[First page 'Travel']
Me and five buddies went to Scotland on a vacation 2002-07-27 -- 2002-08-05
(10 days) late summer 2002. The weather was great, which in Scotlands case means sunny days mixed with normal rain.
We traveled by Ryan Air from Torp, Norway, to Prestwick (Glasgow), Scotland. We rented a car for the whole period.
This is a map on Scotland,
and a few facts (MapQuest).
We stayed at a place called Coruanan Farmhouse close to
Fort William in the middle of Scotland (the Highlands). The price was approx 1000 Euros for a week. We also stayed at
some B&B's and hotels for the remainder of the time.
By clicking on the pictures, they will open in their own window.
All pictures are around 50 kB in size.
This is Jakob (me), Göran and Ebru, Peter, Anders and Marie in front of our 6-seated Kia automatic. It was packed
with a lot of hi-tech stuff, such as rain sensor, power windows and a clock.
We had to decide which drivers to use, due to insurance reasons. Me and Anders split the task of driving. There
was some trouble to fit everything when we packed, but for day-trips it was an excellent car. Steady, safe and easy
This is a really nice way to live. The closest neighbour (Sandy, who was also the house-keeper) lived 500 meters
behind the back of the photographer. Then there were no more neighbours for several kilometers.
The house was built in 1999, and consisted of two floors. On the top floor, there were two master bedrooms with a
toilet and bathtub each. The lower floor had another master bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a toilet with shower. Follow
the link in the summary at the top to see pictures from the interior of the house.
A small creek flowed merrily by the house. This old bridge didn't invite us to pass, so we jumped the rocks instead.
When the rain falls (which it always does in Scotland) the creek grows to a raging stream.
The first day, we decided to acquaint ourselves with the surroundings (and the rain). This picture is taken a few
kilometers downstream the little creek, which has now joined a larger stream. The foliage is green, and the grass is green, no
dry period here. Inside the survival suits, you can barely make out Anders and Marie.
The house was rather new, but it was built on the foundation of an old farmhouse. A lot of remnants of older days
were present, such as this decayed swing just behind the house. There were also foundations of other buildings hidden in the
long grass, and old paths could be seen, winding up into the woods. Surrounding the house were cow pastures, where they usually
keep longhorn cattle. To our disappointment they were not around the house during our time there.
Just behind the house, there was a small hill called Ben Nevis. It happens to be the highest mountain in Scotland,
and also in the United Kingdom (1344 m/4408 ft). From the living room we had a magnificent view of this mountein - they said! We
very much doubted that, and thought of it as a local myth. But, after several days of haze, rain and mist a mountain suddenly
appeared - Ben Nevis! The myth was not a myth, it was the truth.
This picture is taken at approx 600 meters elevation, from a small hill just next to our house.
It took me, Peter and Göran several hours to reach this far up. But what a view! A splendid panorama over the Loch Linnhe
(sea bay), Ben Nevis and our house from above. It was certainly worth it.
Unfortunately we had no time to climb the final 50 meters in height to reach the top. We hadn't planned to
go this far, and had no food or drinks with us. And on top of that, the sun was about to set in a few hours. So, we valued
our lives more than the reward of reaching the top. Imagine to climb down in complete darkness!
OK, time for some excursions. A bit to the south of Fort William there is a little bay called Loch Leven. On
its southern shore, the village of Glencoe sits. Me, Göran and Peter set out on a hiking trail in the valley. We had a few hours
to pass, before we needed to meet up with the others.
We climbed up the steep mountain-side to the waterfall in the middle of this picture. It doesn't look that far,
eh? Phew! It was hot and really steep. But no mosquitos or flies. The only disturbing element from the animal kingdom was
a lot of sheep. They were really everywhere, and I mean everywhere.
This dam at Loch Laggan delivers water to a power station down at Fort William. There are several kilometers of
tunnels below the mountains. Peter is posing in front of a structured map of the area. The bright spot on the map is Ben
Nevis, which all the tourists have touched (yeah, us too...).
This is me on a bridge. Not that adapted to disabled people, but practical - you actually got to the other
side using it. This place is the end of a one-hour hike in the Glen Nevis, the valley in the shadow of Ben Nevis.
It almost rained, and was very hot and humid.
And now some technology history. There are many locks in Sweden, and even so in the UK. This is a new design, as far
as my knowledge goes. It is a revolving lock in Falkirk, just north of Edingburgh: The Falkirk Wheel.
Boats enter a small basin or dock, which is then sealed in both ends. The basin is then revolved,
lifting/sinking the boat, at the same time as the other basin performs the opposite movement of sinking/lifting. Archimedes
figured out that the weight of the water that the boat displaces, is the same as the weight of the boat, it means that
the arms of the wheel always weigh exactly the same, irregardless of if there is a light boat, a heavy boat or no boat in a basin.
So the wheel only needs a small amount of energy to overcome the momentuum of the mass, to be able to rotate. But the steel was
creaking loudly, as the wheel was turning.
I don't play golf (yet), but could not resist the urge to visit s:t Andrews - the first golf course in the world.
Peter is modelling.
It was a wee bit hazy (in fact - really misty) here, because the warm water and cold air had a chilly fog
coming rolling in from the sea. A very good spot for a golf course.
Finally! Admit it, you've waited for it? Here is Loch Ness, with the somewhat dilapilated castle Drumnadrochit.
No, we didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
But we did see Loch Ness a few times, since all the daytrips we made from Fort William seemed to pass it, in an
eerie way. It might have something to do with the fact that the fault zone spanning from Fort William to Inverness effectvely
divided Scotland in two parts. The A82 followed the "canyon", and had deep lakes as it closest neighbours.
I'm not that particularly fond of whisky, but am rather keen on visiting things. So, we drove across the highlands
(and passed Loch Ness, off course) to visit the distillery of Glenfiddich.
It was very interesting to learn how whisky is made. I personally thought that the guided tour was a bit on
the quick side, I'd had loved to see more details. So if you are interested in the process of distilling - choose a small
distillery, but if you like the Glenfiddich whisky, or just want to tick off a "Been there, done that" on your list
- Glenfiddich is the place to go.
Highlander - the Movie! Anders and Marie is walking to their doom in the castle of the McLeod clan: Dunvegan castle.
This particular castle was not included in the movie, but the name McLeod is actually taken from this place. A really interesting
castle, having long winding corridors, and the pit (a dungeon where they threw disagreers)
The castle is still a residence for the McLeods, so all parts of the castle were not open to the public.
The castle can be found on the north side of the Isle of Skye island.
To get to Isle of Skye, we had to drive a really long way. And at the furthest part of the island, the road was so narrow,
that it was marked in a strange way on the map: a thin line, with tiny half circles evenly spread out. We didn't realise why
the symbol on the map looked so weird, until we got there. The road actually had meeting spots every 100 meters!
Look at the road narrowing just behind the cows.
If it weren't enough having the sheep on the loose, they had to let the cows loose as well! But, we swedes are
used to look out for elk and deer. The scots animals were at least standing still while passing, even when they were right in
This is a cool castle ruin. Though a windy break, we took it here at the northeastern part of Isle of Skye.
castle lay on the top of a cliff, with rock faces dropping 50-100 meters down in to the gushing Atlantic ocean on three sides.
Not that easy to attack. The castle walls were the only remnants except for a small cellar (which was blocked). But I stepped
outside the fence, and followed it to a small guardian tower at one corner. A small staircase led down to a tiny room inside
the tower, where there was a slit in the wall. At this exact spot, scots were probably sitting hundreds of years ago, watching
The coastline on the northeast side of Isle of Skye really drops into the ocean. It was rather spectacular
looking over the edge. Also, it was in these parts of the island that a few years ago a dinosaur fossil was found.
On our way home, we passed one of the most photographed castles in Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle at Loch Duich.
Bummer, low tide when I want to take a nice photo...
Some more technology history. This is the railway bridge over
Firth of Forth,
a technological marvel. Unfortunatley, since it's a railway bridge, we had no opportunity to use it.
The bridge connects the north shore of the Forth sound with the southern shore, where Edingburgh sits.
At the end of our stay in Scotland, we moved out from our farmhouse, and into a B&B in Inverness. The very last
night was spent at Terrace Hotel in Edinburgh. We had decided to end the vacation with a festive concert, the Edinburgh
Military Tatto. It was an explosive, colourful and spectacular musical experience (if you happen to like bagpipes and march music).
A lot of people, a lot of musicians and a lot of fireworks. Really cool!
Of all nights we could have booked (five shows a week for four weeks) we happened to get tickets to the
Queen's Golden Jubilee 2002! So the queen was there - and us. She celebrated her 50th anniversary as a queen. And this
particular day, the whole of Edingburgh saluted her.
are taken with
Olympus Minolta Vectis Weathermatic