It was a fond and freezing farewell on Sunday to Adam Sutherland's cottage
near Beauly. Needless to say, finding how to get down the hill was a hell
of a lot easier than finding how to get up it had been the previous day
- 8 identical turn-offs, 300 identical sheep and a conversation with a roaming
sheepdog, and we were still none the wiser about exactly where the cottage
A wild whim lead me to attempt a visit to a cousin and his family in Kiltarlity
- I hadn't seen him for about 6 years, and remembered
admiring his collection of 10cc albums as a child.
He'd swapped the albums for a couple of Tamworth pigs (ginger
like me - I felt strangely akin to them) and I was pleased / amazed
to find an army of other relatives had had the same idea as me and were
already filling the kitchen up.
Pete's wife Nicky coped admirably with this vast clan gathering, and
their two daughters wowed me with their incredible drawings of Highland
We exchanged notes on Guthrie heritage, in particular the castle and our
JM Barrie ancestry, for which Pete whipped out a family tree. I'm pretty
excited getting this ever increasing 'archive' onto the site soon ....
After a majestic glen-filled detour to pick up a transcription of one
of our interview tapes, we visited Culloden,
where the tasteless visitors centre was mercifully shut - it is still a
surprisingly bleak place. We arrived at Dores on Loch Ness after dark, and
fell prostrate at the first B&B sign we saw, so spook-filled were we.
Luckily they turned out be rather nice, though when the husband asked us
to help select the colour for the kitchen tiles, we knew it was time to
Spinning round the Loch, we took in the picturesque Urquhart Castle and;
Fort Augustus (named after a fattie who grew up to be the notorious Butcher
of Cumberland, apparently) where we witnessed some complex canal manoeuvring
(a canal seems very odd here) and an
Eastern European style greengrocers.
Webspinner of Strathfeffer beckoned,
and he luckily was well worth the detour. Strathfeffer was a spa town last
century and still has a genteel elegance with its monkey puzzle trees and
Webspinner, alias Mark, runs an
online Highlands magazine from this unlikely techno - outpost, and he
maintained a miraculously straight face as we threw together a
quick sound file from our indecipherable and highly unprofessional collection
Drumnadrochit, back on Loch Ness, was our bed for the night, with a
landlady who provided us with a few highly convincing Nessie anecdotes,
which we recorded for posterity. Maybe we found someone the BBC have missed...And
no, we didn't. See her, that is.
More laughably picturesque glens were traversed today, with a little
bit of performance in between. Yes, everyone else was donning their hiking
boots & rohans, but we climbed into our
full length kilts and posed instead.
Heading down Glen Morison, we turned off to Glenelg, in search of
Though there were no Murchisons left, their holiday home remains, and we
duly recorded this on the digital camera for Lachlan.
We are now firmly entrenched in our Skye B&B (a batik centre, but
apparently wearing thereof is not compulsory), revving up for a few days
Skye - 3rd April