Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Swiftly Goes the Current


Very quickly I passed through a few towns on my way up North. Stirling was a nice small town, with a castle, and a fantastic graveyard surrounding the high kirk. I was lucky[1] enough to be there on one of the two days of the year where there was free entry to the castle. The castle was a little bit more impressive in scale then Edinburgh castle.

While there has been a castle in some form on the hill, the most recent incarnation was updated by King James IV to impress his French[2] bride. He didn't actually live to see the renovation finished, due to his death two years later. His son, James V actually completed the renovation. Stirling was the capital of Scotland only through James V's reign, however. Once his grandson James VI (and later I of England) was crowned king, the capital was returned to Edinburgh.[3]

I headed up to Dundee, misreading my guide book about it actually being "worth a stop." It was entirely the opposite, actually. Being a bit of a industrial town (and one where all the interesting things to see were closed anyway), I ended up relaxing and catching a movie. Capote, is a pretty good film, by the way.

I'm up in the central Highlands at the moment, in Inverness. I plan to head over to a nature reserve/national park tomorrow to do some walking (as if I haven't done enough...). Here there is snow-peaked mountains, clear rivers and amazingly bright skies. This made for probably one of the most enjoyable train rides yet.

Actually I've been surprised at the amount of sun there's been up here. Although every day seems to either start out as shit and then suddenly become sunny, or start out sunny and suddenly become shit. I've noticed that's about what the weather forecasts are worth as well. They basically say rain all week, but none of it has really proven to be at all accurate.

[1] Or Unlucky, depending on your view point. I actually enjoyed Edinburgh castle a little more in comparison for two reasons. First, there was hardly anyone there due to the weather. Second, there were almost no kids. Free day was like noisy kid central.

[2] This could be the original word used for "high maintenance."

[3] This concludes the history lesson.

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