107 - Day 3 - Dunkeld and Birnam

Ooooh-kay... think I've got the hang of this now... pictures loaded first... in reverse order... sigh... looks good on my screen, but I haven't published yet...

This is haggis. It is not your enemy. It tastes a little like cajun dirty rice, or possibly braunschweiger, and while I wouldn't want to ingest copious amounts of it, it is not disgusting. Just don't try to educate yourself on the ingredients, and ignore that band around the outside... think of it as plastic... yes... plastic... (and no... those hairy knuckles aren't mine)

This is Birnam, my favorite place (thus far) in Scotland. It's a smallish town surrounded by woods and water and it's just... perfect. I could easily sit there and listen to the water and the wind all day. This particular day was cool, misty, and drizzly -- just the way I like it.

This was along the path to the Birnam Oak, which we didn't see, but it was a scenic walk nonetheless.

I thought this tree was absolutely gorgeous... we don't get much red around here. We get yellow and brown... possibly orange, but rarely red.

This was the scenery along the Inchewan Walk. We had to take that to get to the Braan Walk which is the path we needed to take to get to Ossian's Hall. Braan walk is a 4 mile walk. Unfortunately that only starts once you get to the car park... so by the time we got there we were sick of walking and there were also no facilities for us to use... (once again I dropped trou in the woods and lived like an ancient Celt -- I am not ashamed! (just don't tell my mommy)) We did soldier on to Ossian's Hall, but we didn't go on to The Hermitage or Rumbling Bridge because we still had the return trip to think about.

This was a mushroom that something destroyed. Sort of looks like an egg. I just liked the way the colors set each other off. Plus we'd just heard a story about how my cousin ate a wild mushroom as a kid and had to get her stomach pumped. Timely.
Looking at it now... it kind of looks like a re-creation of her stomach being pumped...

This was me using my smarty-brains... I decided to take a picture of the sign that points to the path we should take when we returned -- from the perspective of us returning... this is important later. Hmmm... I'm trying to be all mysterious and foreshadowy, but it's sort of anti-climactic since you guys already know we got lost in the woods. In Scotland. With no way to contact anyone.

These are the dark woods... woooo-ooooo (that's a ghost sound)

This is me using my smarty-brains to take a picture of a map of the trails so that we would always know where we were. We intended to take a shortcut back to the B&B (the brown path), but ended up on the same path we originally took (the orange path)... no big deal, just a slightly longer walk... We would be back to the B&B in no time... after all, I took a picture of the signpost...

It was either really colorful and fall-ish, green and mossy, or dark and fir-ry. Any of the three is fine with me.

Okay, so I prefer colorful and fall-ish just a smidgen more... I love the crazy limbs on these trees. I've come to realize that I would be happy taking pictures of trees for the rest of my life. I'm fascinated by trees. Maybe I'm part Druid.

...and this is my favorite tree. I call it the Pan's Labrynth tree, because it looks like some sort of twisted mythical creature lurking in the mist. (sorry about the sideways pictures again... I'm hopeless)

This is the waterfall in front of Ossian's Hall (or maybe it's called Ossian's Hall... but I think the name refers to the viewing platform... who cares??? look at the damn waterfall!!!) And hey... look -- more twisty branches!

Look closer...

So on the return trip, we felt confident that we were on the right path... after all... the woods surrounding us looked awfully familiar... and in the middle were more of those horse shoe prints, just like the ones we saw as we made our way to Ossian's Hall in the first place.
Guess what? They probably ride horses on all the trails. Because after a certain amount of time had passed, and we didn't see a pretty distinctive landmark, and they were way more dead ferns than there were on the way up (sudden blight? possible)... we began to worry. Some of us freaked out more than others. Some of us may have made an international call to their boyfriend in the hopes that he could locate the number to the B&B so we could get rescued.
But the woods began to look skeery and menacing... and I was starting to worry that we might be walking in circles and we could end up lost all night... I didn't want to be lost in the dark... which was only about two hours away because it comes early this time of year. Not that there's anything more menacing than a wildcat out there, but on principle... being lost SUCKS!

So eventually we came across a gate that was slightly ajar. It wasn't a pedestrian gate like the ones on the rest of the trail, and I figured it was private property, but we saw a road, and we saw houses, and you should never underestimate a desperate woman. So we passed through the gate...
We reached the road, and for once in my life I chose right, and right was right. (I know, the English language can be soooooooooo confusing sometimes!). Very shortly the angels sang -- because there it was -- a sign... and it said Dunkeld (and even more importantly, it pointed to Dunkeld). So we followed the sign and it led to the dreaded A-9... a very busy road, not meant to be crossed by mere pedestrians.
Well... we are not mere pedstrians. We were desperate, lost women who had just found salvation, and the only thing between it and us was this bully of a road. So we streaked across the A-9 as if our lives depended on it (which, ironically, they probably did... did I mention it was a busy road?) and finally found ourselves in familiar territory. I didn't actually kiss the ground... but I ceratinly thought about it.
After that, you'd think that we would just want to rest and recover. But... we were hungry. So we ate. And then, because I was on vacation and wanted to see Dunkeld Cathedral one last time, Jamie and I walked to Dunkeld... at night... in the rain... And do you know why there is no picture of it here? Because the gate... was locked.
Oh well, we were still going to go to the Taybank Pub to chill out (or warm up to be more truthful) and listen to some local music, maybe meet our Scottish husbands... until Jamie said she just wanted to go back to the B&B. I didn't realize how serious the situation was until I asked if she wanted to stop into the Atholl Arms to get some hot chocolate, and she said no... She'd been drinking hot chocolate since we arrived in Scotland. It was her thing. And at the Atholl Arms, she'd been particularly envious of Brian's hot chocolate topped with squishy (whipped) cream and little pink marshmallows (Brian is confident in his manhood, he's cool with pink). I was sure she'd want hot chocolate. So when she refused, I knew she meant business...
Tomorrow... we dress as vampires and no one bats an eye... (that was almost a pun! Oh just wait until we get to Ayr...)
Last night I saw AC/DC in concert for the first time. They're not my favorite band, but I do like enough of their songs that it was worth it... it turned out to be awesome. Except for the suffocating fish face that Angus makes. And the strip tease that he did. And the way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too long guitar solo. The music though... awesome, especially the intro to Thunderstruck with all the arpeggios... wow. Especially since you gotta figure someone his age must have arthritis by now.
One last snarky comment... as much money as they make... can't they get a decent haircut???


  1. Woo-hoo! It worked!!! All the pictures and words are where they're SUPPOSED to be!!!

    Everybody sing HALLELUJAH! Can I get an amen? (that's rhetorical)

  2. Wow. What a gorgeous place. And pictures!! I am officially jealous (and officially going there one day).

    Keep 'em coming!

  3. And you leave us wanting more yet again... Oh, the agony!

    Glad you're back! 8-)

  4. Man, those pictures are absolutely beautiful! That tree really does look like something from Pan's Labrynth - even though that movie sucked. I'm so jealous!