we came to Moffat, time for a cuppa and a chat to discuss the more positive side of the world we live in. Doesn’t having a cuppa do that?  Make everyone feel better?

Our afternoon break was in the village of New Lanark, exploring around New Lanark which is a restored 18th-century cotton mill village on the banks of the River Clyde, close to the Falls of Clyde in southern Scotland.

Under the management of Robert Owen, New Lanark was created as a cotton-spinning village in the late 18th to early 19th century.

The walk around the vast property to the waterfall and back to the mill was a welcome break from driving.  Even managed a cuppa before they closed for the day.PSX_20160703_211148_edited

Our first overnight accommodation was of this character filled Airbnb, in the town of Crieff for more information head to its website James Cottage.  The owner was a very funny Irishman called Mike.  It was a visit of many ‘firsts’, the big one was our first taste of haggis.  I must admit I was definitely sceptical about whether it was going to be pleasurable or distasteful.  Another first, I was wrong. [I jest]!  The experience wanted me to search out more at a later stage, though like many things in life, the second time is never quite as enjoyable as the first.  Sorry no food porn, we were too busy eating!

Leaving Crieff, we headed to Lochearnhead [on the Loch Earn], Lochearnhead, Killin, Kenmore Bridge [the gateway to the Scottish Highlands], Taymouth Castle [with an excellent wool shop with a purchase of gloves and a scarf] then Tummel Bridge for lunch.

Curiosity got the better of us when we saw a group of cars situated opposite a railway track with people gathered with cameras dangling from their necks.  Could it be?  Maybe.  We were right.  They were waiting for a sighting of The Flying Scotsman.  After half an hour later in not good photographic weather, we were rewarded.PSX_20160702_212209_edited

Back in the car which saw us heading off through Dunalastair, Trinafour, onto the A9 and off at Dalwhinnie, Catlodge, Laggan, Newtonmore, Kingussie with the rest of the trip to Inverness on the A9.

It was an incredible introduction to Scotland’s countryside, and we were looking forward to exploring the more out of the way places around Inverness and further north.

Four words – off the beaten track. 

Though not straight off.  We had a few stops to go yet.

Where did we stay?

Inverness Airbnb  – it was in a lovely comfortable historic 1930’s house in Lakefield.

While based in Inverness we headed to the Western Coast, PSX_20160706_151902very rarely seeing cars whizz by just the wide open spaces of green pastures, trees and mountains with the odd bucket load of rain on our windscreens, we are in Scotland it was to be expected.

PSX_20160706_121620_edited
The Caledonian Canal with what appears to be the Lochness Monster in Dry Dock

PSX_20160706_171756.jpgThen there were the special days when the sun appeared, and we were rewarded with views that left us breathless. Below photo is of Ullapool.UllapoolA week later it was now time to leave Northern Scotland head down along the coastal road, as our housesit in Cupar was about to begin.  Here are a few highlights of our many stops along this incredibly scenic road trip.PSX_20160709_084457 PSX_20160708_124420_edited.jpg20160708_145718

North of the Wall

Till next time - Till an ath thuras2_edited

 

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58 thoughts on “North of the Wall”

  1. Scotland is one of my favourite places. Was lovely reading your post. We had a week last year in the camper van tripping about Scotland including the Caledonian canal. Loved it so much we want to do it again, but I’d like to go further up to the Highlands. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be fabulous although not sure if we’d be able to get all the way? We’re a broad beam canal boat so a little restricted. We’d love to do the Caledonian although probably in the GP14 that we have 😎👍 I’ve never actually been out in it yet though, so could be interesting 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The connections I find when reading other writer’s stories sometimes amazes me. In the first sentence of your post, when you mentioned the Scottish Highlands, I was hooked. The kids and I just read the book “Wee Gillis” by Munro Leaf, which depicts the story of a boy torn between joining one side of his family in the Scottish Highlands, and the other side of his family in the Lowlands. The books is a wonderful children’s book and a Caldecott Honor Book. Anyway, I enjoyed seeing all of the pictures and reading about your journey through the Highlands. Very interesting and entertaining! Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. North of the Wall had me in the realms of “Winter’s coming John Snow” before I even clicked on the link! Along with phrases such as “It’s grim up North” which is only there to keep the southerners out…so said a Geordie friend once upon a time. That one tickled me for a while as remembering it even now might suggest!

    I digress, wonderful place is Scotland and you have captured the scenery and ethos brilliantly in the photos. Last time I visited it was Edinburgh and the grey mist was present making the castle look aged and foreboding keeping watch over the city. Where on earth did you steal all that sun from?

    Brilliant summary of your trip and shows Scotland at it’s best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laughing at me stealing the sun 🙂 You are funny Gary and always a delight to get a comment from you!! We visited Edinburgh too, and we had 6 weeks in Cupar and every day it rained at some point, so it was just all about timing. The best day we had was along the coast! My husband is a fan of Game of Thrones, not I, and he is the one who gave me the title, so all credit goes to the Squire 🙂

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  4. Oh WOW – Just ♥ ♥ to visit your blog and read about all your visits and travels around the world. Placed I know that I will not be able to see in my lifetime, so taking it all in through your eyes. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome trip with us. Pinned this as well, just could not stop myself of doing so.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Suzanne, I ended up on a long detour reading the article you linked on Lockerbie. I had no idea about it. I was a child when it happened, so not terribly up to date on current events in the 80s, but I couldn’t stop reading. No wonder you were caught by such feelings of melancholy.
    But, as you noted, there are wonders in what you experienced on this trip too. The pictures, as always are gorgeous. Thank you for the history lesson and the moment to reflect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Angela, We remembered the event.
      Unfortunately, the world has not learnt from past experiences! It was certainly, a day to be thankful for what we have in life. Which we are! Scotland has vast lands of natural beauty it was wonderful to experience it. Thanks for commenting Angela, always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that you will use my blog as a travel planner, thanks, Phil. I am sure you have more priorities at the moment to do more travelling. We are an older couple with no children, which does make things much easier for us to do more travelling.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. These photos are absolutely gorgeous!! I’ve only been able to spend time in Edinburg, but heading north in Scotland is at the top of my list- the countryside is so beautiful, and it looks to be so quiet and peaceful. Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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