Rain most of the night but by breakfast time it was looking good and apart from a few showers as we crossed the highlands, one of our best weather days.
Today saw a shuffle of the program. Our original plan was to travel further north then head south-east through Alford to Aberdeen. This was a decision made at the expense of crossing the highlands so we changed the plan. Not that the highlands are all that high, at least on the road we were on. I think the highest we got was about 2,200 feet; 670 metres. Changing scenery from barren hills, pine forests, native trees turning autumn gold and red, fields of green and white fields where the remains of the crop had been baled for winter animal food.
Through a number of small towns and villages, all very old of course the one thing that stood out was a strong community spirit in the provision of facilities. For the first time, we saw a regular supply of rest areas with tables. Anyone who followed us across the USA will probably remember the fun we had with our lunch and smoko stops. It's been the same here until today and the one we stopped at was a community one, not a government provision, or at least the community was managing it.
This was actually whisky country with a number of tourist signs telling of the Whisky Trail and pointing to various distilleries including the Glenlivet as we drove through the Glenlivet Estate. Our first stop was actually at an old bridge over the River Avon. This does not appear to be the same one that we saw down south. The stone two arch single lane bridge was built in 1754 and remained in use until 1991 when it was replaced. It now forms part of a bicycle ride path.
As we reached the highest point of the road, we passed the ski fields. The ski lifts were looking very forlorn without any snow to set them away from the darker colours of the vegetation.
Next was a whistle stop at the remains of Kildrummy Castle. This actually turned into a longer stop as we decided to have a closer look. Many castles in Scotland are more fortified houses than castles but this was a real castle. Built in the 13th century it played a large part in the various wars and was beseiged and changed hands a number of times. The castle appears to have been abandoned after the Jacobite Rebellion failure. There are still substantial parts of the castle walls and rooms standing and efforts have been made to show and explain them to visitors, not just to see the ruins and imagine what anything may have been.
Onward to Alford and the Grampian Transport Museum. Only a small museum but has an eclectic selection of transport items displayed. Motorcycles old and new, horse drawn carriages, cars old and new, fire engines, a prototype car developed in Scotland that never made it into production, miniature steam engines, bicycles and the Dalek from Dr Who series.. The museum also runs a series of events during the year. Definitely worth the time spent.
From there we headed into Aberdeen and our accommodation and then walked down to the town to have a look at the city, various buildings and wandered through the Marine Museum.
Tomorrow, we continue south to see what else we can find.