To backtrack a bit, I didn’t get any pictures of the Queen Mary 2 from the crossing, but Brian did.
Here’s a photo of the boat from our New England and Canadian trip in 2013.
Back to Scotland. After leaving Edinburgh, our first stop was Stirling Castle and the site of the Battle of Bannockburn (June 1314). Stirling is probably the grandest medieval castle in Scotland. It was restored by King James V for his wife, Marie de Guise – parents of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
After Stirling and Bannockburn, we drove to Dunnottar Castle. This was probably the most picturesque castle we saw on the entire trip. Again, it was a medieval ruin, but it was situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, like something straight out of Macbeth or Lucia di Lammermoor.
From Dunnottar, we drove to Aberdeen and stayed overnight at the Marcliffe Hotel, and as coincidence would have it, we were in the ‘Dunnottar Suite.’
The following day was the drive to Inverness. First stop was Craigievar Castle. My hands still hurt from clutching the steering wheel on this drive. A one-lane winding road with hairpin curves and zero visibility of on-coming vehicles. I seriously considered abandoning the vehicle and seeing if there was an Uber driver somewhere in rural Scotland.
So while this is supposed to be the finest example of ‘Scottish Baronial-Style’ architecture, all I could think was ‘It’s an ugly pink building.’ (It really wasn’t leaning like this; I was still recovering from the drive.)
After Craigievar, we drove to Loch an Eilein and the Rothimurchus Forest for hiking. This area was gorgeous and really what one thinks about regarding Scottish lochs.
From here, we drove to the Battlefield of Culloden – the bitter defeat of the last Scottish Jacobite uprising against the English in 1746.
From Culloden, we drove to our hotel in Inverness – the Rocpool Reserve Hotel. The hotel was very nice – and the restaurant was great – but the best part about this hotel was the hot tub on our balcony; a godsend after the morning’s drive from hell.
Next up: the Isle of Skye, Glencoe, and a brief stop en route to Hogworts.