Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island – Photo Essay

We drove from Perth, Scotland to the Culloden House right outside Inverness.

This is where Bonnie Prince Charlie Edward Stuart hatched his plans for the last Jacobite battle against the English. Inside the stately manor, filled with antiques, I could imagine heads of state colluding over tea in the day room while others took their Scottish breakfast across the way.

Culloden House Entrance

The Outlander Connection:

My husband, Danny, brought Outlander to read during our monthlong vacation. We watched two seasons of the show on Starz and can’t wait for the third this fall. The castles, lush and verdant landscapes, and history presented in the show were a big part of why we traveled to Scotland. We learned through meeting Fergus and Sarah Jane, Diana Gabaldon, writer of the popular series, had stayed at Cullodun House two weeks earlier. Dang! Just missed her. I plan to meet her at a writers conference in the fall.Fergus from Culloden House and the LindausIf you ever get a chance to visit, make sure to stroll through Culloden’s walled gardens. Simply breathtaking.

Culloden Gardens

Loch Ness was only minutes away from Inverness by car.

A long finger of a waterway, the waves rippled in greeting. I half expected a dragon-like head to appear on its choppy surface. Believe me, I searched for Nessie on behalf of all of you. I captured a video too. Stay tuned for my Loch Ness Encounter… What is the shadow under the water?

Loch Ness and Nessie

My blogging friend, Barb Taub invited us to visit her on Arran Island. We responded with a resounding YES! I figured we could stay overnight in Oban before meeting her the next day.

Mistakes were made.

While we continued down the western side of Scotland, Danny asked me how far it was from Oban to the Adrossan Ferry.

I sat in the passenger seat mesmerized by the scenery.

“I’ll check when we get there,” I said and dreamily stared outside at the thick forest on the west side of the road, noticing the vivid contrast of the treeless green highlands only yards away to the east.

I thought I picked a point right outside Adrossan. Not so. It was a three hour tactical error. Oopsy. We would have to get up early to make the island ferry.

Our luck returned and we found a lovely hotel and booked their last room; the luxury suite. I was super excited until I stepped inside. The last time they decorated must have been in the 1930’s. But after a long day of sightseeing, I was thankful for the sagging antique furniture and slept like the rock that could describe the firmness of the bed.

We met Robert Downey Jr’s doppelgänger; a great bartender and host. I could never tire of that Scottish brogue. Danny found a photo of Colorado Highlanders in the hall. Ironic!

Robert Downey Jr.'s Doppelganger

The next morning, we drove to Adrossan. With all the winding roads, it took us a little longer to get to the ferry than expected, but we made it with time to spare. Whew!

We docked on Arran Island and walked down the pier. Barb Taub and I greeted each other like old friends. I’ve known her through blogging for several years now. When I first met her, she lived in a humongous English castle. She has been a supportive friend and is just as lovely in person! So positive and warm, she welcomed us to her newly renovated and gorgeous home situated on a hill between enormous fuchsia trees. Yes, those hanging baskets we buy can become ginormous! She is an author (check out her fabulous books here) and her blog at Barb Taub, Writing and Coffee, Especially Coffee.

Barb Taub and Susie Lindau on Arran Island

After tea time, including delicious cookies, (I’d love the recipe, Barb!) she drove us to another part of the island. We would see something so mysterious, scientists still can’t explain why they exist.

Barb Taub on Arran Island

Danny and Barb on Arran Island

Sheep on Arran Island

The Mysterious Standing Rocks on Arran Island.

We hiked among the baaing (that appears to be a real word), sheep to the standing rocks; an unexplainable, ancient henge. Positioned with the sun in mind, several of these circular groupings have been there for thousands of years. Scientists tested their composition and they aren’t from any place near the island. Whoa.

Standing Rocks on Arran Island

I tried to step through one of them like Clare in Outlander, but all I got was a knot on my pointy head.

Pulling a Clare from Outlander

More about the standing rocks will appear in a later post.

We woke early to catch a flight to London. I wished we could spend more time with Barb, but more adventures lay ahead.

Scotland's Culloden House, Loch Ness and Arran Island

This trip has been beyond my wildest dreams. The next evening, we met another fabulous blogger friend. She happened to be in our London neighborhood the night before the famous Bloggers Bash.

Lots more to come including Comic Con where I met Andrew Gower who plays Bonnie Prince Charlie! Life is so ironic.

Do you have any vacation plans? Any staycation plans? Have you ever watched Outlander?

Related Posts:

Scotland – So Far So Very Good – Photo Essay (Dalhousie Castle, Rosslyn Church, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh)

Crossing Paths with Mary Queen of Scots – Photo Essay

72 thoughts on “Scotland’s Culloden House, Loch Ness and Barb Taub’s Arran Island – Photo Essay

  1. I have no vacation plans yet so possibly a staycation for me – fingers crossed for some sunshine! I have never watched Outlander even though everyone raves about it, I know they filmed some not far from me at Doune Castle! More fantastic pictures, your trip sounds fantastic! Glad you made that ferry!!!

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  2. Looks like you had a fabulous time in Scotland and he UK. Our vacation is the lake (where I am now) and chores that I put off during the school year. Right now chores are losing badly to the lake (and other distractions). I head to North Carolina for a social studies conference next weekend and I am excited and a little nervous. Summer is ripping past – it always passes faster than the school year. Enjoy your transition back to home and there mountains.

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    • It was a blast! I could have stayed another month. Then we came home the thunderous hooves of workers; movers, painters, woodworkers. It’s starting again today! Danny added more to the list, so they may be here for a while. I might find a spot at a coffee shop.
      Sounds like a fabulous summer, Clay! This is the time of year to be distracted or else you’ll feel like you missed out. (Permission granted – Ha!)
      Conferences always get my butterflies fluttering. It’s always fun to be with “your people” who can commiserate and understand.
      Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That looks so beautiful! What a fantastic trip! I have always wanted to take a trip somewhere over there and when I see pictures it makes me want it even more! Hoping that one day we make it there… 🙄 lol!!

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    • I would highly recommend Scotland! We met a Scottish “lad” in Aspen back in April when we only had an inkling about going. He said to bring rain gear everywhere you go, or you’ll stay home. Great advice! My Gortex jacket was the bomb. The weather never gets that cold, just damp. There’s so much to explore! I would go back tomorrow.
      With a name like Adventure 57, I bet you’ve been to many countries!

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  4. It was SO much fun to meet the Wild Rider in the Gortex. I hope you’ll be back and can stay longer next time. Sue Vincent is inviting participants to go on a walking tour of stone circles in the Highlands in September, and I can’t wait.

    I can’t remember which cookies I served? Lately I’ve been baking the Martha Stewart lemon cookies, so here’s the (very easy!) recipe for those.

    http://www.marthastewart.com/315603/glazed-lemon-cookies

    If that’s not right, try them anyway. SO good. That’s assuming, of course, that you’re allowed back in your kitchen. After living on the porch for a year of renovation, I feel your pain. Or you could always come back to Scotland, and I’ll bake them for you. Er… not right away though, because we’re in “sunny” Spain until end of July. It’s been pouring rain, so the dog and the Hub are sad. But I’m getting a ton of writing done, so hooray for the rain in Spain.

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    • It was a highlight of our trip. I’m so glad we met up! We really enjoyed it. Hiking the Highlands is on my list for next time. 🙂
      Ha! I love it, Barb. I wouldn’t normally hope for rain… How are the tapas?
      I’ll try the lemon cookies! You are such a great baker. Let us know if you’re ever in OUR neighborhood! Lots of room here in Boulder. I’ll clear a space since the construction continues…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful photos! I got to meet Diana Gabaldon this past spring when spoke at the Frye Festival. I went to her lecture and stood in line for a photo and an autograph and she was a wonderful lady. So lovely to her fans! I hope you get to meet her too, it was a wonderful, inspiring experience for me.

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    • Thank you, Jennifer!
      If I go to a Denver Writers Conference in the fall, I’ll meet her then. She sounds very popular! Usually the authors are pretty accessible to everyone at conferences and we have a chance to visit with them during meals or in the bar. We’ll see!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so jealous but super glad that you got to experience all of this amazingness. And, if anybody’s going to actually see “Nessie” it will be you my dear. These kinds of things just always seem to happen to you.

    Keep the exciting adventures coming because I’m living vicariously through you my friend. Bring on the weird rocks.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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    • Thanks Patricia! The weirdest things do happen to me. I’ve been back for over a week and I’m still dreaming about Europe. Much better than dreams about the usual. Any plans to travel this summer?

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      • Not until September. We may sneak away for a couple of days in August (my husband’s 60th birthday) but so far no plans (he won’t let me plan anything). I’ve booked all the rooms under Rickrode so we’re free to go if he so chooses to go somewhere or do something.

        Patricia

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  7. That’s weird about the rocks, isn’t it? There are a couple of other places in the world where the rocks can’t be explained. I think someplace in the jungles of South America there are huge round rocks that are so out of place and are unexplainable. Meteorites? Who knows? But your trip sounds great, except for the hard beds. Why are most hotel/motel/B&B beds so hard?!

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      • That’s great Susie! I suspect this means you made it to the bloggers bash. If so, I’m sure it was a great time (and I’ll have to try to make it next year).

        Busy here. My wife talked me into having another home built recently, so we’re dabbling in construction and decorating and moving. Chores that are well outside my wheel house.

        Hopefully we’ll be able to wrap this up before the season is over. The Camino de Santiago is beckoning…

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    • You are a wise lady. Barb is the best baker! I’m going to try the recipe too. I’ve been lucky to meet so many bloggers in real life. It’s always so easy after meeting online. We are all pen-pals!
      It really was a memorable vacation. I’m still settling in!
      How has your summer been going?

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      • This will be my first summer in twenty some years that I won’t spend any time in Colorado ☹ but there’s so many other places that beckon to be explored. BUT I have a feeling Colorado will be in the plans next summer!

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    • You mean Outlander? That show ROCKS! You should go to Scotland. Make sure to do a little research on your clan. The country is full of history! Yep. I drove, but made a better navigator, so Danny did the lion’s share. 🙂
      Thanks for swinging by, Jan! Hope your summer has been stellar!

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  8. Scotland is definitely on my list to visit Susie. So much history & beauty. How wonderful you were able to meet up with Barb. This has been one of the most enriching perks of blogging for me, the wonder friends from all over the world, we have had the opportunity to meet.

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    • Scotland is the best and felt magical. I can see where it inspired writers and artists.
      I love meetups. A lady who happened to to stop my my blog party last week lives in Boulder. We will definitely meet up! If you’re ever in the area, let me know!

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  9. Oh, I’m so glad we ‘met’ on Twitter today and you sent the link to your blog. And we have a mutual friend in Barb. I live in Scotland and we visited her when we were on Arran earlier this year. I was at the Bloggers’ Bash, too. Seems like we’ve been almost in meeting distance. Glad you had a good time in Scotland.
    I haven’t watched Outlander but Sam Heughan who plays Jamie is from a village close to where I live! I haven’t met him but the man across the road has because Sam used to be a Boy Scout.

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    • We absolutely LOVED Scotland and meeting Barb Taub. Such a great trip.
      Wow! There were quite a few bloggers I didn’t get a chance to talk to at this years Bash. Sorry I missed the opportunity!
      I would be lurking in Sam’s village if it were nearby. Ha! You’ll see why when you watch the show. Apparently, it just starting to air on Starz in the UK.
      So glad to meet you!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. These pictures and stories about your European vacation are great! So glad that you could connect with a blogging buddy and that she gave you a tour into the mysteries of the island. What was up with those rocks?! What a trip! I’m looking forward to reading your post on those. Pictures super great. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Thanks, Guat! Went to a Bloggers Bash after that and saw lots of friends. That’s my next post!
      I’m dying right now. This Asian lady is giving me a pedicure while smacking my legs! Now she’s digging her nails into them. What kind of crazy place is this? Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, this is absolutely gorgeous!! I was only able to spend a few days in Edinburgh, I MUST get out further on my next trip. I love that Scotland has the same depth of history as England but somehow feels more calm and relaxed! And I’m on my fourth rewatch before Season 3 😶 It looks like it’s going to be amazing!!!

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    • Ha! You are even a bigger Outlander fan than me.
      There are a lot less people in Scotland, but what seemed to be a higher population of sheep. The Highlands and lochs are gorgeous. I can’t wait to go back!

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  12. This post made me yearn (even more) for an international trip. So many amazing places to visit. I’m looking forward to reading all the “more on that later” posts to come!

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  13. How wonderful your trip sounds! And fabulous to meet a blogging friend. I loved the Outlander books, and am super disappointed that you weren’t able to walk through the stones like Clare. Dang! Maybe that one was a dud?

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    • It really was a blast. I have a few more Scotland/Outlander posts up my sleeve.

      I was so disappointed too! Man. I would’ve rocked the 16th century. Definitely a dud. If I’d been alone on the hillock, I would have tried every one!
      Thanks for stopping by, Peg!

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  14. Pingback: Fate Meets the London’s Bloggers Bash | Susie Lindau's Wild Ride

  15. I missed this one being wired for sound on a hospital bed. Since I have been marathoning Outlander after my heart attack.. I loved reading this,. Going to post it on the Lanark County Genealogical Society page

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      • My mother’s side of the family originally came from Bonar Bridge. My grandmother lived in the Fair City, Perth, for most of her/my life. My elder sister lives in East Fife but I live in the south of England these days as it’s a good idea to stay in the same place as my wife!

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        • That s a very good idea! I live with my husband too. 🙂
          My post before this covered Perth and our brief stop to find traces of my heritage through my Scottish great grandmother, Mary Melville. We went to Melville Castle and found another Mary of the Queen of Scots variety. You are all fairly close! In the States, family members can be a thousand miles away. It does make for some great trips. We’re visiting our son in California next Thursday.

          Liked by 1 person

  16. Susie, what a fabulous ride you’ve taken us on! And you met Barb Taub … THE BARB TAUB! The two of you together would be like winning the Daily Double at the track! Wonderful!

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