Saturday, September 20, 2014

Little time for blogging

Oh my!  It's been a long time between posts.  Of course, school has started, and I have a rather busier schedule than before.  I am taking two classes, auditing one, and working about 20 hours on campus.  I did manage to submit my thesis proposal to my committee finally. I hope to hear from them next week because I have to submit paperwork for an IRB (Institutional Review Board) since I am studying humans.  Actually, I'm just studying language, but I still need an IRB. I'm afraid I won't have much time for blogging this semester.

We do have a little news.  We adopted a sweet 13 year-old Himalayan.  Her owner passed away, and she was adopted by someone else.  However, that owner wished to get rid of her because she was scratching the furniture.  I was very nervous about it, but we took the plung.  Little Cinnamon hasn't done much clawing at all, and she's getting along very well with Mittens and Popeye.  

Mike has been trying to finish our hallway before our big Thanksgiving party.  I know it's tough for him to do it alone, but he's been doing a great job.

I think that's it for news.  I'll try to post from time to time, and, with any luck, I'll have more time after the first week of December.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Touring the U.K. Day 5 - England

Day 5: Perth to Bowness-on-Windermere

We got up early on Thursday and began driving south.  Our first stop was in Stirling, Scotland.  Even though we didn't have time to go inside, I wanted to see the National Wallace Monument.  It was completed in 1869 to honor William Wallace who helped lead the Scottish to victory against the English in the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297.

Another happy accident got us to the the Stirling Old Bridge which was built in 1500.  It is just south of the 13th century bridge that Wallace prevented the English from crossing in 1297.

Now it was time to travel south to the Lake District in England.  Jane Austen fans will remember Elizabeth Bennett's attempted trip to the Lake District with her aunt and uncle. 

As we arrived at our first stop - the Castlerigg Stone Circle - the rain started.  We waited quite a while to get a photo without tourists in it. The Castlerigg Stone Circle is dated around 3200 B.C.E. 

Super-cool stone stile

This road is called Castle Lane.  It's a one lane road used mostly by the ranchers.  According to the map, this tiny road led to the main road.  Mike decided to try it.  Nerve.  Racking.  The map was right.  At the end of the lane was the main road.  So glad we didn't meet another car.

Our next stop was to the foundation of an old Roman fort in Ambleside.  It was really impossible to take good shots of it, but we did meet a night lady and her dog Kip.

We traveled further south to our B&B, checked in, ate dinner, and hiked up to a ridge to see the sunset.  Unfortunately, the clouds had set in.  Still, it was lovely.

The following morning we left a bit late and headed south toward London.  It was a nightmare of a drive.  Road construction and traffic between Liverpool and Manchester was atrocious.  In one hour we moved less than a mile.  We exited as soon as we could and took the back roads to get past Birmingham.  We arrived late in London and went to bed without eating.  The next afternoon we flew home.

We had a great time on our super-short British road trip.  I really enjoyed the time away and was able to recharge for the coming semester.

Touring the U.K.  Day 1 - Scotland
Touring the U.K.  Day 2 - Scotland 
Touring the U.K.  Day 3 - Scotland  
Touring the U.K.  Day 4 - Scotland

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Touring the U.K. Day 4 - Scotland

Day 4:  From Kyle to Perth

Thinking we had a long day ahead of us, Mike and I left Kyle early on Thursday morning.  We headed north toward Inverness.  We stopped along the way to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish Highlands for the last time.

Skye Bridge and Loch Alsh

 Loch Carron

 Loch Carron

 Loch Carron

 Loch Carron

We stopped in Beauly to see the old Priory.  Likely founded around 1230.  Today only the abbey still stands.

After visiting the Priory, we traveled east to the Culloden Battlefield, the site of the confrontation between the English and the Jacobites in 1746.  The struggle of the Jacobites is a long tale woven through the fabric of Scottish history.  This is a small piece to the puzzle.

Farmhouse where the English received medical care after the battle.

From Culloden, we traveled south to Perth.  Mike, convinced he took a wrong turn, began to turn around in a road, and then I saw this:

The Culloden Viaduct.  It opened in 1898 and is the longest masonry viaduct in Scotland.  Very impressive.

We managed to get to Perth, and we took a walk along the River Tay around sunset.  It was overcast and freezing, but there were a lot of fly fishermen there.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Touring the U.K. Day 3 - Scotland

Day 3:  Touring Skye 

We left Kyle early and began traveling toward Dunvegan.  As usual, we found many places to stop and enjoy the view.

 Ardtreck Point Lighthouse, Loch Harport

Loch Bracadale

Dun Beag was built in the Iron Age, about 1900-2300 years ago. 

We arrived at Dunvegan Castle in the early afternoon.  The castle is still owned by the original MacLeod family and was built around 1350.  It is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland.

Along the small islands bordering the castle are loads of seals.  We took a brief boat ride out to see them.

 A six week old seal.

From Dunvegan Castle, we traveled north to Waternish.  We booked a boat cruise around Waternish Point and several of the small islands.  This was a hunt for whale photos.

Cow - check

Waterfall - check

Lighthouse - check

Orca whale - check
Can you see the elusive killer whale?  He was very difficult to photograph, and he's not in focus but at least he's there! 

Birds - check

Arches of Ardmore - check

On the return boat ride, our captain took us to see Isay Isle.  It used to be inhabited, but in the 1850s the landowner decided he wanted everyone gone.  Old stone houses are now abandoned and have fallen into disrepair.

 In the 16th century, this old house was the site of an evil, vindictive plot.  Roderick MacLeod wanted to make sure that his branch of the family inherited the land so he held a banquet and called the heirs out of the banquet hall one by one.  He had led them to believe he would tell them some good news. Instead he stabbed them one by one and wiped out two family lines.  Nice guy!

We made another quick stop at Mingay Isle.  This old building was the site of sea kelp operation.  They gathered sea kelp and burned it to make potash.  The operation stopped long ago.

Soon the cruise was over, and we started our trek back to Kyle, stopping in Broadford for our last dinner on Skye.

Day 4 would find us leaving the Highlands and heading for Perth.

Touring the U.K.  Day 1 - Scotland
Touring the U.K.  Day 2 - Scotland
Touring the U.K.  Day 4 - Scotland 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Touring the U.K. Day 2 - Scotland

Day  2:  From Fort Augustus to Kyle of Lochalsh (via Eilean Donan and Uig, Isle of Skye)

On the second day of our tour, we drove down to Loch Ness for some quick photos.  It was freezing!  The wind was blowing in off the lake and the waves were choppy.

Also on the lake is an abbey and school.  Unfortunately, the whole center was closed in the late 1990s and the buildings were converted into apartments.  As you might expect, there are some dirty secrets hidden in these walls.

After leaving Fort Augustus, we traveled north, stopping at the Dundreggan Reservoir for a photo op, and shortly after we found a quaint cafe to visit.  We also found their "hairy coos" in the front.

There were so many places to stop the car and look at the beautiful scenery.  

Eilean Donan Castle was the first castle we visited on our trip.  I have never seen the movie, but if you watched Highlander, you might recognize the castle. The first castle built here was constructed in the 13th century (sometime before 1250).  Sadly, the original castle was partly blown up from the inside during the Jacobite Rising of 1719.  The family rebuilt the castle in the early 20th century and used it as a vacation home until the 1980s when it was transferred to a trust and made open to the public. 

From Eilean Donan we traveled north to Kyle to check into the hotel before heading up to Uig, almost the tip of the Isle of Skye.  We were searching for a place called Fairy Glen.  It was formed by landslides and glaciers.  Very beautiful.  Now it is someone's sheep farm.

On our way out of Fairy Glen, we stopped to photograph Uig Bay.

Then it was back to Kyle.  We stopped off to shoot a waterfall and the sunset over Broadford Bay.

Day 3 was going to be busy so we headed back to the hotel to get a few hours sleep before heading back to Skye.

Touring the U.K. Day 1 - Scotland
Touring the U.K.  Day 3 - Scotland
Touring the U.K.  Day 4 - Scotland