Greetings from Fort William, Scotland!

Since my last posting, we made our way to the northern reaches of the Scottish Highlands to Durness. The scenery is most indescribable. One could use adjectives such as desolate, breath-taking, magnificent, awesome, barren, lush, and more! The beaches are quite magnificent with their grand cliffs on either side and the North Sea surf pounding onto the beaches. The sand is a light tan. Sand dunes crowd in between the cliffs and encroaching coastline from above. The water looks so tropical with its deep torquoise, deep royal blue, and the crisp line of the horizon beyond. One day the clouds were puffy and sparse with a very beautiful sky-blue since the humidity was low. The next day was gale-force winds providing a pounding sound throughout the day. The clouds were low and brooding. How different the scenes looked in the change of day.

We stayed in a croft house with a family who own sheep and raise border collies. Crofts are farms, especially designated in the Highlands as part of the effort to populate the area with sheep and depopulate of people back in the 1800s. Steve and I made our way to Bettyhill to view the Strathnaver museum with its MacKay room. My great-great Grandmother Catherine MacLennan was born a MacKay (pronounced MacKi). I now would like to do further research to see if her family was part of the first Highland Clearances, which may have brought them south.

Yesterday Steve drove us 300 miles southward along the east coast of the Highlands to Fort William. After our first day of driving on the opposing side of the road, I became reluctant to continue driving. He has done an incredible job.

It is rainy here today so we’re taking advantage of the local library, coffee shops, and shopping district along the Loch. We may take a walk up to the beginning area of the Caledonian Canal, where the MacLennan’s caught a steamship to Glasgow as part of their immigration to the U.S.

Tomorrow we’ll make our way near the Edinburgh airport for a stay at a place to be determined. We shall “wing it” in finding a place. Any place with little driving in the city will be good. Then on Wednesday we fly to Stockholm, negotiate the bus system to the Arlanda airport area for a night’s stay. We fly home on Thursday to Chicago.

Love from Scotland,

Diane

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