July 16 –
We drove north today. Our first stop was the prehistoric Clava Cairns, an important Neolithic archeological site, estimated to be 5,ooo years old. This site consists of three large cairns surrounded by standing stones. Set in a peaceful grove of trees, we pondered the mystery of this place and the people who worked so hard to build it, people who were early inhabitants of Scotland and possibly ancestors to some of us.
Nearby was Culloden, the battlefield where Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites lost a crucial battle in 1746. We were awed by the dedication of the Stuart rebels and by the great slaughter that won the day for the Hanoverian government forces. It was an important day in Scottish history.
In the afternoon, we visited Cawdor Castle, a real treat for both history buffs and gardeners. We had many options here: lunch, gift shops, a taped tour of the interior castle, a holly maze, and multiple gardens. Dating from 1372, and built further in the 16 and 1700’s, a member of the Cawdor family still winters here.
We are finding plenty of photo ops, shopping, good food, and scenery. The people are friendly, with a rich heritage they are eager to share. Some of us will be very sorry to see the end of our time in Scotland. But we do have a few days left, with more adventures!