|The bar at the Dome|
|Did someone say toasties? NOM.|
|Outside BrewDog Edinburgh|
|In front of Edinburgh Castle|
* * *
December 30, 2011
|Arthur's Seat (to the left) at dawn|
After shutting down the Dunkeld woodland site, North Perthshire property manager Ben Notley explained: “The Hermitage took a battering with yesterday’s winds and unfortunately we have lost a lot of trees. Some of these are very large, root systems have been uprooted and the area is very unsafe... We hope to reopen in time for the Christmas holidays.”
Thank goodness they succeeded! Still, memories of touring Point Pleasant Park after Hurricane Juan followed me back to the bus.
|At the Moulin Inn and Brewery|
|That roast pork was even tastier than it looks|
Aside: the other distillery, Edradour, was a tantalizing few hundred metres beyond the inn. Ah, for more time. And I've never seen such a selection of their whisky as was behind that bar! Bottles of 'Straight from the Cask' I'd never heard of, tall bottles(!) -- I know them for their stubby bottles; there were easily a dozen varieties on display. I shall return!
Euan brought us back through Aberfeldy and Crieff as the snow gave way to rain. As we drove by Stirling Castle, the fog obscured all but a few lights at its base.
* * *
the Torchlight Procession.
If you haven't heard of it, look it up! It - blew - my - mind.
Wesley United Church in St. John's when I was a kid -- where the colossal responsibility of tempering flame and wax barely left me breath to sing -- and these were flaming brands of wood, rope and wax longer than my forearm! The street was full of them! As far as the eye could see! And there was danger on the wind, for surely so much wood-smoke is no campfire, but a raging inferno, my brain would periodically pipe.
And as if that weren't enough, they closed it with fireworks right overhead, almost asking to be cupped in our upraised hands.
We truly were drunk on it. Back at the fair and Christmas market by the Scott Monument, we sang, can-can'd, and pole-danced, sanity be damned! Then, exhausted, we supped, and drank mulled whisky from a fish bowl. As Cassie would say, "Awww, yeah."
* * *
December 31, 2011
After the lie-in of champions, we seized the day, moving our New Year's Day walk up Arthur's Seat ahead. Our ambition knew no bounds as we tackled the steepest route, our breath ripped from our mouths by the gales, even as we needed it most. Still, we conquered, carefully celebrating amongst the jagged rocks and pooled water whilst being buffeted. The descent offered little respite, and while brown bums and scrapped hands surrounded us, we eventually emerged unscathed, largely thanks to the course struck by 'Billy Goat' Button.
[After a quick stop for groceries, it was time to prepare for the imminent celebrations...]
* * *
January 1, 2012
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The fireworks display, mirrored at Holyrood Palace and the castle, blew my socks off! And while things dispersed shortly thereafter, our band of eight kept the party goin' a good while longer.
Check out our Picasa album for more pictures from the trip.