“Throw my ball for me. Come on. What are you waiting for?”
Other highlights of Thursday – the St Boniface Fair in Fortrose which was unexpectedly dry after it had been tipping down with rain. I took the teenagers into Inverness to the cinema while I went to have dinner with my sister.
Trying to find some dolphins at Chanonry Point. I had been to Inverness earlier in the day to another aqua fit class. I was quite impressed with myself for going to the gym twice on holiday.
A lesson in not believing everything you see on social media. Facebook told me that there were Highland Games at Ballone Castle. This struck me as an excellent opportunity to show our visitor from London the eccentricities of such an event. So, we duly headed up to Balllone Castle near Portmahomack.
When my husband was a child, he spent all his Summers at his grandparent’s farm near the Port. He used to go and play in the ruined Ballone Castle as did the generation before him.
Much later, the owners of Scottish luxury brand ANTA bought and restored the castle and now live in it.You can read more about how they did it here.
We wandered down the muddy path to the shoreline and found a tiny Games arena and a couple of dozen people. It felt like we were intruding on a family party so we slipped away unnoticed.
Bob recounted this all to his aunt when we visited her later in the week. She told him that she’d visited the castle after it had been restored. Apparently she had been told that the job of the restorers had been made so much more difficult by the fact that children had thrown the old masonry down to the shoreline.
Bob takes no responsibility for this. He blames his elders.
Despite being born and raised in Inverness, I had never been on a boat on Loch Ness. None of the rest of the family were remotely interested in doing a cruise, so, after 6 years of trying to persuade them, I gave up and went on my own. I took a 2 hour trip from Dochgarroch Lock on the Caledonian Canal in Inverness. It was beautiful, although the weather was not kind – very wet, cold and windy. For part of the journey, I was the only person brave enough to stay outside on the top deck of the boat.
Now, I took hundreds of photos. I could show you many beautiful views of the Loch. However, it’s been there for millions of years and will no doubt be there for a long time to come. My image for today is something much more unique.
As we returned to Dochgarroch, we met another boat. On deck was actress Prunella Scales, filming another series of Grand Canal Journeys with her husband Timothy West. Given her struggles with Dementia, it’s amazing that she is still able to do this. I felt quite emotional to see her.
The weather brightened up considerably after that. We actually sat outside on the decking outside our cottage for quite a while. I took Hazel for another walk on the beach and Bob was able to see us through his binoculars. “Are you wearing a maroon top?” he asked me when I phoned him. He’d only been sitting next to me all afternoon…
Monday’s highlight was a trip to Dores Beach with my sister and nephews.
I’d never been there before and it was good to see Loch Ness for the second day running. One of my sister’s friends brought along her springer spaniel, Socks, who was quite keen on having stones thrown into the water so he could chase them. I became his servant for the afternoon.
We needed to make an emergency trip to the shops to buy After Sun when I got back to the Black Isle. Summer had truly arrived.