Sunday, 25 May 2014

May part 2

We have renamed the tour!  We are "The Sampled Not Shared" Tour.  It sounds innocent but it's actually a bit rude involving Sean Connery and Roger Moore.  You had to be there.

Some gems from the last few days.

Scottish Wild Blue Hyacinth along the burn

Name:  Kirstin
The Lands of Loyal is such a gorgeous hotel!  We enjoyed a beautiful walk up a farm track to sheep pastures with gorse in bloom.  The views at the top were worth the hike!

Name: Debbie
The Castle Leod yesterday was wonderful, and the hike afterwards [above Loch Ness through the forest] for me was the highlight of the day.  I loved the walk through the village.

Name: Cristi
Scenes from the hike... the red frog on a rock, the ram that posed for us, the frisky horse that begged us to feed him grass!!  Ransoms!!!  [That's wild Garlic]

Name: Alice
History and Scotland coming alive have been the fulfilment of a lifetime!

Name: Dianne
Yesterday's visit with Lord John [chief of clan MacKenzie] was amazing, his history and the tales of his ancestors were fascinating. Our hike today along the stream and waterfall was ethereal [a beautiful gorge walk]. The stately trees, the wonderful ferns and the moss covered rocks and bridge were magical.
Cathedrals of Wood

Name: Wendy
Today's hike behind the shooting lodge [our  accommodation] was fun and fantastic; meeting the farmer, Graeme, who gave us permission to go over his fields to the top of the ridge to see to the other side where Mary Queen of Scots would have stayed (40 miles away).

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

May - The Birthday Tour part 1

The May tour 2014 has begun with twelve Outlandish Spirits on the trail of Jamie and Claire.  First stop, Cranesmuir and the house of Geillis Duncan.

Gem of the day in one sentence. Today we explored "Geillis Duncan's garden", so beautiful and peaceful and in back of a preserved house, with cunning stonework and hidden stairways to explore.

Your hosts:  We're going to do the blog a bit differently this year.  Each guest will give a gem of the day, some written, some in video form (more of later).  Why? To give you a sense, in poetic form, of what it might be like to be in the Scotland of Jamie and Claire, via the words of your fellow Outlander fans.

Gem of the day, how appropriate, Mr Fraser.

Kirstin, Gem: The restored Catholic church on a hill, representing Claire and Jamie's wedding site, was perfect with its peaceful and rustic beauty.

The path up to the Chapel

Name: Gil
Loved the church on the hill - the common bond of humanity.

Name: Dianne
What a thrill to be the one to hold the ancient key and unlock the lovely chapel door!  A truly spiritual place with the surrounding mountains and snow capped in the distance.

Name: Wendy
Experiencing what would have been real-life survival for "real people" in the 1700's and learning my family would have been naked at my lack of spinning skills!

Name:Chris: I like my 21st century amenities! As a 25-year airman serving in the trenches, I have fond memories of the drudgeries kind of like what we've seen today. I actually enjoy austere conditions for the challenge.

Being out in the middle of nowhere, seeing the standing stones, and being told to hush as there was a ewe giving birth.  You just don't witness that every day!

The Outlandish Spirits of May 2014, ascending to the Stones
Wendy: Hopping from hummock to hummock through the boggy field learning what heather and gorse are, not realizing that a monolith was waiting for us at the top of the rise; then seeing 3 other amazing stones in the distance.

Your hosts:  As a wee giftie, and something new to the tour, I have made up an "Outlandish Spirits" tour t-shirt.  We made the presentation, complete with birthday cake, for three of the company are having a birthday while on tour. We are honoured.

The Birthdays, note the blue "Outlandish Spirits" t-shirt

Outlandish Spirit, Wendy, in spring plumage, foraging in the wild
Cristi: Enjoying the smell of a peat fire.

Debbie: Reliving the hardship of the crofters cottages, imaging the lives they lived and their way of life.  

Alice: Seeing in person what Claire and Jamie actually lived.

Jenny: I found the crofters village and the crumbling soldiers' barracks to be equally intriguing