Thursday, October 4, 2012

Scotland Recap Part 5

I'm recapping my awesome trip to Scotland.  

I realized I didn't actually finish telling you about Day 6. (I know, you're like, "WHAT MORE COULD SHE POSSIBLY HAVE DONE IN ONE DAY?!")

But don't worry. Mostly I just left out dinner. After our amazing day of driving and sightseeing around the Trotternish Peninsula, we were tossing around ideas for where to eat dinner and finally one of us just asked a random lady passing by if there were any good pubs in the vicinity. She pointed down the street we were standing on and said, "The Isles Inn is just on the corner there. Can't beat it!" So we popped in, looked around, and decided it fit the bill.

I had steak and ale pie, which is basically beef stew with a big puff pastry "topper." It was absolutely splendid.

There, Day 6 is finally recapped.

Day 7: We checked out of our B&B and said goodbye to Peter and Marina, then set off for a looooong drive from Skye to Pitlochry. (Yes, I slept for much of it.)

The Carneses with Marina, our lovely B&B host at Cruinn Bheinn.

Eventually we made it to Pitlochry, checked into our next B&B, Bruach Mhor and relaxed for a bit. (Okay, Joe and I relaxed while Ben and Pauli graciously did all our laundry. I know, we're such spoiled kids. But they offered!) Later we had dinner (for the first of several times throughout the remainder of the trip) at the wonderful Moulin Inn. This place has been open since 1695! Clearly they know what they're doing.

Anyway, I must've been a zombie on Day 7 because I have NO more pictures from my camera. But it was mainly a travel day, so that might have something to do with the lack of pictures, too, considering travel is synonymous with sleep for me.

Day 8: Okay. This was the day we basically planned our entire trip around. The Braemar Gathering. About two years ago when we first started talking about a Carnes family trip to Scotland, Joe heard about this hugely-attended Scottish gathering and was determined to make it happen. We've been to plenty of Highland Games in the states, but it's a whole different thing to be IN SCOTLAND at a gathering of the clans. Since I have a TON of pictures from this day, I'll let them speak for themselves.

Basically, we sat in an enormous outdoor stadium where anywhere from three to ten different events (or "games") were going on at once. There was tug of war (WAY more intense than when you played it at recess); caber tossing; highland dancing; "weight over the bar"; a hill race; and a bunch of other track-and-field races, along with a sack race for the kids. Oh, and there were ELEVEN pipe bands, which played individually throughout the day, and then twice as a mass band marching around the field. So, yeah. It was epic. Read the captions for more details. (Also, I don't know if I've mentioned this in previous posts, but you can click to enlarge any of these pictures!)

One of the pipe bands playing informally outside the Clan
and overseas visitors' tent.

Intense Tug-of-War. The teams were all various military factions,
and they meant BUSINESS.

See? Hardcore.
Oh, by the way? It was SUPER cold and SUPER windy that day.
I was wearing like six layers, a scarf, and gloves, and I was still
shivering. But Joe wore his handsome snap-brim cap! I love how
he looks in it.

A glimpse at the mass band (all 11 together) exiting after their
first performance around the stadium.

Official soldiers lining up for a very special entrance.

The clouds parted just in time for the honorable guests to arrive.

Here's a glimpse at how many people were there. I think it was
over 10,000? You can also see where the Tug-of-War teams totally
demolished the grass after a few rounds!

Here come the special guests in their fancy cars!

Right onto the field...

Do you know who that lady is in the white hat? IT'S THE QUEEN!

Yep. That is Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.
AWESOME, right?

Here comes the mass band to play for the queen and the rest of
the royal party in attendance.

The sky stayed pretty the whole time the queen was there (about
an hour total), and as soon as her car drove back out, it got foggy
and windy again. She has magical powers, I tell ya.

Caber toss. This stuff is not for sissies.

And here's a video I shot of the royal party exiting the stadium. You can also see a bit of the caber tossing, the band leading the party out, and then, in the last 20 seconds or so, THE QUEEN WAVED RIGHT AT ME! (Okay, so maybe we didn't exactly make eye contact. But she was 30 feet away from me, and that is pretty stinking cool. How many people can say they've been that close to Queen Elizabeth II?)

After yet another excitement-filled day, we wound down with a pint or two at dinner -- our second night at the delicious old Moulin Inn pub. (I had the most delightful macaroni and cheese!)

Next post, I'll cover at least two days, maybe more if I get ambitious!


  1. She looked up into the crowd and said "Who is that beautiful blonde and who is the guy in the dapper cap?" I love the enthusiasm you convey in telling about your trip. So happy you and Joe got to go!

  2. What a day! All the pageantry, my only wish is that Grandmother could have taken a trip like this in her lifetime.
    All your photos are stunning, loved the video and your storytelling is delightful. I love you and am so happy you were able to experience this trip with the love of your life. xoxo Aunt Diane


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