Scottish girl in a UK world…

Never fear, darlings, my pictures are coming soon…with a misplaced internet USB connector to my laptop, they are frozen in time for now…

My friend and I returned from a lovely trip to Northern Scotland where there was a gorgeous layer of snow welcoming us.  Others may balk but it was exactly what I wanted – a quiet getaway in a small town where my family’s origins are.

Soon I will show you some of the amazing moments I have via photograph, but in the meantime, a little greatest hits to touch on…


* People are just as (if not more) friendly than Oregonians.  [Not the case in London where New Yorkers seem like nice country folk in comparison.  Yes you know this means I am deliberately smiling obnoxiously happily at everyone on the London Underground tube!!  I smiled and pointed at a fellow passenger’s identical adidas messenger bag to mine and first he thought I was threatening him, then I got him to laugh – victory is MINE!].

* Robbie the bartender at the Craig pub in Grantown.  Did you know Craig is pronounced ‘crack’ and means FUN.  Love it.  He greets all patrons with an offensive phrase and serves up the best Speyside malts and whiskeys.  We planted ourselves nightly there next to the fire and became regulars quite quickly as they learned our names.  Robbie and Ian may have run away with each other into the sunset if I’d have let ’em (both are massive Laurel & Hardy fans). And he introduced me to a lovely Longmorn whiskey which became my glass of choice each night (okay, well 3-4 glasses…).  Ian said the prices in Scotland are also much more affordable at the pubs.  Robbie’s dog’s name?  Animal Lechter…

* Breakfasts at Dunallan House.  What a great B&B – not only was the room and the giant clawfoot tub lovely (and the views of town and surrounding Cairmgorns), but coming down to the lovely food (sorry Sarah B, I didn’t photograph every waking moment so use your imagination) that Jayne made us.  David picked us up at the Aviemore station and drove us the 14 miles in blinding snow to Grantown, where I was immediately seated down with a french press coffee and the most luscious smoked salmon and scrambled eggs imaginable.  We had homemade waffles with honey and lemon the next morning, and I did the traditional Scottish breakfast (bacon, eggs, blood sausage, beans, etc.) one day in my efforts to try new things – the beans were gnarly (just canned baked beans), but the blood sausage was decent (veggies don’t gross out – we’re talking pig’s blood sausage) as it tasted like any other pork sausage.  “Poached” eggs actually means sunny side up it turns out.  Along with this was the most lovely bowl of fresh fruit with yoghurt, honey, etc.  Sigh…

* Big Trees and Big Snow.  We were thrilled with all the snow!  Unlike the freak-out on the news, it was not that icy cold. PDX the week before was much worse.  Just below freezing and usually fairly clear, we headed out on several walks through the Woods and the quiet was amazing.  Glad we didn’t bring Moon though as it was taller than him!  The big trees reminded me of the Northwest.  Ahhh…. and remember icicles?  I’d forgotten those…

* Little Shops.  Grantown ‘Dairy’ was a small storefront with a teensy assortment of produce, jams, chutneys, dairy, etc.  There was a meat shop and a kilt shop and a fishing/tackle shop, a few pubs, a grocer, and some pubs.  Super sweet people everywhere we went, all wanted to chat and if we go back we have a contact of a place that takes dogs (right across from our current b&b).

* Savory Pies.  ’nuff said.

* Castle Grant.  Now private property (restored by Craig Whyte who owns the Rangers), we took the walk down Castle Road in the snow, to the gate house where I nearly cried when I saw the family motto and crest.  We walked down the mile or so country road to the gate and I saw it, through the trees.  Lovely lovely lovely.  Not a King Arthur type castle, but rather a gorgeous countryside estate.  If it weren’t for the man on the tractor, we’d have trespassed further…

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