In which Whimsy visits The Scottish Highlands

Lil’ Whimsy did visit the Highlands.  Sort of….   First, she went missing in Amsterdam, nearly inspiring a post about her liking it enough to stay there.  We’d been to dinner, had a glass of wine and Lil’ Whimsy slipped under the table.  No, she wasn’t sloshed! – she just got left behind, fallen unnoticed til the next morning.  Headed to the airport, we contacted the restaurant owners, who were happy to mail her over to Edinburgh for us.  Meanwhile, we left for The Highlands, & a gray Knitting Sheep gladly stepping into the starring role of Lil’ Whimsy, for travel blog purposes.

Lil' Whimsy off to Scottish Highlands Highlands views

A travel site quote:  “Welcome to Scotland’s Highlands and Islands, a magical land of immense natural beauty, where the scenery will take your breath away, the flora and fauna captivate, and the attractions and activities excite and appeal.”  All true.  Our 1st stop:  National Wallace Monument.  Remember Mel Gibson in Braveheart?  That’s William Wallace.   Okay, so only 246 steps up to the top for a stunning  panoramic view of  of Stirling, and the river loop site of the famous battle at Stirling bridge + 8 battlefields around it.  Inside is a setting with filmed reenactment of William Wallace on trial.  Lil’ Whimsy firmly sides with the prisoner.

Wallace MonumentWallace film faceWallace trial reenactmentWallace's guardsman

Wallace monument turretsLil Whimsy in a monumental nicheMonument stonework

IMG_3506 Whimsy views Sitrling

2nd stop:  Loch Ness.  We drove along the perimeter of this beautiful loch, passing towns with terrific names like Drumnadrochit.  Hard to see past visitor center shrubbery, better to view Loch Ness from the road, en route to Oban.

Loch Ness view Lock Ness

IMG_3565 We stop for Hamish

3rd stop:  a roadside pause.… en route from Inverness to Loch Ness, & on to Oban bay, Jenna suddenly squeals “Oh LOOK!  It’s a Hamish! Can we pull over?”  Apparently she is smitten by the cuteness of Scottish Highland Cattle.  It might be our only chance to see them up close!  And, there really is a famous Hamish

Highland cattle kissesWhimsy cozies up to cattleWant some grass, Hamish?Getting closerrrrOops, startled him

Scottish Highland cow up close  Sturdy Highland cattle

4th stop:  Oban bay…..at last!  And the scenery just keeps getting better…  We checked into our bay side Bed & Breakfast, then climbed the hill for a better view of the town & bay.

Oban map Oban & Kerrera island Oban bay Oban bay ferry                                               1st day:  wandered around Oban, climbed hills for view, went dock side for the freshest seafood meal EVER.  We had seen the crabs, fish, bags of muscles, oysters & hand-size scallops being unloaded just within that hour.  Shortly after, we were consuming hot steamed shellfish and it was incredibly delicious!

How fresh was the seafood? Freshest Seafood Freshest seafood meal ever

2nd day:  We rented bicycles & took a tiny ferry across to Kerrera Island, with it’s Gylen castle ruins, and estimated 40 island inhabitants.  I guess they didn’t count all the Scottish Blackface sheep!  They were everywhere we looked and I got as close at 8′ for the photo.  Check out the handsome ram posing all wind-swept and elegant for me!

Ready to cycle Kerrera island Scottish Blackface, I got this close Cycling Kerrera island Handsome Scottish Blackface ram Kerrera island views

Whimsy at Gylen castle Yoga daughter & Gylen castle Oban docks

Oban is a busy fishing area, with small ships to & fro all day, except when a WHALE wanders into the sound!  While we had been cycling on Kerrera, we missed the rare whale sighting in Oban bay that had the town abuzz.  Our ferryman said the larger ships were suspended – to give the whale some peace while it lingered close to shore.  Behind the news photo of the whale’s tale, see the buildings at water’s edge?  See the red Youth Hostel sign?  Yeah, our (wonderful!) Kilchrenan House B&B was just to the left.  We just missed see a whale up close and how close would we have been?  Bret at waters edge below:  THAT close!   Argh!

Whale woulda been THIS close Sheep skull souvenir  Seashell souvenir More Periwinkle shells, Kerrera

Above are a few souvenirs from Kerrera island.  A well aged sheep skull (stayed with daughter in Edinburgh) and colorful Periwinkle shells scrounged off the shore while waiting for our ferry ride.

Despite missing a whale sighting, it was such a wonderful visit  to Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Oban & Kerrera island.  Those were crisp, happy days spent in the company of my family & loved ones, in a beautiful setting far, far away from home.  I’ve left (white) Lil’ Whimsy in Scotland to have additional U.K. expeditions, and brought (gray) Lil’ Whimsy home with these photos & more, to remind us of our Grand Adventure.  Now we’re home in Portland, and i’m eager to get busy prepping for Black Sheep Gathering 2013.  We hope to see lots of you there!

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