Fort Agustus - Arbroath

Scotland Travel Blog

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Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness

Had a lovely full Scottish breakfast in the dining room which had views of Loch Ness before starting on our way. Just out of Fort Agustus we stopped to take photos of some highland cattle before carrying on down the West side of the massive loch.

About halfway along the loch is Urquhart Castle, propped atop a rock close to the water, this is a popular monster spotting site and has years of history right back to 580AD.

We used the last day of our Explorer ticket and watched a movie about the history of the castle before wandering down over the freshly cut, manicured, green grass.

We strolled around the ruins, climbed spiral staircases up towers and took photos and did a bit of monster searching.

A very picturesque place and even better in the morning with very few tourists there.

Clava Cairns

Stopped along the road at Drumnadrochit to look in the Original Loch Ness monster visitor centre after leaving the castle then carried on to Inverness.

Drove through the centre of the large town (don’t know how we could have done it without the Tom-tom!) and along to Culloden. As we drove up to the site we could see a blue and a red flag, we thought they may have marked where the English and Scottish armies may have stood before they battled. Between these flags was a monument.

We went into the information centre but found out there was a charge so didn’t bother going out to the monument.

Carried on down the road and turned South over the rolling hills and through farms (the tom-tom just finds the quickest way to where you want to go - not necessarily the easiest) to Clava Cairns burial sites.

Loch Ness

Entered the site which comprised of 3 large burial tombs about 30 metres diameter and with a small opening path that lead inside to a small circular room. They all once had roofs but were now open air. The area was dotted with other large rocks and trees. We were the only ones there and when the wind blew through the trees and the leaves went flying through the air it was quite eerie.

From here we headed South along large plains before entering the Cairngorns national park. Went through tiny towns as we got higher into the mountains. These mountains were covered in Heather, unfortunately it was not in full bloom but very pretty nevertheless.

We saw a lot of farms around and the hills had weird patterns all over them, don’t know if they had been ploughed or what but we did see some farmers with controlled fires going so that may explain the patterns.

Cairngorns
Nearing the top of the range we drove right through a ski field. There were chairlifts and rope tows going up the hills on each side of the road, we have never seen anything like it! I would love to go skiing there one day.

Coming back down the range the scenery was just as nice and more and more trees started to line the road, All red, orange and green with their Autumn leaves. In one particular place we passed some ruined stone houses, which, with the trees and the landscape reminded of the areas around Roxburgh and the Fruitlands of Otago.

Back on the flatland, we stopped at Crathie which was only an information centre, but where Balmoral castle is. We went up to the gates but it was closed.

From here we headed East to Stonehaven and got our first glimpse of the North Sea.

Dunnottar Castle
Went through Stonehaven, past small fishing villages and out to Dunnottar castle.

Much like the road and walk down to Tunnel beach, we parked up and walked over sheep paddocks in the howling wind over to the cliffs.

The castle is situated on a huge rock, once part of the land 160 ft above the ocean and is joined to the mainland by a narrow ridge. We walked up along the cliffs and took some photos of both the castle and the view of the coastal cliffs stretching into the horizon.

Drove down the coast to Montrose and got photos of the welcome sign. To be honest the town didn’t look much, it looked very industrial and we didn’t stop again.

Continued down to Arbroath which, again wasn’t very nice.

Montrose

Here I realised I hadn’t printed out the directions to our accommodation and had forgotten the correct name of the castle! So we drove around for ages then rang James to get him to look on the internet.

Eventually found out the name an typed it into the tom-tom and away we went.

Ethie Casle is on a huge plain between Arbroath and Montrose and is a sandstone fortress dating back to the 14th century.

It is Scotland’s second oldest permanently inhabited castle and is now a private home and Bed and Breakfast.

We parked the car and were welcomed by the owner Kirsten De Morgan. She showed us to our room which was beautiful.

It was done in a traditional shabby-sheek style. The walls were cream with small cross while the curtains and bedspread/bedhead were a light pink with darker pink flowers. The furniture was white antique style and very girlie with dainty ornaments on every surface.

Ethie Castle

We had our own private bathroom which was just as pretty but in a green colour scheme.

That night we drove into Arbroath for dinner. Had a bit of trouble finding a decent place to eat but finally settled on a seafood restaurant on the harbour.

I had Mediterranean brushetta to start then a Seafood chowder as a main which was very nice.

Returned to the Castle and played chess on my laptop.

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Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness
Clava Cairns
Clava Cairns
Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Cairngorns
Cairngorns
Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle
Montrose
Montrose
Ethie Castle
Ethie Castle