Sunday, November 24, 2013

A day of exploring…

Yesterday the sun was shining…most of the day…and we decided to make a trip to Inverary.  There is a castle there which is supposed to be quite nice.  We learned that the castle is not open for tours from October to March but decided to go for a ride anyway.  The goal was to drive to Dumbarton and then up along Loch Lomond and then over to Inverary.  Just to put this in perspective I have included a map.

People in Scotland would think we were daft (crazy) to make this trip in one day, but it isn't really that far...about 110 miles one way.

We drove to Dumbarton to find the castle.  Dumbarton Rock is located on the Firth of the Clyde where the River Leven empties and is a volcanic outcropping.  The history of this castle reaches back nearly 1500 years.  They have discovered artifacts dating from the Romans.  According to tradition, in about 450 A.D. St Patrick wrote to King Ceretic of Strathclyde reprimanding him for attacking Irish converts.

This is what the "Rock" looks like from the Clyde.  We were able to hike up to the top of the right side to see the view of Glasgow and down to Greenock.
You can see from this poster that the "Rock" is really that...just a big rock sitting at the mouth of the River Leven.  Structures were added to the location over the years.  From the13th century forward the "Castle" was used for different purposes.

This is the Guard House which dates to the 16th century.  It is built between to two craigs and you walk through a passage under the house to get to the upper levels of the rock.

Up on top one can see Glasgow to the East, Greenock to the West, and Ben Lomond to the North.  The day was somewhat overcast when looking up or down the Clyde.

They are doing some repairs to the house which was built in front in 1735
From Dumbarton we drove along Loch Lomond to Ben Lomond.  Then we turned west and headed for Inverary.
This is Ben Lomond.  As we climbed in altitude we had more cloud cover move in which added to the beauty of the day.  Yes, that is snow on Ben Lomond.  The top of Ben Lomond is about 3,200 feet.  It sits on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.  On a clear day one can see Ben Lomond from Stirling Castle.
From Ben Lomond we turned west and went through a beautiful canyon as we came to the summit and started down the other side we viewed the scene above.  We thought we had found Brigadoon.  As we came down the hill we found Loch Long.  The water was unbelievably calm

The reflection off the water was incredible.  We drove around the tip of this loch and headed to Loch Fyne and the town of Inverary.  The town almost looked like a fairytale city with the low hanging clouds. 
This is the village of Inverary from across Loch Fyne.  Most all the buildings in the main part of town were painted white.
This loch also was just like glass.  Everywhere I looked I wanted to take another picture because of the amazing reflections that were seen.

It was a beautiful little village...much smaller than I had imagined it would have been.

This was a one-lane bridge with traffic controlled by stop lights to avoid a collision.

We left as the sun was getting close to the horizon.   I looked back at the town just after crossing the bridge and had to take this picture.  The loch had stayed this glass...for all afternoon.  This was taken at about 2:30 p.m.  Now it is nearly dark between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.

We headed back towards Dumbarton and passed Ben Lomond and Loch Lomond as the sun was starting to set.  This picture was taken about 3:30 p.m.

We left Loch Lomond and headed to Dumbarton and then back to Edinburgh on the M8 Motorway.  It was a grand of those days I wish I could do a "brain video download" so you could really see all the beauty of this country.  These pictures don't do it justice and I have about 45 more taken during the trip that are just as amazing as these.

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