Aberdeen, Edinburgh and the Highlands (Scotland)
The annual fishing trip was subject to a minor modification this year as we decided to go abroad to nurture a childhood illusion of the splendour of fishing in Scotland. For two of us the illusion of catching fish in Scotland is still just an illusion.
Travelling from Norway (Bergen) to Aberdeen is quite inexpensive; in fact it is rivalled by nothing if you disregard the horrendous costs of parking at Bergen Airport, Flesland.
Aberdeen is known as the granite city and the oil capital of Europe. Followingly our companions on the flight over, were of the gray and oily type.
Having identified our hotel which was centrally located at Crown Street – Butlers Islander Guest House – we made our way for Union Street to breathe in Aberdeen. As it was; Aberdeen breathed at us first – with a questionable breath – and we decided to grab a bit of lunch and be on our way to some more rural tourist attraction.
Lunch was consumed in the company of the Aberdeen eldars; A very conservative estimate says it was at least 50 years between us and the second youngest group of lunchers… However; the food was good so no complaints from us.
Stonehaven and Dunottar Castle
The choice of a rural tourist attraction fell on Dunottar Castle in Stonehaven. A bus brought us there and, after arming ourselves with one plastic bag of snacks and soft drinks each, we proceeded along the coastal path to Dunottar Castle looking like complete tourists.
Even though this was a SHORT trip we decided to try to get as much of Scotland as possible; therefore we needed to spend at least one night in Edinburgh in order to satisfy the whole company. So be it; at the IBIS Edinburgh, a hotel which had tried to save money at a late stage in the building process by hiring second rate craftsmen, for the carpentry work in the rooms and bathrooms. The hotel also advocated the very bad invetion called continental breakfast. The very thing people travel to Scotland to avoid.
Hamlet gone bad
Acting on the initiative of the two most culturally disposed of us (Anders and Harald) we went to the Royal Lyceum to take in a production of Hamlet set in modern surroundings, in which most of the actors in the end were killed by a gun which I can’t remember from the original by Shakespeare.
The two wiser members of our company (me and Håvard) were suffering. The rest of the audience wast just starting to understand why there was no scheduled interval in the play, in which case most of them undoubtedly would have left the theater, the street it is locates on and possibly also Edinburgh. Anyway – to every cloud there is a silver lining and so the play ended, most of the actors were shot and we could proceed to dinner.
After a good long shower I took the extra trouble of kicking my foot hard into a floor board in the bathroom and broke or seriously sprained a toe. PAINFUL!
Breakfast was interrupted by a fire drill; or at least what turned out to be a false alarm We had the pleasure of inspecting our fellow late sleeper guests different night garments on Hunter Square just as the rays of the morning sun caught the ground and another day at the Fringe Festival was kicked off.
The next item on our travel itinerary was to get ourselves to Edinburgh Airport and hire a car. By the time all the forms were filled in and all the mandatory optional extras were added the bill was raised one hundred and sixty percent from the original and we proceded to load our Ford Mondeo Estate which turned out to be a Toyota Coupe.
Approaching the Highlands, Dunkeld
I am aware that technically speaking Dunkeld is not in the Highlands; but it was on our route to the Highlands and isn’t devoted a headline of its own in my narrow and rather brief travel log.
Dunkeld is the town where the river Tay crossed our route into the Highlands and offered us an excellent change from highway driving. We enjoyed the view and a somewhat over-potatoed course at a pub.
The home of the smoothest and most mellow of highland whiskies also proved to be the hitherto smoothest part of the Highlands regarding the landscape. We drank coffee and consumed a very agreeable toffee like cake substance before proceeding to the garage across the road to ask for fishing permits and advice on local fisheries. This garage was the place to go to if you wanted gas, oil, milk, butter, fishing, hit men, travel tickets, whisky and a few other things.
We opted out fishing in Dalwhinnie after a brief look at the lake which was almost empty after a very dry summer. The area was nontheless very beautiful and gave us the opportunity to take some very nice photos.
The road to Inverness
We took the long route to Inverness from Dalwhinnie acting upon advice from a casual acquaintance made at an Edinburgh Internet Cafe; advicing us to drive via Fort William and on the nothern side of Loch Ness to Inverness. this trip took us along the river Spean down to Spean Bridge and then through Invergarry, Fort Augustus and finally Inverness. A number of scenic photo stops along the way, among others Urquhart Castle, made this a long journey and it was late when we finally arrived in Inverness.
Dinner was consumed at local pub/restaurant where we did our best; that is Harald did our best to drive the waitress mad by asking for a little too much documentation on the current stock of goods and ingredients in the kitchen.
Dunlichity was not the easiest place to find and we had to apply technology – our most excellent driving computer from now on known as E-lane – to find our way.
B&Bs – allthough a most agreeable form of accomodation – are likely to be a little hostile towards late arrivers so we were not so welcome as we might have been if we had come earlier. However, Dunlichity House B&B proved to be excellent and the hosts very accomodating and friendly.
The morning was spent by and in the nearby lochs where we fished and swam until noon when we thought it would be nice to go somewhere where we could be in a boat while fishing… The host suggested Loch Tarvie; and so we set out to conquer the scottish trout.
Mentioning Dingwall by its own headline in this log is rather over doing it a little, but at the time I wrote this it seemed like a good idea. Dingwall – as so many other scottish towns – is one of these places where you simply feel well. We felt well there over a period of 1 hour or so while consuming a large meal of different varieties of fish and chips.
On the advice of the couple who run Dunlichity House B&B we drove up to Loch Tarvie Trout Fisheries where we hired two boats and did ourselves some fly fishing – after all – this is what the trip was about (in the name).
The location of the lake was very scenic in the highland setting and accompanied by the beautiful weather it was unrivalled by anything we had previously experienced on the trip.
The night was finished off with a traditional Scottish tandoori meal in Inverness before getting back to the B&B to sleep.
All good things must come to an end; unlike Hamlet which was a bad thing that inevitably had to come to an end anyway. The day of departure was over us and only one quintessential activity was left on the agenda; whisky distilleries… many of them… plenty of them…
We decided to play it safe and visit Glenfiddich, a renowned distillery located in the midst of Dufftown; a rather modest but nevertheless really nice little town who bragged of being the worlds malt whisky capital.