Sunday, March 31, 2013

Holiday to Inverness: Days 1 - 2

23 - 24 March 2013
Journey up and visit to The Black Isle

Rob, Brock and I are just back from a week's holiday staying at The Bothy, Croy, near Inverness.

On the day that we were leaving for our trip, our area was hit by a heavy snowfall, with drifting of up to 4' deep in places. Our nearest neighbours were completely snowed in, we were luckily able to get away as our house is on a hill with two directions to travel in.

We stopped off at Dunkeld for lunch and to give Brock his third walk of the day, along by the river. We found a cafe that allowed dogs, albeit in a tiny annex area. We stocked up on some nice wine and food at the deli before heading to Croy.

We arrived at 5pm and got the wood burning stove fired up.

On Sunday, we started with a walk along the River Ness, from the South Kessock area towards Inverness. We saw lots of interesting buildings along the way, but this graffiti caught our eye. (Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

Rob and Brock with Rocpool restaurant in the background. Rated the #1 restaurant in Inverness on TripAdvisor - but only has one vegetarian option on the menu!

Next, we headed to the Black Isle. The weather was cold, with an icy wind.

We walked Brock at Chanonry Point, then headed back to Rosemarkie for lunch at the community-run cafe on the beach.

The lighthouse at Chanonry Point

The beach looking towards Rosemarkie

Master Brock on the beach

Cromarty was our next stopping point, where we had a warming, 'luxury' hot chocolate in a cafe and bought some cheese, second hand books and handmade soap in some of the lovely, little independent shops there.

A view from Cromarty harbour.

We drove round a little more, before heading back for a glass of red wine next to the log fire at the cottage!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Loch Arthur Creamery and Farmshop

Rob and I took Brock for a walk near Beeswing today, then went on to the Loch Arthur Creamery and Farmshop.

This was our first visit to the shop in its new location; now in a large wooden building with a shop selling organic fruit and veg, local produce, wholefoods and fairtrade gifts.

There is also a super cafe within the building. It has a lovely, bright seating area with wooden beams overhead, a wood burning stove and wooden furniture. The staff are pleasant and friendly and the menu has an interesting mixture of choices. As well as the usual sandwiches, soups, cakes and scones, there are daily specials and light meals.

Rob ate a vegetable quiche with potato salad and side salad. I had a dips platter (shown below) with hummus, tzatziki, tomato & garlic dip, served with vegetable sticks, corn chips and olives. We each had a large cappuccino. The bill came to under £17.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Trip To New Lanark

Rob, Brock and I went to New Lanark yesterday. It is a restored 18th Century cotton mill village, with a visitors' centre, shop, cafe, roof garden and more.

On arrival you park in the car park above the village and have a steep walk down to it, with great views over the buildings and river. (Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

First, we enjoyed the walk alongside the River Clyde to the waterfalls, with Brock.

There are three waterfalls upstream from New Lanark lying on the Clyde Walkway: Dundaff Linn (3 metres) is the close to the village. Corra Linn (28 metres) is about 20-25 minutes walk, and Bonnington Linn (11 metres) about 30-45 minutes walk. The one shown in the photo above, is Corra Linn. The ruined Bonnington Pavillion (below) is situated high above the falls. It was a summerhouse for the aristocracy to view the falls in a mirror, or through the frame of the window.

The river levels were quite low, so it was not as spectacular as during our last visit. There is the Bonnington hydro electric power station nearby, which takes some of the water flow to produce electricity. It was the first hydro electric power station built in Scotland, in 1927.

We had lunch in the cafe in the village, set in a renovated mill. It is a huge space, still showing interesting features from its original use. The food is tasty, but the service was very slow. (I had to stand at the counter for 10 minutes, to order the food, as there was no one serving).  I had a melon 'boat', followed by baked potato with cheese and beans. Rob had a similar potato, and a muffin. His muffin was very good, as was my melon. The potatoes came with a pat of butter, crisps and salad. The salad was nice and fresh, with mixed leaves, grated carrot, chopped red pepper, onion, cucumber, and sliced tomatoes. The potato had been properly baked with a thick skin and they were a generous size. The baked beans were good and hot, too. We both had cappuccinos. The bill came to just over £16. Other options included salads, paninis, pies and soup.

The roof top garden is just visible behind the trees.

The gift shops sells various souvenirs, food items and organic wool spun in the village, which I would have been very tempted by if I was a knitter. If you are interested in the history of the village, there is a museum/visitors' centre to see.

Also in the village is a small shop selling sweets from jars and other gift items. We treated ourselves to some chocolate covered caramels for the journey home - delicious!

An interesting day out, but a lot of walking involved!


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