Friday, June 18, 2010
After a morning of walking around a battlefield, we pressed on to Cawdor Castle, the family home of the Thanes of Cawdor, leaders of Clan Calder. The most famous Thane of Cawdor is, of course, Macbeth, though the castle itself was built centuries later in the late 14th-century. What I enjoyed the most about Cawdor Castle, aside from its lovely gardens, was that it truly felt like a home, full of all the knickknacks, pictures and photographs that are in all our homes. (And, in fact, it is a home, as the Dowager Countess Cawdor spends half the year there, when the castle is closed to the public.) The castle is also reflective of layer-upon-layer of renovation, from the medieval basements to the Victorian bedrooms to the very '70s-tastic kitchen.
Day 9. The following day, we headed west along the Great Glen, following Loch Ness down from Inverness to Fort Williams and the west coast. The drive is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful drives in the UK. En route, we stopped at Urquhart Castle, which is situated directly on Loch Ness. I kept my eyes peeled for Nessie, but alas, I never did catch a glimpse of her. [And yes, the Scots take Nessie seriously (or at least they pretend to for the many tourists who throng to the loch in hopes of seeing her).]