Monday, 7 November 2011


This post is about the first day of our holiday in the highlands of Scotland. We are based in a lovely lodge on a hillside overlooking the village of Rogart which is about ten miles from Lairg. We had done a lot of travelling over the previous two days so today's priority was to find entertainment within easy reach.
We started off with a short drive to Loch fleet where we admired the scenery especially the vivid yellow gorse that covered the far side of the loch.
We walked the dog and sauntered along the shore before driving a little further to the little seaside village of Dornoch.

Here you may recall that Madonna got married in a nearby castle a few years ago. Luckily when we were there all was quiet. Having had a tranquil morning we retraced our steps over Loch Fleet and headed three miles further north to the village of Golspie. Dunrobin Castle the home of the Duke of Sutherland is situated in the village and as it is open to the public we decided to give it a try. The castle with its magnificent turrets looks down over the sea and lovely gardens.
It was in the gardens that we enjoyed a flying display by some birds of prey. My wife, Terry Anne, even had the pleasure of being allowed to hold one. It is a memory that will stay with her forever.

The only sad thing about the visit to Dunrobin Castle was its association with the Highland clearances. Between the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries thousands of Highlanders were driven from there homes to make way for sheep. These were cruel times and the then Duke of Sutherland was heavily involved in the eviction of people from his land.
When we were visiting the castle one of the tour guides told us a story that explained that although it happened a long while ago feelings about the clearances still run high.
Apparently, the previous week an elderly tourist fell over and a doctor was called to check her out. When the doctor arrived he declared that he would not step over the threshold of the home of the Duke of Sutherland because of the families links with the clearances. To receive treatment the lady who had fallen over had to be carried outside and laid on the tarmac drive. To be fair, they did lay her on a blanket but it was still a rum situation.

While I'm talking about the Duke of Sutherland, you may be interested to know that the Duke of Sutherland is associated with Trentham gardens, via marriage to the Marquise of Stafford. When leaving Trentham by heading south along the A34, you may have seen a statue looking down at you from the woods on the right hand side of the road before you get to Tittensor. Well the statue on the top of that column is the Duke of Sutherland.

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