Our first stop was to see two huge mounds of dirt in the middle of a graveyard in Inverurie. Apparently these mounds of dirt once had some sort of stockade atop them and were used to hold off enemies – gives a new meaning to king of the hill. Years ago, we took the Red River Ski Team to a race at Taos Ski Area. Our racers did not win much skiing, but after the race, down near the Phoenix, our racers took the top of a huge mound of snow and in a big snowball fight, they held the hill against all the other racers. It was a great victory of sorts.
Also in the graveyard were these Pictish writings on rocks. Keith took us to see more Pict history when he took us to see this stone circle. Next to the stone circle was another circle which was a crematory – not quite as old as the stone circle. According to the info, there are 99 such circles in Gampian. Keith pointed out others that were not so easy to get to.
He showed us one more Pict stone called the Maiden Stone, but the stone itself was boarded up for the winter. This seemed to irritate Keith. On the one hand, it did need protecting from the elements, but on the other hand it had been standing there for centuries what was one more winter.
Next Keith took us to Castle Fraser. We were able to walk around a bit, but the castle and tea-room were closed. This castle is used for different arts events – wouldn’t that be cool! I would have loved to see inside this castle. Since we were unable to tour the castle, Keith took us to Ballater for tea/coffee and cake at the old train depot. It was to this town that Queen Victoria brought the train so she could easily travel there to enjoy holidays.
The countryside was beautiful, but we did not make many stops. I did not feel comfortable asking to stop and take pictures of the villages we passed through. If this trip had been just Toby and me, it would have taken us all day with me stopping to see everything and take lots of pictures. As it was, it was still a very nice tour. We got to see a bit of the Highlands and even some snow. The weather was just not cooperative for us seeing much. Toby got home in time to watch some American football playoffs. He stayed up late watching the Cowboys, but eventually gave up and went to bed. When he checked the score this morning, he was a bit disappointed.