A Travellerspoint blog

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Day 36

LONDON

A quiet day resting. Jenny had picked up the bus flu (everyone had it and she only succumbed at the end). She was coughing all night so we went straight to the chemist in the morning. We had haircuts, nails of course, and stocked up on some supplies. But otherwise we had some coffees and rested in our hotel.

We met up with Lynne and John, our Aussie friends form the bus, at The Courtfield, our favourite pub in Earl's Court. Turned out their hotel is just around the road from ours. After a pleasant meal and good catchup we retired to our hotel for a good sleep.

Posted by Ian.jenny 09:24 Comments (0)

Day 37

EDINBURGH

Jenny still suffering from her nasty bug. Constantly coughing and feeling very average. I had developed a slightly sore throat too so it was a couple of old Kiwi crocks that boarded the train to Edinburgh at lunchtime. It is a great journey and we were pleased we had changed from car hire to train.

We arrived in the pouring rain late afternoon but we're pleased to be in Edinburgh.

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Our hotel is a bit out of the city centre in Edinburgh Park but it is a very high quality and we are living in a bit of luxury compared to the London hotel for the same price. We had a good meal at the hotel and then put ourselves to bed with Jenny coughing herself to sleep.

Posted by Ian.jenny 09:31 Comments (0)

Day 38

EDINBURGH

We were up and about in reasonable time this morning but we both felt in a bad way, especially Jenny, who got into her coughing routine at breakfast. We decided to go to a doctor first and that proved difficult. The hotel staff sent us to a hospital in the town centre but warned us we were not registered with the NHS so might have difficulty. We took a tram into town (what a great service) and got a taxi to the place. Fortunately the taxi driver was onto it and told us we wouldn't get in without an appointment. He took us to the Royal Infirmary A&E which was perfect. They were brilliant there - no wait, no hassles being Kiwis, lovely nurses and doctors, and soon we were walking out with antibiotics and no charge. Perfect!

From there we made it back to the Edinburgh Castle for a tour. It was as I remembered and was as impressive as before. The Tattoo had just finished so they were dismantling the seating but the crowds were as big as ever and we had to wait a while foe the tour. We spent well over an hour there and despite not having a guide as we had had in Europe we went away happy we had seen all we wanted.

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We were both tired by now so we rested at a cafe on the High Street for a coffee and sandwich. Jenny did well to walk all the way down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace. We didn't do any of the tours but saw a lot of old Edinburgh. We paused for a drink at Greyfriars Bobby pub. Apart from the welcome rest, it was great to watch the world go by and see the crowds hovering around the statue of the wee dog.

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We had a nice coffee in the Grassmarket which is a great part of the old town beneath the castle. By now we were tiring so we grabbed a bus and made our way slowly back to our hotel, passing Morrison Street, a very busy street in the heart of the city, on the way.

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After a well earned nap back at the hotel, we joined the rest of the guests to watch the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup and then the England v Fiji game. We needed a big sleep after that because we were on our way to Inverness in the morning.

Posted by Ian.jenny 09:38 Comments (0)

Day 39

INVERNESS

We were up a bit earlier today as we had to pick up our car from the Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station. On the way we had a quick look at the Murrayfield rugby ground even though there are no RWC games played there.

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Once we were on the journey we had a good look at parts of Edinburgh we hadn't seen before. It is a lovely city, full of history and remarkable buildings, and we wished we had more time to visit. We will probably come back!
It was a great drive north. We passed through cities and towns with familiar names - Dunfermline, Rosyth, Kinross, and we liked the scenery on the M90 north. We turned off before Dundee for the highlight of the day, St Andrews. It was a fascinating journey to the coast, passing old villages obviously based around farming and most with a large, wealthy-looking estate at the centre. And then, there ahead of us, was the Old Course itself. The number of visitors was phenomenal and it was difficult to get to the car park in amongst the hordes of tourists. We spent two hours there, had some lunch, bought some memorabilia, and wandered around the 18th hole and clubhouse.

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Unfortunately we didn't have time for a game of golf and would never have got a tee time on the championship course anyway. The museum staff explained that you need several days advance bookings to stand a chance. The day was perfect as well which is not always the case as explained to us by the experts. So it was with regret that we were on the road again to Inverness. What a journey this, through the Highlands of Scotland, a dream come true. We were true Highlanders, admiring the haunting, barren hills and admiring the heather, although it wasn't at its bloomin' best! My grandfather was born and lived for a time in the Highlands and I wished I knew more about where that was.

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However, we enjoyed the car trip and arrived late in the afternoon in Inverness. We made ourselves at home in our quaint B&B and set out later in the evening to have a meal in an Inverness restaurant with Gordon Beaton's parents, France's and Angus. Then it was home to bed to prepare for our venture to the most northerly part of Scotland.

Posted by Ian.jenny 09:13 Comments (0)

Day 40

THURSO

What a day for the history books! After leaving Inverness early in the morning we took the road to Thurso and Wick. These names revive strong memories of my Morrison grandparents and it was appropriate that we were going to stay with my cousin, Kim and his wife Jenny who lived just a few minutes out of Thurso. It was fascinating to watch the countryside change to the rugged barrenness of the far north of Scotland, to see the Highland cattle, the black swamp areas, and the low hills covered with heather, past its prime but still so much Scotland. It was great to see Kim again. We hadn't seen each other for about 17 years so it was an emotional reunion. After they had settled us in their lovely little house, we hopped into their new Kia and travelled through Thurso to Canisbay, the site of my Grandma Morrison's childhood. The Nicolson family farmed bear the village on a place called Seatter Farm. It was still there, crumbling and slowly being engulfed by vegetation but still recognisable as a home. It brought a shiver down the spine to wander around and picture Grandma living there. I had some time to myself to reminisce and feel quite emotional.

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We drove through Canisbay village where Grandma went to school and ended up in the Canisbay churchyard where we found several tombstones of the Nicolson family. It was fascinating to read some of the names I knew and others that I didn't. It encouraged me to search further.

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We ended the afternoon at Dunnet Head which turned to be further north than John O'Groats. Like Canisbay, it was an exposed, bare landscape, both beautiful and daunting. With several islands just off a wild coast, you could see why some people chose to live there. Not that we were tempted. A great place to visit, awesome views,, but too cold and windy and it was summer!

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We were then back to Kim and Jenny's cottage where they prepared us a fine tea and we spent the evening pouring over old photos and documents of the Morrison clan.

Posted by Ian.jenny 12:25 Comments (1)

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