August 19 to 30, 2003

Scotland to London

*Yet more broch searching
*Ousdale Broch walk
*Achavanich stones
*Plane to London
*London shopping

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August 29th

Got up relatively early, in order to have some time to take advantage of the rental car. Headed back in the direction we'd gone last night, in order to try to find Ousdale broch again. Brochs are high round stone towers from the Iron Age, and the north of Scotland and Orkney are full of them. Followed the directions the woman in the house had given us, and failed to find it, after searching for a path in the heather. Finally went to Ousdale Farm, which the broch is named after, and Matt got directions from a farmer driving his quad in a field. The farmer told us where to park and walk through his farm.

It was a long walk through a farm lane, then through nearly waist-high grass, bracken, and thistles. Christina and Matt got way ahead of me and finally about halfway there I gave up. I could see it, though:

broch viewThe view towards the broch. Unfortunately this photograph is too dark and distant to show the ring of the broch, but I could see it from where I took this photograph. Dramatic, beautiful landscape.


The walk through all the brush was just too difficult (my lungs are full of crap at this point so exertion makes me cough), and so I found a rock to sit on where I could watch Christina and Matt become ants in the distance as they explored the broch, and I could enjoy the lovely view down towards the water. Watched the birds, and heard the wind in the grass and along the high electrical wires above me. When Christina and Matt got back, I told them that while they had gone on the walk to admire the broch, I'd gone to admire Scottish electrical engineering.

After we got back to the car, drenched by a sudden shower, I drove back north and then west through some barren-looking farm land and tree farm to find the Achavanich stones. They were right by the side of the road, near a loch. A very unusual horseshoe shape, open to the west, the stones low and licheny. Very beautiful.

stonesThe stones of Achavanich


Then we stopped back for lunch at the same place we had dinner last night, and I had exactly what I'd had the night before, and it was almost as good as it had been then. The sauce was a little sweeter, though.

Then we high-tailed it back to the lighthouse and hurriedly finished clearing the house, and organized our bags and got them in the car. Said a quick farewell to our delightful landlord, Ian Sinclair, then drove to the airport. Turned the car back in. Much relief! For some reason I'd been nervous driving. Not because of the left-hand side thing, which has never given me much trouble, but because I just felt due for trouble. Maybe because of my cold and this chronic lack of sleep. In any case, I found driving quite stressful.

Checked in at the airport. Interesting--they don't have a bag x-ray machine there yet, though it's due soon, and so they handchecked our bags, disrupting my carefully packed everything-just-barely-fits-in suitcase. The flight to Edinburgh was quick. Walking to the plane we saw another rainbow over Noss Head Lighthouse. Got several views of the lighthouse out the plane window and I got all sad. Had a brief wait at Edinburgh then the short flight to London. We got to the hotel about 8:00, tossed our bags in our rooms and headed out to Oxford Street in hopes of doing some shopping. Who knew that one of the major shopping streets in Europe would close down before 9:00 on a Friday night? We did manage to get into Virgin before it closed, and I got a Dr. Who DVD to test out our new DVD player that Jim reports can play UK DVDs. Went through a series of little grocery stores buying blackcurrant tea, then had dinner at an Indian restaurant. Then back to the hotel for a little sleep.

I still don't know how to sleep. My last night here was a repeat of the first, though this time I slept through until my alarm sounded.

03.08.28 § Les Semaines Index § Les Semaines 03.08.31

4162 people have travelled to Scotland with me