The Mountains are calling
and I must go.
~ John Muir
Scottish American Naturalist
I was so excited to be heading across the Highlands to the Isle of Skye but leaving Inverness was not easy. I vowed that I would go back someday and spend more time but I did have one thing left to do!
And please press play for music to go with the post!
I walked out of our cute little lane, umbrella in hand ...
and out of the neighborhood block ...
To catch a glimpse (and a photo or two) of Inverness Cathedral. I think the facade of the church is quite lovely!
From the Website:
The Cathedral is built of Red Tarradale Stone, with a Nave of five bays divided by columns of Peterhead granite. The High Altar and Reredos are of Caen stone. ... The Pulpit is of Caen stone and green marble and rests on short columns of Abriachan granite.
The white marble Angel Font is a copy of the Kneeling Angel Font by the Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen in Copenhagen, although the face is that of Mrs Learmouth, wife of General Learmouth who gave it."
I loved the angel!
Looking from the Cathedral grounds in the rain and out across the River Ness ...
And then we were off! We only drove about 20 minutes Southwest, past the northern tip of Loch Ness to Glen Urquhart High School in Drumnadochit. Ahead of the trip I had Googled a list of Highland Games for the summer of 2017. I wanted to see if any dates coincided with our road trip. Bingo! I found one right on our way out of Inverness on the exact day we were heading off to Skye!
One touch of Nature
makes the whole world Kin.
~ John Muir
Maybe the prettiest parking lot ever? And notice the change of weather!
Highland Gathering and Games
How fun! A local Highland Games!
My travel journal ...
Along with all the various sporting events, bagpipe, and dance competitions there were a few vendors, as well. This gentleman, below, carved and cast all kinds of Celtic and Pictish jewelry and little replica Pictish stones. He was super groovy and though in a t-shirt seemed that he could have played a character in Lord of the Rings.
He carved this in plaster first and made a mold before casting these miniature versions of stones found in Scotland. I went with pewter pins for my sister and I, and birthday earrings for the lady I work for.
He started describing to me what the various ancient symbols meant and I realized that he was more than just interested in the history. Perhaps he was living it all in real time? I wondered if he went out and performed rituals by the stones in the light of a full moon but decided that might be too personal to ask. I also might have a bit of a vivid imagination!
Oh, and I had a nice long chat with a Scottish gentleman who was Glaswegian. He was selling lovely handmade soaps but was telling me all about how Scotland is really its own country and that they should part ways with England and on and on. He also went into the the whole Brexit situation as I stood there smelling all the various herbal and floral scents of his vast soap collection. He was quite passionate about it all but I just enjoyed his rather animated Scottish brogue!
At some point my dad came looking for me as I was purchasing the soap which was the color of burnt sienna. I was told it was made with a plant that is supposed to keep the midges away. Even though I'd gotten the midge repellent I thought it couldn't hurt and I was a wee bit concerned about getting eaten alive on my big upcoming hike!
It was fun to watch the kids' foot races.
My dad, below, enjoying the games!
I don't remember what this thing is called that was being thrown into the air (below) but I think it's pretty dang heavy. Not as heavy as the big telephone pole they toss however! I believe that is the caber toss which sounds nicer but it is basically what they are doing.
Love the dancing. It's pretty similar (to someone like me who knows nothing about it) to Irish dancing but they do use their arms in Scotland!
After we had some meat pies and were on our way!
My dad and I were listening to my Scottish fairy tales audiobook (told by the Scottish actor who plays Ian, Jenny's Husband, in Outlander) as we drove through the incredible Highland Landscape. My mom had fallen asleep in the back at some point but now we had to wake her up!
We pulled off the road. "LOOK AT THIS!!!"
And as we drove into Glen Shiel it became more and more wondrous!
At this point my mom and I were both shouting "Pull over! Pull over!" My dad found a spot ...
If you'd have said to me that this is what heaven looks like, I would believe you.
Oh, these vast, calm,
measureless mountain days,
days in whose light
everything seems equally divine,
opening a thousand windows
to show us God.
Can you imagine living right here??!
It really may look a lot like heaven.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in,
where nature may heal
and give strength to body and soul.
Blessings and light!