Earlier in the day we had visited Culloden, Clava Cairns and a Clootie well. It was a lucky thing we wanted to stay three nights in Inverness, as there was so much to see. I still would have liked to do a tour to the Isle of Skye, but we just didn’t have time. The next time I am visiting, I plan on doing Hugh Allison’s tour of the Isle of Skye. The most scenic routes, I was told over and over were the single track roads, and if I’m driving, I can’t take photographs. And since I already know how absolutely fantastic Hugh is, this seems the obvious choice.
On the way to Cromarty Firth and the Foulis Ferry, we stopped at a place Hugh knew where the salmon were jumping and we took a stroll through a lovely area. There was a bridge suspended over the river where we were able to perch our cameras so we could get photos when the salmon attempted to jump upstream.
The next stop on our tour was The Storehouse at Foulis Ferry, on the shore of Cromarty Firth in Monro Country. I loved this little place. Long ago the Lairds would bring their tenant’s rent in the form of grain or livestock here to store until it could be put on a ferry or boat to be taken to a large city where the goods would be sold or traded for other things. The 18th Century Storehouse here was set up as a self-touring adventure with a movie at the end. Hugh added his own bits, and answered the many questions we had about how this arrangement worked.
There was a lovely restaurant with a view of the water where we ate lunch, which was very tasty. Baked potatoes with just about anything on them, sandwiches, soup, salads and a plethora of desserts. After we ate, we walked through the gift shop and then The Storehouse which was filled with scenes of a typical day in the 18 century.
We then headed for the MacKenzie Castle, but had a seal photo op at Loch Garve on the way. This is the reason a driver is a good thing to have. He did several passes so everybody in the car could get a shot, as it was on a busy road with no place to stop!
Hugh Allison told us that this is an actual MacKenzie stronghold. He also said that according to the author of Outlander, it fits her vision of the Castle Leoch of Outlander. It is occupied by the Earl of Cromartie, chief of the clan MacKenzie, and if you come on a day he is available, he will allow a tour of the inside. Unfortunately, he was out of town when we visited, so I’ll have to go with my imagination. I would not want to maintain the driveway!
The next place was found after the book was written in an effort to “show” what Lallybroch might have looked like. It is indeed, an 18th century dwelling, and serves as a Bed and Breakfast. The owners kindly allowed us to have afternoon tea here in the sitting room while examining weapons.
After tea, we headed to Beauly Priory. Although the Priory is amazing in its own right, I could not stop thinking about the 800-year-old Elm tree that marks the gated entrance. Being the skeptic that I am, I asked how they knew it was 800 years old, and he replied that they had maps dating back 800 years that showed the tree. If trees could talk, what a tale it would have to tell…
After we toured Beauly Priory, we stopped in at a local shop that sold wools and sgian dubh’s. The sweaters were beautiful knits of colorful wool, as well as ties and hats, and mens vests. After making our purchases, it was time to head back to Ardconnel House. But not before one last photo-op of Heather.