Showing posts from September, 2013

One Dead bat - day 7

And now for a few unique photos........


Garden Bird Feeder

Not sure what the Scots are feeding their birds, but they are brave little creatures .

Sam: Each adventure is a bit different and the places we visit and accommodation we stay in may vary from tour to tour.  We keep things unique so each group has their own special experiences.

Katherine - Our last night had a fitting end with a stay in a luxury country house where you felt like you actually lived there. Food was as gorgeous as the decor and the staff treated you as a VIP. Of course we ended the night with sweets and wine and stories. This experience was by far one of the best. 

Deanna - ...and so comes the end of our tale of adventures through the incredibly beautiful Highlands.  We have visited kirks, castles, pubs, and moors.  We have tasted wonderful whiskies, ales, and the best ginger beer I could have asked for.  Scot's stories capped off evenings of not so quiet laughter and warm companionship.  I think we have b…

One Dead Bat - a study in moss and stone

A study in Rock & Moss.

Gail: Great day on the nature trail, hiked to the falls, saw so many shades of green! Learned some Gaelic!

Sarah - The last several days have provided many opportunities for wonderful experiences. I've been horseback riding through the hills, had a marvelous boat adventure on Loch Ness, walked hills and viewed scenery the likes of which are not to be found anywhere else on earth. Currently, I am sipping wine in good company in a beautiful big hoosie awaiting a wonderful meal. I can honestly say this has been the most wonderful holiday in the most magical place.

One Dead Bat tour - day 5

No words today, just images to capture the autumn colours.


Our ancestors had a harder life than most of us unless they were of wealth and nobility.  Who amongst you would give up your power garden tools or grind your own oats to make porridge?
Katherine- For someone who hasn't read the Outlander series I am completely in awe of what I have been experiencing.  I am surrounded by history, discovering the nooks and crannies of highland life of past and present!  All in one day I was thrust into several different worlds and was able to become a part of lives that lived before me.

Gail - We visited a Cottars house. We learned about the housing, family structure of the time, tools, just the every day life.

Sarah -  I was struck by the ingenuity of the people, as well as by what was most evidently a hard and difficult life.  It was by turns fascinating and shocking to experience what it would have been like for the people of those times.

Deanna - Being an American, I haven't had an opportunity to experience historical context of a way of life …

One Dead Bat tour - music on day 3

Traditional music of Scotland is one thing our Outlanders seek.  We often take them to a traditional pub where the ale and the whisky are in abundance, as is the music:  Fiddles, banjo, guitar, bodhran, bones and spoons.  Here's a wee video shot by Scot to give you a flavour of the old and the new in the Highlands.

And why is it called the One Dead Bat tour?  It was the last item on the list of the objects found when the castle excavated the dungeon (along with bones, shoes, coins etc).  Our lasses were rather taken by it.  It has become the group's toast.  "One Dead Bat!"  c-c-Clink!


The beauty of the woodlands with the autumn light gives the colours an extra intensity.  The lighter leaves of the Rowan contrasting with the fully ripened Rowan Berries.  Autumn is a magical season made of thousands of small moments that your eyes capture and your spirit remembers..........

Gail:  The oral history is great. We visited a small Kirk, beautiful. The most unusal thing today are the different plants.  Those that we don't have in the States. So very interesting. Our guide, Scot is very knowledgeable! This trip is wonderful!!

Deanna - There are two different things I have become aware of...the first is the scent of the Highlands.  It smells like a living thing, full of life and earth, verdant and rich.  The feel of the earth as you step on it is like a cushion.  It cradles your foot and eases your way.  I expected this place to be beautiful but it simply cannot be fully explained, it must be experienced.

Sarah - This morning I experience sheer joy as we watch the fog drift…

Day 1 of The "Autumn Tour"

A Gentle Start & Beautiful Sunny Day
The "Autumn Tour" begins!  We have already been to a secret place where Bonnie Prince Charlie's grandson is buried.  Can't tell you where it is, of course, but suffice to say that there were white roses on the gravestone still.
Along the way we heard of amusing, pre-tour adventures from Deanna and Liza who arrived yesterday at midday and by 4ish were renting a car to drive themselves "two hours" to Dunans castle* (it's 3-4 hours away).  They first tried to drive into Edinburgh to their hotel.  That half an hour journey took 1 hour, much swearing and screaming after which Deanna rang the hire company and told them to come get the car, there would be no way on earth they would try to drive again in Scotland. 
Ah, they missed the FB and blog posts over the last few years about overseas visitors who tried to drive here "cos they thought it would be just like home"?  Ooooooooooh!  Stick shift, on the left hand…

Day 7 ~ Sheep, Dogs, Wool and Aye Fond Farewell

An Approved Tour!
This blog has been but a few of the excerpts from our adventures on The Jamie and Claire Tours and MacKenzie Adventures.  How do you find out about what we do and where we go the rest of the adventure? Join us on one of the journeys!  And here is a bit from day 7:

Percy: Thanks to everyone for accepting me, and this tour is now fully hedgehog approved. [That's Mike's friend, Percy who is a hedgehog.]
Mike: I Learned about wool, and sheep varieties today. Very nice people. Cool demonstration of the border collies' herding abilities as well, including the 5 month old pup who is super eager to participate. The warmth and charm of the small places we've been to has been memorable.
Rhonda: I Can't believe today is our last day. We spent the morning crafting with wool.  Now we are off to lunch at a cute little tea shop....much warmer. Sad to be leaving.

Liz: Once again I attempted to be crafty and got a wee fuzzy black teddy with tiny blue eyes for my effor…

Day 6 of Bold and Bonny

Cindy:  I have been thoroughly ruined. Scot and Sam have made my first trip to Europe very comfortable and easy. Hiking today "this is my Father's world-  all nature sings around me rings the music of the sphere"

Mike: The lodge is absolutely fantastic, and full of character, Rhonda and I love it. Yesterday we hiked to the top of the road and when Rhonda said she didn't have the words to describe what she saw, I said the word is "home". Today, a six mile hike through the hills that we had admired while driving south yesterday. Hills that we held hands and wished to have access to..... our wish came true. We will say thank you to Sam and Scot already, but thanks will continue long after we are home sorting photos in Canada. I came looking for myself, and some connection to a greater history - success. And a greater connection for two people starting anew.

Liz: Friday afternoon I walked into the 'hunting lodge' we were to stay at for the next 2 days an…

Day 5 ~ Cattle Reivers & Falling Waters

We venture south and head towards a lovely bit of forest and water.  Falling waters.
Cindy: Great hot chocolate, beautiful forest and waterfalls, fantastic accommodations and unbelievable views.

Water being the theme of the day, we pay homage to a water wheel.  No red bloomers, but still some lovely flowers lingering on from late  summer.

And then there was the 'Bull by the Horns' antics as Liz subdued the beastie, Rhonda snuck up on him, Mike, well he was the Bull Whisperer and Bonny was one of many photographers.  Cindy & Regina were in the background smacking their lips.... bad, bad!  (No Bulls were hurt or even harassed in the photographing, but Rhonda kept having to jump back every time the wee beastie moved it's head to avoid getting knocked over by the impressively long horn).

Together in the woodlands on a bridge, in a fairy wonderland, our Outlandish Spirits stop for a group pic before enjoying the peace & quiet of their walk back.

Liz: A Day 4 Addition ~ Yeste…

Day 4 ~ Hors'n Around

Our Bold & Bonny adventurers went horse/pony trekking today.  I can only compare their faces (the riders, that is) to that of a group of children; all smiles and anticipation.
The equine looked much more subdued of course.  They take it all in stride (no pun intended).

The new addition to the Magnificent Six....Number 7 ~ the young foal.

Bone of My Bone - the song in Gaidhlig

This post is not from the current Bold and Bonny tour, but from a wee whiley back in July (took this long to get the vid edited).  It's the blood vow, Bone of My Bone set to music.  Linda and Deb sing this song-from-the-musical in the Chapel where Jamie and Claire were married.
Miss you, girls!

Day 3 - The Bold and the Bonny Tour

The day belongs to our Romantic Couple.  Here they are in words and "cute video" (we went to Hoots for some live music this night).  We have called this Adventure, The Bold and the Bonny Tour.

Mike: Travelled part way around the world, sitting in a bar in Inverness, waiting for the nightly live music. The band steps up, and the first song is East Bound and Down, theme from Smokey and The Bandit.  Seriously!
Laughed out loud, and I have the original on MP3.  Otherwise, today was serious and sombre, a visit to the battlefield of Culloden that brought up strong emotion. Fantastic trip so far.

Rhonda: I saw my first castle today. It was meant for people my size. It was pretty amazing, but the best part of the castle was finding a small gate in the garden wall and stepping back into time. The trees had to be at least 200 years old and we found some foliage that looked like rhubarb right out of Jurassic Park. 

The "cute video":

Jamie & Claire ~ September, Day 2

Rhonda: Today started with a trip to a beautiful church from the 1700s. I had the pleasure of being the one to use the key to open the door, although a bit difficult as it did not work in the usual fashion. Many pictures taken, a reading and an intense emotional moment in the cemetery. It was amazing, beautiful and all that I could have asked for.

Mike: The hilltop church and cemetery was incredibly peaceful, and emotionally stirring with current events at home. Stopping for the trail walk, and enjoying the woods was perfectly in tune with what I hoped for. Walking everywhere in kilted glory feels natural already, like I was meant to. Loving this so much.

Liz: Today I got a chance to put into practice all the hiking I had been doing all summer. It was so worth it to enjoy the beautiful waterfalls and to just stop and listen to the voice of God as he whispered to me in the wind through the Scots Pines. Another incredible moment was listening to Scot read the account of Jamie and Claire&#…

J&C Sept - Day 1

It has begun! We're on the path of Jamie and Claire in the late summer / early autumn glow.    The colours are changing from multi-greens and purple to golden yellow, soft purple, bits of red.  Amidst our Outlandish Travellers on the September tour we have our own Jamie and Claire, known better as Mike and Rhonda.  They are our cute couple, holding hands as they climb the hill together to visit the standing stones.

Bonnie:  Here we are staying at 2 lovely guest houses.  Had a beautiful drive through some of the  Highlands with a picnic lunch atop a high hill studded with standing stones.  A wee shower caught us on the way back to the car.  Now we are on the way to dinner.  Lovely

Mike: Still adjusting to achieving a long time goal of just getting here. Hilltop picnic and losing myself in the scenery. Out to group dinner and first time wearing my new kilt in public - nothing but positive comments so far. Being here with someone special makes it fantastic.

Rhonda: Spent the afte…

Celtic Spirits - days 8-12

It's got to that time in the tour when the experiences are coming thick and fast and I sense that our pilgrims are aware of the final days.  As such, we have not blogged for a while, so below are what we have filled in along the way.

Day 8
Loreen: The final day on Skye finished with a perfectly entertaining viewing of the film "Whisky Galore"; layered Celtic storytelling at its best... a gift to see it first with the world's biggest fan of the film.

Loreen: Margaret Curtis! Let there be no mistake: she is a national treasure, a living, breathing, walking library of information and insight into the standing stone sites.  What a privilege to be in her company for a windy introduction to the nearly unbelievable mysteries of Site I.

Day 10
Kathy: Calanis site III ~ Wonderful ritual at the site of the maiden, mother and crone stones.

Loreen: We had the stones to ourselves on a Sunday...Wind! Rain! Clouds parting for the sun to suddenly illuminate the landscape. A feelin…