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“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you can control it.” ~ John Steinbeck

June 15, 2018

Our first stop this morning was to the Speyside Cooperage. It is the only cooperage in the UK where you can experience the ancient art of barrel making. It uses traditional methods and tools since 1947.  Each year it produces and repairs nearly 150,000 oak casks used by the surrounding distilleries as well as distilleries in Scotland and around the world.  It was interesting to see the work being done by hand not machine to build and repair the barrels.  The workers are paid by each barrel they produce/repair and it is noisy, extremely hard physical work .

 

Our next stopping point was the ruins of Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Moray north-east Scotland.  It was raining and windy and cold when we visited.  The cathedral went through periods of damaging fires and attacks but the graveyard and large sections were still standing.

There were some unusual relics in the cathedral.

We headed north towards Nairn which is a town and former burgh in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is an ancient fishing port and market town around 16 miles east of Inverness.  More important than any information Google can provide, is that Nairn is the town from which the ancestors of Skip were from.  Skip had been there many years before and our traveling friends were kind enough to visit Nairn and see if there were any others who resembled Skip!  As soon as Skip exited the bus he chatted with a kind man and they spoke about their mutual relatives.  Alright, perhaps that was not exactly accurate but a kind stranger chatted with Skip.

The clan gods were not happy with Skip’s arrival however and the winds blew and the sea churned and yet it was magical, and I know meant a lot to Skip.

 

“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”   ~Marcus Garvey

We drove to the highlands and the Culloden Battlefield.  It is the site of bloody last battle of Jacobite Rising in 1745.  The quick and bloody battle on Culloden Moor was over in less than an hour, when after an unsuccessful charge against the government lines, the Jacobites were routed and driven from the field. Between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded in the brief battle.In contrast, only about 300 government soldiers were killed or wounded.

 

Our next stop was at Balnuaran of Clava.  There is a grouping of unique stones which are tombs from the Bronze Age.  They are unique and beautiful with stone paths forming rays out to standing stones.  All of the stones had to be carried into the area.

We returned to town to do a whisky walk in Dufftown.  It continued to rain and due to circumstances beyond our control we went with the flow and returned to the Craigeliache in Speyside to freshen up for some drinks and dinner and more drinks! (Imagine that!) to prepare for more adventures tomorrow!

 

“Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whiskey.”

~ Ernest Hemmingway

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