Day 9 – Thursday
The gardens at Dunrobin Castle haunted our memories and we wanted to see them again – as well as the rest of the grounds. We got up on Friday and headed north. We wanted to be in time for the 10 o’clock falcon show so we left early.
This time Dunrobin was fully open and even hosted a bagpiper outside the castle door. We found out later that a wedding was to take place within the castle so perhaps this was not the usual display. We paid the entrance fee and I was once again disappointed to see the “no photography” sign. This castle was laid out well and was nicely appointed. There were a lot of informational signs in each room and the security personal were friendly and talkative. And unlike the poor guy I talked with at Blair Castle, these guys knew the answers to my questions.
Our tour took us through seventeen rooms in the castle – out of the 187 rooms available. I can only imagine the nooks and crannies and forgotten unused spaces that must be in this place.
Before I saw the “no photos” sign
I snuck this shot from the ballroom window – shhhh!
Midway through our tour we had to stop – it was time to watch the falcon show. We headed down to the gardens and directly to the benches in the yard. The weather was overcast but dry and comfortable and the benches filled up quickly.
Then, out of the blue, a Harris hawk buzzed our heads and landed on a perch at the other end of the yard. The next hour was full of feathers and facts as the falconer educated us on how falcons are trained, and why the birds keep coming back. The falconer also brought out an owl and another raptor (I missed the name of the bird) and the crowd was buzzed a few more times by low-flying birds. It was an impressive show and the time went quickly.
Falconer with owl
Fly by! (these guys were fast!)
Covering his prey
The owl (Dan for scale)
After the falcon show we resumed and finished our tour of the castle itself and then, when all seventeen rooms had been visited, we decided that it was time for lunch. We headed south to look for some place to eat and ended up taking a detour off the main road. I was hoping that we’d also find some hiking options in the area as well.
Not Bonar Bridge, but somewhat near by
Instead we found more Scottish scenery, narrow roads and eventually, the town of Bonar Bridge. There was a cafe near the bridge that looked good so we parked the car and took at seat overlooking the river. Lunch was tasty and hit the spot but by the time we finished we realized that we didn’t want to go hiking. It had been day after day of doing stuff and now we were ready to just kick back and do nothing. We returned to Aviemore and went to the local Rec. center to watch a World Cup game in the bar.