We all went to bed delighted to be on the Lord of the Glens with images of the wonderful Scottish dancers still fresh in our minds and the sounds of the pipes in our ears.
The first light revealed gray skies, no wind at all, and warm temperatures. We all tucked into a hearty breakfast and immediately set off for Culloden. Along the way, we were treated to some of the highlights of Inverness.
In Culloden, we visited the sight of a terrible battle fought between the government forces and the Jacobites in 1746. The outcome shaped the course of history with ramifications all the way to the present. The superb museum presented views from both sides, ending in a very good short film with an aerial overview of the battle itself, which only lasted 45 minutes. We then toured the battlefield.
Next, we visited Clava cairn, a much-visited site because of the Outlander series and more importantly, a burial site from the Bronze Age. Three burial sites are surrounded by standing stones. Two of the burial sites have a passageway leading to a central portion, and the last one is of the ring type.
From there, we headed for the ship and set sail for Fort Augustus. Along the way, we passed Aldourie Castle from the 18th century with its impressive boathouse. A little farther on, we sailed close to the impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle. It is thought that the site had numerous fortifications, possibly going back to the Pict Era. We spotted the impressive Grant Tower from the 16th century. The castle has witnessed many conflicts over the centuries.
By late afternoon, our ship’s captain was expertly negotiating the different lochs leading up to Loch Oich. We spotted many sailing boats decked out with lots of colored flags ahead of us; sadly, we found out that the gathering was to bid farewell to a lost loved one.
For the rest of the afternoon, we wandered around Fort Augustus or headed into town for a walk. Along the way, we visited the gravesite of John Anderson, a friend of Robert Burns. Our local guide read a poem, and then we raised a toast. We continued through lovely woods with views of the fields, blackface sheep and lambs, and a few highland cattle.
After dinner, we were thoroughly entertained with a plaid and tartan demonstration. At the end, two of us were kitted out with clothes that would have been worn by highlanders. It was pointed out againthat the modern kilt is a very recent product.
It has been a wonderful first day to our adventure in beautiful Scotland.