Bear in mind that until we get our internet set-up, my internet access is very erratic and I am not able to post pictures. Once we get wifi I'll come back to these posts and add in the appropriate photos.
Monday the 21st
The Miss W's started school while I tidied up my quarters and did a bit of reading myself. Then I walked to the Helmsdale railway station to see the departure times. The station here is unstaffed and fairly small, but there is, for a price, public transportation from Helmsdale.
In the afternoon we all drove down to Dunrobin castle, about thirty miles south along the coast. Dunrobin was an estate of the Duke of Sutherland, who was much disliked because of his part in the Higland Clearances. The castle itself is not open to visitors until April, so we walked around the gardens and the outside of the building. Standing on the portico surrounding the castle one can see out to sea. There are three fountains in the gardens, lots of hedges, fruit trees, and flower plants that weren't yet budding. There were quite a few snowdrops, however. Even without the flowers it was still very pretty.
The back view from below.
A garden from above.
The gate to the sea.
There were several garden ponds.
The clouds were cooperative.
Then we drove to Dornoch and stopped in Dornoch Cathedral. Dornoch Cathedral is a rather confusing mixture of old and new. The original building was built in 1239, but was burned down in 1570. The building was then restored throughout the years at various times starting in 1616.
I wanted to touch something from the earliest part of the church, but not knowing exactly what was what I settled for the sarcophagus of Sir Richard de Moravia(there wasn't a sign saying not to touch it), who was killed in battle around 1240.
Then we had tea at the Dornoch castle hotel, which used to be not a fortified castle but just a really nice house for a Bishop way back when. The young ladies I had hot chocolate(still not really getting into tea), and it was quality. We were served a mug of hot milk with a block of Belgian chocolate on a stick to melt in the milk. I also had a scone, which of course was served with butter, real whipped cream, and jam. Do you believe me now when I say I'm going to be fat when this is over?