Sheepdogs, Waterfalls, and Fish n’ Chips

It was a peaceful, comfortable night at the cabin and warm temperatures and a sheepdog named Meg greeted us this morning. I had seen photos of Meg on Facebook and heard quite a bit about her from Helen. She belongs to the farm across the road and is a special, special dog in that she is a very loving and friendly sheepdog. Meg is also a hard working sheepdog.

She was resting outside the door of the cabin and I went to say good morning. Helen goes out for a lot of walks with Meg so I figured we’d try one too. As Meg, Dave and I set up for a short walk, I could hear a cat meow. I turned around and an adorable silver tabby cat came running down the drive for us then insisted on going on the walk too. Felt like we had a little family walking down the road. 

Helen arrived and because the weather was so nice, she took us to some outdoor attractions…and they were amazing attractions! 

Our first stop was the Queen’s View in Highland Perthshire. It overlooks Loch Tummel and is said to have been named after Queen Victoria, following her visit to the area in 1866, but most believe it was actually named after King Robert the Bruce’s wife, Queen Isabella in the 1500’s. 

As we were enjoying the fantastic view and taking photos a single Tornado fighter jet buzzed the overlook and freaked Dave and I out because it was literally at eye level it was so low! Helen says that happens quite frequently as they’re practicing maneuvers, but for Dave and I, it was most impressive…almost as impressive as that view! 

The next agenda item today was Dunkeld Cathedral in the lovely village of Dunkeld. It is approached on foot through the narrow streets of Dunkeld which lead you to the Cathedral’s ornate gates. With the River Tay on one side and open land leading to hills on the other, the setting is idyllic. 

It was built in stages between 1260 and 1501 and has suffered extensive battles and rebuilds. Dunkeld Cathedral is a building of two very distinct partd. Its east end is a rather attractive parish church still in use today; its west end, apart from the bell tower and chapter house, a roofless ruin with a grassy carpet. Unfortunately for us, the ruins are being worked on and we were not able to enter but only look in and take very strategically posed photos to avoid scaffolding. it was still beautiful and the surrounding views are lovely. 

As we were walking along one of the paths up from the river, we noticed a pretty kitty cat sleeping on one of the benches and he was very calm and loving. He became the Dunkeld Kitty to us. LOL It also reminded us of William the large cat at Rosslyn Chapel that we saw n Monday and the we had our third kitty this morning at the cabin. 

On our walk back through Dunkeld, we stopped for lunch at a great little spot called Spill the Beans cafe. We all had some tasty soup and sandwiches and their selection of teas and desserts was impressive. I got a tea to go (or Take Away as they call it) and picked out a piece of mint chocolate pie. 

The next round of spectacular scenery Helen showed us was The Hermitage. It’s a national landmark set up in the 1700’s with wooded paths, wonderful trees and the crown jewel being the spectacular views of Black Linn Falls. With a viewing building that opens up directly over the center of the falls, you couldn’t be in a better viewing position unless you flew over it. There are beautiful moss-covered trees and huge rocks that create a blanket of green over everything and it creates a very magically, woodland fairyland. 

Our last stop today was to visit Blair Castle, which has been the traditional home of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl and Clan Murray. The oldest part of the castle dates back to the 1200’s and is a wonderful example of the wealth and power this family has had. It was a popular spot with Queen Victoria and the guides within the castle were wonderful and VERY knowledgable. Although there are still private residences within the castle that would be lived in, the current Duke, does not live here, but lives in South Africa. 

The setting is wonderful with a long, straight, tree-lined entrance drive and because it’s all painted white, the castle truly stands out against the backdrop of the Cairngorms Mountains. There are also expansive gardens and we saw swans sitting on their nest and a stunning brilliant blue peacock. 

For dinner tonight, we opted for an easy dinner at the cabin. So, we stopped at a local fish n’ chip shop and Helen, Dave, and I sat out on the porch of the cabin listening to the stream, sheep, and the birds eatings our take out fish with a few drinks. 

As we were eating we had an opportunity to see Meg the sheepdog at work on the farm. She was helping to herd from cows into a separate pen. What a great show! 

Because we only had one more day left of our adventure with Helen, she left us with her comments book to sign and she gave us a lovely book on Scotland. And somehow, in and amongst all of the time she spent with us the last five days, she had two prints made of photos she took on our borders tour last Monday. The photos were of the touching rainbow that appeared while we were having tea and the other photo was of me admiring the rainbow out the window. I was very moved by the extremely thoughtful gifts and look forward to looking through the book she gave us and finding more areas I want to go in Scotland! 🙂 

After Helen left us, I then had to try and come up with words to express what our adventure with her in Scotland meant to us to write in the book. Not an easy task….I needed more wine! I think Dave and I came up with some good words. It’s difficult to put our feelings into words. I hope we succeeded.

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