Hated to leave Ballater, it is a charming city, the people are extremely friendly, the scenery magnificent, and all the restaurants we went to were great. After yesterday’s hike up to Lochnagar and the forecast of rain we decided today would be a good travel day.
Jim and James did some research and decided on where to go and what to see. We traveled over Scotland’s highest mountain pass. This was August and there was still a significant amount of snow.
This is probably a good place to warn you to follow the recommendations available on all the Scottish websites. The first recommendation was pack a “water proof” jacket. My thought was how bad could it get? We packed water resistant, big mistake! Second, wool sweaters, come on, it’s August. I packed cotton, another huge mistake. Third don’t forget wool gloves and beanies. We landed in Glasgow with no mittens and baseball caps. What a bunch of knuckle-heads. We actually brought our swim suits and wore them only when we went to the laundromat (under our jackets), which raised the eyebrows of many Scottish ladies. Also bring two pair of boots. Many of the hikes we took we ended up in bogs up to our mid calves. So if you’re a newbie to Scotland, do you homework and follow suggestions and directions.
END OF WARNING – WE REPORT – YOU DECIDE
So we’re now in the mountains above treeline. Many many homemade signs reading, “Watch Out! Don’t hit sheep!” Well…OK! We also visited several castles and traveled through a village large enough to have an Indian restaurant. It was nice break from Scottish fare.
Part of our Scotland exploration involved learning more about the history of the country. Whoever occupied the back seat had to read a chapter from our Scottish History book. Crap, this wan’t a small task, the Scots have been around for a long long long time. It was so beyond Columbus sailed the ocean blue and set his foot upon North America in 1492, Poor James got the heavy lifting part of this task since he wasn’t old enough to drive. Hey, but it was good for him, everyone should be comfortable reading out loud. It’s OK don’t feel sorry for him, he was diggin it!