Days 7 & 8: Friday 9 and Saturday 10 October 2009
We had planned to go to Aberdeen for the day, but instead decided to visit lots of towns and villages near to the sea, with the idea of viewing houses for sale and seeing what the areas were like.
Our mammoth drive included:- Charlestown, Redcastle, Avoch, Alness, Dornoch (that's Henry on the beach again!), Clashmore, Tain, Rosemarkie, Cromarty, Balblair and Resolis. Although we are not really that serious about moving, it's nice to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere different - especially somewhere right next to the sea... We gave each place a star if we liked it and a 'black spot' if we didn't. One day we will go all the way round the British coast line and finally find our ideal house.
One place we stopped at to walk Henry was the Clootie Well walk. The cloot is a piece of cloth that is tied to a tree near the Well as you make a wish. As the fabric slowly rots away, your wish comes to an end. We were told the story by a man walking his terrier around the woods. He had lived in the area all of his life and had made his own wishes, but was a bit annoyed that people had started to use pieces of plastic to 'cheat' the spell. I see from a website that the well was initially for pilgrims wishing to cure someone of illness. A piece of their clothing was tied there, and as the fabric rotted the illness disappeared. There must have been some semi-naked people going about as there were trousers, under pants, socks and all sorts of clothing tied up around the Well!
Good coffee and cakes were later imbibed at the Sunflowers Cafe in Tain - a nice, small town, where I found some lovely buttons in a second hand shop.
Much later that night we went to Nairn, to the Dragon Pearl Chinese Restaurant.
JKW: vegetable wan tans, with chili dipping sauce (shared), stir fried vegetables in Kung Po sauce with egg fried rice (shared), pineapple fritters with ice cream, lager.
RJW: vegetable pancakes, vegetable chow mein, coke.
Efficient staff and a relaxed atmosphere; several families with very young children were made welcome while we were there. The starters were the usual, unremarkable, deep-fried fare. The main courses were tasty, and included a good variety of vegetables, bean sprouts, mushrooms, cashew nuts etc. The fritters were hot, crisp, dripping with golden syrup and delicious. Recommended (if you're not on a diet).
Saturday came round all too quickly and we started off on the drive home. We stopped for lunch at one of our favourite towns in Perthshire: Dunkeld. It is very picturesque, with imposing buildings, the River Tay storming its way under the town's bridge and providing an attractive backdrop to the shops, cafes, delicatessen (Food For Thought - well worth a visit), a great hardware and kitchen shop, hotels and antique shops. The photo below was taken in March 2009.
We brushed shoulders with the rich and famous as we ate lunch in a cafe - Elaine C Smith of Rab C Nesbitt fame was also there!