day three & four: Loch Ness/Inverness and Cawdor

disclaimer: i'm a massive nerd

Sunday night brought us into Dores, which is right on Loch Ness. We stayed at the adorable Pottery House Inn (thanks Katy for the recommendation!) I was super super excited to finally visit Loch Ness. 

Fun fact (maybe you can relate): remember in elementary school when you had to do ‘reports’ on people, animals, places, etc? I always chose the same three (because I was resourceful af, even as a kid)…Johnny Appleseed, Puffins, and the Loch Ness Monster. So random, I know. But seeing somewhere that you’ve wanted to visit since childhood, is a beautiful thing ::insert more tears of joy::

Walking along the beach of Loch Ness was surreal. The views were breathtaking and the weather was perfect for collecting rocks along the beach (I nabbed three gorgeous ones to go with my rocks from Normandy and Chateau Neuf de Pape). 

Monday started with delicious breakfast at the B&B and our journey the whopping seven miles to Inverness. I really wanted to tour the castle, but it's used as an actual court, so that wasn’t an option(😒). We could go to the top of the tower though, and that had lovely 360 views of the city. My main pull to the Inverness Castle was strictly literary. Shakespeare set Macbeth in Scotland and when I realized we would be right where the play ‘took place’, I had to see all I could. (In case you're curious, the Inverness Castle is where Lady Macbeth murdered King Duncan). 

After leaving Inverness we were just a short drive to Cawdor Castle which I absolutely had to see. I tried explaining my giddiness of seeing a real place with fictional significance to Justin, but failed. I fully realize that the closest thing the Cawdor Castle has to Macbeth is that Shakespeare *probably* stayed there during his final revision of Macbeth (yes, Macbeth was an actual Thane of Cawdor, but a few hundred years before the play was written). But oh my gah, I was freaking out big time as we pulled in through the forest where the three wyrd sisters would have prophesied Macbeth's downfall (if it were real life 😂) ::insert more tears of joy:: 

Just like with the puffin/bunny ecstasy, I can’t articulate the insane happiness I felt walking up to Cawdor Castle. Here's what is *really* crazy: the castle is still occupied by Lady Cawdor. That’s right, a 72-year-old lady (literal, capital 'L' lady) still lives there. I walked through her bedroom. And if I’m being honest, she's a bit of a hoarder with odd taste. Don’t get me wrong, there were tapestries and fancy pants china, but she had this obsession with orbs. 

Annnyyyyway, the gardens were splendid and smelled gorgeous, and on our way out I saw some black sheep and we had a photo sesh. I then started singing “Baa Baa Black Sheep” (as one does when photographing black sheep).

Feeling elated and with my literary tank 'full' we headed east to Rothes where we would be diving into the distillery portion of our vacation. I welcome any Scotch Whiskey recommendations, as I've not appreciated any thus far....