May 23, 2009

Loch Ness and Lindisfarne

On our last day in the Highlands, we drove along the banks of Loch Ness. We went out on the Loch on the Jacobite Spirit. It was my second time out on Loch Ness, but I'd never been up this high on the Loch before, so I got to see the ruins of Urquart Castle. The water was really choppy, I felt like a pirate on the high seas. No sign of Nessie, though. There was a cute sign on the boat to discourage occupants from smoking. It said: No Puffin', and had a picture of the bird with a red line through it. It was adorable, and not to mention completely accurate, since we, sadly, saw no puffins on this trip.

Urquart Castle

As we continued to travel back toward Edinburgh, we stopped at a lay-by on the highway so that my mom could see the castle that they used to film the TV series "Monarch of the Glen". Since I had seen the castle before, I stayed in the car with my dad, and watched as my mom climbed over the road barrier, through the trees and disappeared down the short but steep banks to the edge of the Loch for a better view. After sitting in the car and seeing the minutes tick past with no sign of my mother re-emerging, I turned to my dad and said: "at what point do we assume she's fallen into the Loch and venture down to retrieve her?" Just as I said this, she popped up again, thankfully. I mean, I know I'm a lifeguard, but Scottish lochs are cooooooooold.

  Adorable and health-conscious - double whammy!       

We made it back to Edinburgh that night and I welcomed the comfort of familiarity of my own bed. The next day (our last day with the rental car) we drove down into England and across the Causeway to Lindisfarne, Holy Island. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were able to explore Lindisfarne Castle, and see Bamborough castle across the North Sea, back on the mainland. I visited Bamborough back in September and remembered looking out at Holy Island. It was weird to be doing that in reverse. We also saw the ruins of Lindsifarne Priory, which was where they got the stones to build the castle. We ate lunch at The Ship, where I had the most amazing pasta dish ever! Maybe it was because I was technically in England, not Scotland - but they finally put flavors and creaminess in their pasta sauce! I wish they delivered... to the mainland... and a half hour north across the border into Scotland... My mom also introduced us to Lindisfarne Mead. It's basically sugar and honey in a glass.  It's so yummy, that you'd never think it was 14.5% alcohol! So that's two reasons to go back to Lindisfarne... honey alcohol and amazing pasta!

Lindisfarne Castle

Since it is an island, and there is no bridge connecting it to the mainland, we had to cross back over the causeway before the tide came in and the roadway disappeared under water. Otherwise we would've been trapped on the island until dinnertime when the tide went back out. People were lined up along the causeway to watch the water rise. Apparently, none of them were looking at the signs that depicted jeeps floating away in the current. We got ourselves safely to high ground as quick as we could. And by high ground, I mean back to the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.        

Lindisfarne Priory

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