Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inverness and Skye

Thursday night, Nana and I left at 9:00 PM on the Caledonian Sleeper Train bound for Inverness, Scotland.  We arrived around 8 the next morning. Train ride was beautiful. Highlands are ruggedly glorious. The beauty is almost harsh, but beautiful all the same.  Inverness was smaller, and the view more hilly and jagged than I expected, but then again it is the capital of the Highlands. The thing I love about these Scottish towns is that there are so many old stone buildings, churches, etc., that it makes the town seem old and so full of history.  The land isn't marred by huge modern business... boxes... and such, but most of the businesses use these older buildings. Anyways, I liked Inverness. But then when we rented our car (Aunt Paula and Chloe got in on a train a few hours later), we all drove to Skye. And that... was... gorgeous.  It's so isolated - almost my kind of thing - and everybody is so friendly, not only to tourists, but also towards each other. And yes, everybody there has the coolest Scottish accent. And so I fell in love with Skye, and felt heart broken when we had to leave.

This owl was rescued.  You see odd things like this all over High Street (Inverness).  And he was so cute... This picture is for Duncan, who loves owls. :)
Chloe and Ruby at Loch Ness.
The Highlands on the way to Skye.
Eilean Donan Castle.  It was restored in the 18th century... we didn't go inside, but contented ourselves with taking pictures. :)
This horse is a thoroughbred Arabian Stallion. His name is Arabic, and his pasture extended to the front yard of the B&B where we were staying.  I snuck sugar cubes from the breakfast table and fed them to him, and then the owner of the place gave us some carrots to feed to him.  Oh yeah, and from now on, all the pictures are taken on Skye. :)
Taken in the walled gardens of Dunvegan Castle.  These gardens were amazing... They were so extensive, and I wish I could post all the pictures I took of them, but that would take up ever so much space.
Rush hour on Skye.
This picture was not doctored up at all. The sea is really that blue. :)
HAGGIS! Which by the way is EXCESSIVELY EXCELLENT! For those of you who don't know what it is, it's basically ground up sheep organs, (lungs, liver, etc) with ground oats, and herbs served (in this case) with a red wine and onion gravy, and "tatties and neeps" which are mashed potatoes and turnips. It was very very very good. Though this wasn't the traditional Haggis (which even some Scottish people say is quite disgusting) it's made with the same ingredients. :)
More later!


Anonymous said...

Oh Ruby! This may be one of my favorite posts that I've seen. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the picture of you and Chloe by the lake and the silhouette of the Donan Castle is a great capture. You were actually at Loch Ness! That is such a magnificent lake!! You didn't get attacked by the MONSTER did you???

Such unadulterated serenity! Wow, I'm so glad that you are there to see it and so glad that I know you so I can read this blog and see it too! What a blue, blue ocean! Amazing.

No ground up sheep organs for me thank you.....

Did you travel to Kilravock Castle a little closer to Cawdor? And did you go to Fort George on the peninsula near Ardersier? I believe that there have been lots of movies filmed at Fort George. Well, stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Hey it's me again. I was wondering, on your train ride down again, you just might not happen to stop on the way and visit Lyme Park will you? Or the Charsworth House? My! that would be splendid if you do.

Did you not go to Royal Albert Hall for the symphany while in London? Oh Ruby, don't tell me you missed that!! You didn't mention it in your London post.

That will be all for now,

James said...

Great pictures. Did you see the Loch Ness monster?
On Haggis:
Mom says it sounds really disgusting.
however, I think that having haggis would be one of the highlights on my year.
God Bless,

Hannah L. said...


Ashlee said...

O, Ruby! It looks as if you are having a delightful time! :) Thanks for keeping us all posted. I can't believer you actually ate the Haggis. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree Hannah! Let's sigh togther.


Anonymous said...

Wait I forgot Hannah, I can make this more emphatic (just to make sure Ruby doesn't miss it and that she knows that we are SIGHING ).


After reading over the comments, Ruby, I have to say; you know boys just have this random thing with poor, innocent girls being attacked by MONSTERS . Simply can't resist voicing it I guess. :-)


Hannah L. said...

Ryan, you always flabbergast me with your knowledge of European sights--back from Olivia's trip. Where do you learn this stuff?

I see you're making good use of your new techno-skills. (Oh, dear--I hope I did that right...:-P)

God bless,
~Hannah L.

Anonymous said...

Hmm; well you know Hannah, that question makes me think. What I guess I will say is that ever since I was roughly ten or eleven years old, I have been steadily developing a keen interest and drive to visit, study, and marvel at the infinite wonders of the world. Countless architectural wonders, geographical wonders, scientific wonders, botanical wonders, historical wonders and so on. They simply intrigue me insatiably and I love getting to learn about these famous or hidden treasures around the world. So, I actively pursue this erudition and imbibe any and every form of it I can when presented an opportunity to. Some examples of where I’ve learned about pulchritudinous and historical edifices is the Travel Channel and their online newsletter, the Concierge newsletter, lots of books documenting these types of places, Google Earth, movies, and other sources. One of my uncles gave me an enormous picture book Wonders of our World when I was ten and that book is what initially sparked my interest which is not yet extinguished. You are right; I especially am drawn to Europe. The Escorial in Spain, the Kremlin and Great Palace in Russia, the Hofburg in Austria, Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle; Europe is simply unbelievable! Waaaaay toooo much to see in one lifetime! But my travel lore is not confined just to Europe (no, no, I simply have to be cat with nine lifetimes!) ;-) I could tell you about Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Potala Palace in Tibet, the Red Fort in India, Fez Medina in Morocco, Hearts Castle in California, the famous Teatro Colon in downtown Buenos Aires, Rotorua in New Zealand and on and on. I just love this stuff as you can see. There are ever so many magnificent places to see in our world from so many civilizations, so many forms of awesome architecture and the grandeur of the Lord’s Creation is inexhaustible. That passion is equally existent to my passion for European travel. I love nature and am dumbfounded at some of the expansive vistas, incredible species, or humbling elements that God has included in His Creation. And this love of nature is now being translated into a zeal for the advanced sciences since I have been studying them in high school recently. (can’t wait to major four years of Advanced Biology and Botany before I go to the AANMC universities for grad school!) So, that is another growing pull which makes me want to go around the world to see the remaining beauty of Creation in its endless forms.

It’s been lots of fun knowing Olivia and Ruby while they have taken their two extraordinary trips because I’ve been able to relate to many places they have been going and leave eternally long comments that bore their good, kind blog readers to death! :-)

I guess that about answers it in a circumlocutory fashion.

Anonymous said...

Well after reading this list of comments again, maybe I should also remark on the locations I mentioned waaay above. They are remarkable atractions to visit.

Lyme Park is a famous private residence in Derbyshire which was used as Pemberley in the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. That is how I know of it.

The Chatsworth House must be one of the most well-known private residences in all of Europe simply because of its nearly unrivaled splendor. The estate lies on the banks of the Derwent River as it placidly curls its way through the gently undulating Devonshire countryside. It is the seat of the Dukes of Devonshire – which is the name for the affluent British aristocratic Cavendish family who has been influential in Britain’s peerage since the 1300s! (Look them up on Wiki; you won’t believe their lineage) You can read about the Cavendish family (and the house) in many English novels and there is an entire sector of wealthy London (Cavendish Square) named after them – as Ruby would have just read about in Little Dorrit. So that home is really world famous and it’s six Duke gardens are absolutely lovely. It is mentioned a few times in Pride and Prejudice and also Emma if I’m correct.

Fort George is well known because it had the largest artillery fortifications of any European fort in the 18th Century. And what is remarkable about it now is that it is open to the public for tours and visits but it is still being used as a viable fort for the Royal Regiment of Scotland. That is very unique and since Ruby is (was) literally within 20 miles of the place, I do hope she went and toured it because how neat is it not only to see an antiquated fort but also existing barracks for the Royal Regiment! And the fort is built from/on the remains of an ancient medieval caste of Oliver Cromwell. So, it is kind of well known for those reasons.

And, let's see, I don’t know how I discovered Kilravock Castle – other than I simply am enamored with all palaces and castles and love anything about them.  Probably from Google Earth. If you don’t have that program downloaded on your PC, it is amazing. (You must have High-Speed though) One can go all over the world there!! And see pictures of every single place I’m forever pining to travel to. :-) I love it and have discovered countless interesting locationsas a result of my “Google gallivants.” But, it doesn’t take the place of the real trip though…

Now I must say something to you, Ruby. You really should desist from being obstreperous and comment on this post. For goodness sakes girl, if you don’t so soon, James and I are going to begin thinking that you actually did get attacked by that pernicious sea villain. So, you need to stop ignoring the *sighs* and well wishes and Haggis and scintillating conversation and Say SOMETHING Girl!!
Even if it is "Ryan, stop commenting." That would still be something although you shouldn't say that because on top of this text box I read that you "love comments" and that I should "totally do it more often!"

That's all for now. :-)

Ruby Jean Hopkins said...

Alright alright alright! Hannah, James and Ryan! I am here, replying to your comments - completely at your service - but only for ten minutes. *wink*.

I did not go to Fort George, or the other places you mentions, I am sorry to say... You may find it odd, but my kind of tourism is something like getting a train to drop me off in the middle of the country, or on top of a mountain, and wandering and meandering until I find my way into a town, eat some cheap exotic food, and then wander all over again. I don't like to go to places with lots of tourists... And something that I learned when I was in England and Scotland, was that there are so many beautiful, old, historic, ancient - and any other word you can think to use - palaces, castles, towers, walls, fortresses, bridges - anything and everything.... and they are all simply breathtaking. But something that I realized is that all these things are made by men. Everything crumbles, eventually, and fades away. Nothing lasts forever. And no matter how glorious these buildings can be, no matter how much mystery and romance they hold in their ancient chambers, I still find the outdoors - the mountains, the rivers, the hills, the heather, the flowers, the grass, forests - or bleak moors - far, far more glorious and breathtaking, than anything else that I've ever seen. I enjoy beholding God's creation rather than man's inventions or works.

When I was in Scotland, I stood high on the slope of a mountain (and yes, Chloe and I climbed it - just stopped by the side of the road and did it) and I looked across the countless lochs, mountain sides tinged purple with the heather, meadows, old cemeteries with their white crosses framed by the bleak, grey sky - it made me think, how beautiful, how wonderful, how awesome our God must be, that he could create all this, by a word of his mouth. I found myself thinking, is such a thing as this even creatable?! But of course, that is as far as my human comprehension goes.

Our Creator is indeed very great. And I will probably forget the castles, and palaces, and gardens - but I can tell you for sure that I will never, never, ever forget the rugged, beautiful land of Scotland.

Of course it sounds gross... Even I'll admit to that. But it tastes much different, and I actually think it's something your mom would like. The traditional Haggis is very disgusting, but the kind that we had was very very flavorful - full of spices and everything.
Yes, we did see the Loch Ness Monster. And we brought it home with us. It's called Nessie in a wee box. :) Perhaps I'll post about it....

Yes, I can't believe that I did it either. Chloe and I were so nervous about the first bite, and then we stared at each other and immediately began fighting for the rest. ;) Okay, not literally... but we wished we had more.

Yes, I am making very good use of it. ;) And I have a picture for you... I shall send it as soon as I get home. :)

Alright, you all, if I forgot something, post a comment and I'll try to get to it asap!

Hannah L. said...

Ryan: Wow. Isn't it great to be homeschooled? :-)I love history, but my family has always been rather here-and-there with our study of it and we've never used a true curriculum. I can't wait until some of my schoolwork starts, "fading away," so I can actually pick up things like Dr. Marshall Foster's, "From Terror to Triumph," DVD series and STUDY it.
Yes, we have Google Earth--but I never thought about using it in that way! I'm totally going to have to look up some Scottish Castles now. And, like, places where battles happened, and things like that!
I love Scotland especially because Robert the Bruce was a direct ancestor of mine. :-)
And England because of the literature, among other things...

Ruby: *GASP* A picture?? For me?? I can't wait...

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are right Ruby. I agree with your deep appreciation for the majesty of Creation. No, no, I don’t find it odd in the least; rather, I find that mature and admirable. And I do love the resplendency of Creation as you do and your picturesque descriptions were pleasurable to read. These facets of the world are of God and will outshine and transcend any and every triumph of man.

Your second paragraph depicting your vista from the mountain incline is fluently masterful. It is so simply written yet captivatingly expressed. You express yourself effectually Ruby.
Glad to hear you and Chloe made it home safe and sound.

And yes, Hannah, it is an enormous blessing to be homeschooled and I have taken it for granted far too long. Only recently have I become fully aware of the sacrifice it was for my parents and I am now eternally grateful for what they have done for my future, character and potential. Marshall Foster is excellent. Go everywhere on Google, it is really an exceptional program.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Love the pic of rush hour on Skye!

Emma Howard said...

OMGOODNESS RUBY!!!!!!!!!! I've been waiting SO long to know somebody who's traveled to Scotland(or go there myself)! I TOTALLY agree with you about the Lord's glorious Creation! I think I'd rather spend one day roving and discovering in Scotland (and talking to all the people with their endearing and classic accents ;-), than a month visiting all the amazing, sparkling, and immense palaces and dwellings (not that they're not beautiful and breathtaking, they simply don't compare!).

Yup, you looked like you had fun, and no matter how good you tell me Haggis is, I'll never eat it if you prepare it Ruby. (JJ!);-)


Emma Howard said...

I tagged you Ruby, on my blog.