Saturday we went for a drive along the other side of Loch Tay to look at Castle Menzies at Aberfeldy. It was 5 pound entrance each with a guide book included and a very nice way to spend a couple of hours.
It belongs to the Clan Menzie trust (our former prime minister Sir Robert Menzies was a clansman) and is gradually being restored a bit but mostly they are just trying to preserve what it is. I guess we looked at 30 rooms including the kitchens, guard rooms, bedrooms, ball room, family sitting rooms and servants quarters-some furnished, some not. They now own the original walled garden area and are beginning to restore that too. After our visit to the castle we went to Dewar’s Whiskey distillery. It’s big and impressive, but I guess we’re not whiskey lovers so it wasn’t of much interest to us.
Dinner Saturday night was our roadkill pheasant. We laid bacon over the breast and roasted it, then served it with a caramelised onion, tomato paste and rose sauce. Roast potatoes and carrot and parsnip mas made for a perfect game dinner.
Sunday, I woke up about 5.30 and realised if we didn’t go that day, we’d never get to see Glasgow, so we got up (quite a bit later) had some breakfast and headed to Dunblane where we caught a train into the city centre (so much easier than finding and paying for parking).Glasgow was fairly jumping as all the shops in the CBD were open, the weather was glorious so people were enjoying late lunches outdoors, and lots of big buildings were having an open to the public day. There seemed to be a busker every 100 metres on every street, so lots of music and entertainment going on too. I wanted to see a man in a kilt-not a pretty kilt, but just a kilt and I did-he looked like a man in shorts and a t-shirt would but it was just a kilt. he wasn’t in a pipe band, or being married or busking, he was just enjoying the day in Glasgow (in a kilt). We had a fairly ordinary lunch in a really lovely spot outdoors in the CBD, then walked all over for the next 4 hours before catching the train back to Dunblane where we’d left the car. 45 minutes we were home in St Fillans 30 minutes after that, we were eating duck and chestnut mushroom risotto on our laps in front of the wood fire on our last night in the cottage. Today we drove the 107 miles from St Fillans to our next weeks accommodation at Fort Augustus on the very south end of Loch Ness. The drive was misty but stunning. We’d travelled some of the road before, but the turn off at Tyndrum took us into another world. All of a sudden, we were amongst the Munro’s (named for a man who documented all the peaks in Scotland over 3000 feet). A great road along rivers and lochs, through the high moors, with the mountains looming all around. We loved it.
In Lockerbie, on our first night in Scotland, the publican told us Loch Lomond surrounded by mountains,was beautiful but Loch Ness was quite flat and just a boring expanse of water. In a way he did us a favour underselling it-I was totally amazed by it’s beauty when we arrived.
We are staying at The Highland Club-a group of apartments set in a former abbey at Fort Augustus on the loch. Our apartment in the complex is right on the lawn which is right on the loch so I reckon I’m perfectly situated for some monster spotting. The complex has a pool, poolroom (with stained glass windows in the monks dining room), spa, sauna, gym, tennis courts, bbq, restaurant-it’s gorgeous.