Four Castles and a Wedding

As we’ve mentioned all along, we expect this trip to be quite unique.  We’ll try to see as much as we can in the time we are there, but still have time to enjoy that time.  Does that make sense?

For instance, our journey into the Highlands on Friday will take us by Loch Lomond and wind its way into the Highlands across Rannoch Moor, by Glencoe and into Fort William for lunch. The trip continues north from there and features some beautiful scenery and a stop at Urquhart Castle (1) on the shores of Loch Ness. This castle stood during the time of Wallace and was one of the most formidable of its kind. A giant step back in time.

We’ll find our way to Inverness from there, check into the Columba Hotel, across the Ness River from Inverness Castle (2) and prepare ourselves for an evening at Hootananny, a great night spot with a performance by Ted Christopher, one of Scotland’s busiest and most entertaining singers. (And close friend of David’s)

On Sat. we rise, have our breakfast and say goodbye to Inverness as we make our way to Culloden Battlefield.  We will stand on the ground that saw the end of a way of life for Scotland. A haunting place that stirs emotions of those that understand its significance, a place Big Davey said was a must see on this trip.

Did I mention that our guide for the Highlands and Culloden is Hugh Allison, (another friend of David’s) who is the former Director of the Culloden Battlefield.  A writer himself, Hugh will be a great addition to our trip. I bet he will have some interesting insights and a few funny stories about Davey.

We leave Hugh at Culloden and head south toward our next evening’s lodging in Pitlochry. On our way there we will make another stop at Blair Castle (3).  This is the home of the Murray Clan and is one of the busiest castles in Scotland. We will not be doing an inside tour of the castle but we will see the grounds and visit the ruins of St Brides Kirk, that is tucked away under some very old, very large trees. St Brides was built on a Druid mound and was constructed during the 1100s. Buried under the floor of the Kirk is Bonnie Dundee, one of Scotland’s strongest military leaders during the time of King James II & IV, who was killed during the battle of Killiecrankie, just a couple of miles down the road.

After an early afternoon check in at our hotel and time to catch your breath, we’ll head toward our evenings destination, a wedding and dinner at Murthly Castle (4) near Dunkeld. We plan to be there around 4 pm to tour the glorious grounds of this 15th century castle in daylight then move into the 17th century chapel for the wedding of our good friends Randy Dedrickson and Susan Barry Hallenburg. We’ll have great music for the service featuring bagpipes, Susie Malcolm on harp and her husband, 2004 Scots Trad Songwriter of the Year, Jim Malcolm, singing and playing guitar.  The local minister, Rev. Bill Ewart (in kilt of course), will be officiating at one of his last services, as he is due to retire in April.

Once the service is completed we move into the castle for dinner and an evening of more great music. Jim will join us again in the evening and Scottish fiddler Pete Clark along with a pianist will perform and also play some dance music for us. Can you say ceilidh? (kay-lee)

I might also mention that our special guest for the evening (besides the bride & groom) will be the owners of Murthly Castle. Cool, huh?

So, there you go, four castles and a wedding. And this all happens within a 36-hour period.

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