The day began again with another high cholesterol Scottish breakfast. We were soon on our way North-West. Along the the route to Oban we stopped near a wonderful Gothic church named Saint Conan’s Kirk on Loch Awe. It was actually a combination of styles put together by it’s creator who was later buried within. The building was in a state of disrepair but clean and still magnificent. It contained a reclining statue dedicated to Robert the Bruce laid on a sarcophagus. The sarcophagus was in a room surrounded by huge window facing Loch Awe. We probably spent two hours there and were completely alone the entire time. Peaceful and disquieting all at the same time.
Earlier in the day we happened upon the grave of Rob Roy. There was no sign indicating he was laid to rest in this area. We stopped because there were several people milling around. We always stop because we believe other people know more than we do when we witness milling about. In this case yes, we would not have known Rob Roy was buried there. Score! Humble tiny graveyard, humble little grave with tiny grave stones.
Proceeded on, we arrived in Oban, a Scottish coastal resort town. It was way too crowded and bustling for our tastes. Jim pronounced it “appalling!” We immediately had a family meeting and a new plan of action. Now we’re traveling north toward Fort William. Getting later in day and as soon as crowds evaporated we began looking for B&B. Finally found a charming place named “The House of Kiel.” Allison was the proprietor and showed us to our rooms. Jim and I had a second story bedroom boasting of a toilet in turret located up some stairs in the corner of our room. Allison had named it “the loo with a view.”
We went for a very nice long walk along the loch, it was so beautiful. Nothing can compete with the clouds and mountains of Scotland. The clouds are usually not fluffy white or pink clouds hovering over the mountain tops. They’re always deep dark menacing aubergine clouds. Which, on one hand want you to stay away and on the other hand as “climbers and hikers” beckon you to come to them. “Come to me, I promise you and experience of a life time.”
For dinner we went to a hotel and restaurant on the loch named Holly Tree Hotel. I had cauliflower soup and mixed smoked meats, Jim had Scallops Newburg, and James had a Saddle of Venison (1st time), and Haggis (1st time for all.) The Haggis didn’t come with his meal but he really wanted to try it and asked the Chef if it was possible to have a portion. The Chef, perhaps knowing he was seeing a burgeoning Chef, graciously consented and Haggis was served. It was delicious. Reminded me very much of the stuffing my German Grandmother would make, minced organ meat and lots of herbs and spices. Minus the stomach of a sheep, this Chef served his Haggis in a souffle dish; continued to eat it throughout our time in Scotland.
Many people would tell you Scottish food is awful, but it’s simply not true. Even 20 years ago and we know it continues to get better and better. End to another extraordinary day. Can’t wait to get up to those aubergine mountains.
It was a very nice close to a long eventful day.