Day 8 (Keswick, England to Inverness, Scotland)
We enjoyed Richard's excellent breakfast (including home-cured bacon!), then Richard provided directions to the lake so we could get a look at it and some pictures before we departed. He also surprised us with a "snack" - a couple of sandwiches, apples and cakes - for our long journey.
The lake was beautiful, and we determined that this is one place we need to return to, and spend more time. We headed north into Scotland, past Glasgow and Stirling, with the monument to William Wallace ("Highlander"), where the GPS was taking us to Doane Castle. It was slightly off on the location, but driving through town we spotted a sign for the castle and saw it just the same. We elected not to pay the admission and go in, due to the length of our drive today.
Next we were to head to Stirling Castle, but, oddly, the GPS directed us through a little village and down a dirt, single lane road through a field full of sheep, to a subdivision called, "Castle Garden." As best we can determine, we got the location from Google Maps, and plugged it into the GPS, so perhaps the Maps location was wrong. We did stumble over another castle on the way, Buchanan Castle, which appears to be used as a private home,
We fired up the GPS, and our next stop was to be Urqhart Castle, not far from Inverness. We went back over the fields on the dirt road, then some other small back roads, then north towards Loch Lomond. We drove along Loch Lomond for its entire length, then up into the highlands. The terrain was mountainous, and snow covered peaks were everywhere. We stopped for pictures a couple of times, and also shot some photos through the windows, hoping they would be presentable.
Before long we had come to Loch Ness, and drove along its entire length, as well. It was just getting to be dusk when we came to Urqhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness. We were able to take a couple of photos, but the castle access was closed.
Just as we neared Inverness, the GPS started showing us as driving across a field, then a road, then a field again. She chirped at us to "turn right" when the River Ness was to our right, then she got lost altogether. Ruth thought perhaps she had become irritated with our insistence on going places, like Doane Castle, that were not where she had directed us. In any event, we decided to adopt the Windows philosophy - if things don't work as they should, just reboot. We turned off the GPS, found a place to stop, and rebooted her. Sure enough, she immediately located our position and directed us to Ardconnel House, where we checked into our lovely room on the second floor (by the way, since in the UK they don't count the ground floor, that is the third floor in US English).