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10(01)

Wed, 30 Dec 2015
day 04 in braveheart land (0 comments)
the storm from last night continued today in the morning. it was rainy and stormy, but rather warm. well, first day with a hint of bad weather - we are in scotland after all. we had another scottish breakfast for nina, and porridge, toast, marmalade and cereals for me. surprisingly the porridge was very good; i did not expect that. if available, i will have that from now on. our first stop after a short drive was in stonehaven to visit dunnottar castle[04-37]. to get there one has to walk a bit from the parking lot. on the parking lot we were the only ones, and it was still raining. but there was already a sign saying the castle is closed due to bad weather conditions. too bad. also i didn't think this was "bad weather conditions". still we tried to get as close to the castle, so we walked on. the closer we got to the castle and the sea, the stronger the wind gusts became. there was a gravel path down to the sea and to the only entrance to the castle. so at least we could get close to the sea[23-27].
when we climbed up the hill again to get back to our car, there were some people, some of them tourists, some of them locals walking their dogs. soaking wet we returned to the car, and drove on to crathes castle[38-47]. but, guess what, this one was also "closed due to bad weather conditions". we did not think scots were that weather-sensitive. but, again, one could have a look at the castle from the outside. crathes castle strongly reminded me of a love hotel i once saw in tokyo. its look is rather disney like, but what we saw in our guide-book quite a lot of things are named "castle" here in scotland. maybe i am influenced by "game of thrones" too much when it comes to expectations of castles.
again, soaking wet, we got into our car and wanted to drive on to inverness through the cairngorms national park. but while driving a lot of cars flashed their lights at us. nope, i was definitely driving on the right side, still they kept on flashing at us. so we stopped, because i began to wonder if there might be something wrong with the car. at the parking lot another guy parked there, and while we were inspecting our car, he told us, that the road ahead was flooded. aaah, so, that's why - okay. although we were told the street was flooded and there would be no use in going on in this direction, we wanted to see that ourselves. and there really was heavy flooding[48-51]. two jeeps made it to the other side[49-50], but our car would definitely not make it. too bad.
so we turned around, flashed at oncoming traffic (just for fun) and took the "normal" road to inverness. too sad, we will not see ballater, cock bridge, bridge of brown, speybridge or the highlands in cairngorms national park. just to make there is no other way to get to inverness, we stopped at the next police station, hoping that officers could give us a better overview of all the flooding and affected roads. but it seems all personnel was busy with the flood already, so the police station was closed. next we tried a local "tourist information center", which turned out to be a collection of leaflets and brochures in the local library. two elder ladies there tried to help us but it seemed there really is no other way through the highlands without time consuming detours. well, by now it was already getting dark again anyway, so we decided to take the ordinary route, because by now it does not matter anyway. ah, did i already mention there are lots of roundabouts? yes i did? oh, okay. well, loads of roundabouts and approximately six hours of driving later, we finally arrived in inverness. our hotel was right beside the river ness. the river's water-level seemed okay, so this should be a safe night - hopefully. after checking in, and leaving our luggage in the room, we took a stroll to inverness castle[52-53,57,59], that was only a few minutes walk away.
on the castle hill we spotted loads of little cute fluffy rabbits, but unfortunately it was way too dark to take a picture of them. oh, and we were wondering ourselves, why they put up a ionizing radiation hazard symbol[59] with two reindeer at the backside of the castle.
we walked around the castle hill in a circle and stopped at a local chinese take-away, as it seemed everything else was already closed, and we did not want to search for hours for a good pub or restaurant. so we took it with us to the "glen mhor" hotel, ate it, watched tv for a while, and then fell asleep. track for day 04.

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