Winding It Up
Written by Julian Lopez-Morillas   
Monday, 27 August 2012 18:55

    Well, our adventure is drawing to a close. Tonight, in Perth, is our last night but one in Scotland. The good luck we've had with weather all trip long has worn a little thin-- it started raining when we reached Inverness Friday evening, and much of Saturday was wet as we visited the Cairngorms; then, after a dry day yesterday, which gave us nice weather to see the Falls of Bruar (immortalized by Burns) and the fascinating Scottish Crannog Centre, it rained pretty constantly today. But we do have a promise of fine weather tomorrow, which should carry us by Lochleven Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned, and down to Dumfernline, our last stop before flying home on Wednesday.

    Our three days on Lewis and Harris were certainly a high point: not only the much-heralded standing stones but some amazing moorscapes, and unexpected pleasures like the exhibit of preserved "blackhouses," thatched dwellings where the islanders lived alongside their livestock, this one still inhabited as late as the 1960's:


    Thursday we returned to the mainland, taking the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry back to Ullapool:

    ...and the next day we visited the Knockan Crags geological site on the fringes of Assynt, an amazing stretch of country that offers views of Stac Pollaidh and my favorite mountain in the world, Suilven:

    Then Friday night took us to Inverness, where we stayed again in the tower room at the Ivy Bank Guest House, which our friends Anni and Jarion had introduced us to years ago. The last couple of days we've dawdled south, winding down. We did get to visit the Osprey Centre on Loch Garten, though we'd just missed the ospreys themselves, who had migrated south towards West Africa just five days before. Yesterday's demonstrations of Iron Age crafts at the Crannog Centre were another highlight. But we're running out of steam a little, and our thoughts turn toward home, to our house, our work and our cats. Once again the old rule seems to be borne out: no matter how long or short the journey may be, by the time it's ending you're just about ready to go home.