Monday, 20 April 2009

Highland Fling

Kilts were flying, sporrans bouncing and sgian dubh's flashing. Concealed weapons? Bring 'em on! No, this was not the Battle of Culloden, this was about 20 miles South, where two friends of Mags and Alien Wally were celebrating their Wedding.

Unbeknownst to Mags and Alien Wally, a Scottish wedding (and especially a Highland wedding) is typically celebrated with a Céilidh (kaylee). To paraphrase Wikipedia, "before discos and nightclubs, there was The Céilidh."

Being blissfully unaware what might transpire during the wedding celebrations, Mags and Alien Wally were severely unprepared for the evening's turn of events. Mags' shoes for one were not particularly stable, and Alien Wally felt particularly underdressed even in full-length trousers. Perhaps it was the lack of a handy blade tucked away in a sock that left him feeling nervous.

Fortunately our naive couple were seated with a group of friendly allies more skilled in the arts of war, and with some (not so) gentle encouragement were soon kicking off shoes and jackets and getting down to the serious business of having a really great time.

The following morning Mags and Alien Wally were up surprisingly early to tackle the trip back down to Edinburgh. First stop was to visit the Church where the Wedding ceremony had taken place the day before, in order to get some pictures of what it looked like when it wasn't raining...(note, if you aim to get married in Scotland, plan B is reserved for sunny weather).

The chuch is located right on the River Spey, which must provide a most convenient source of (very) Holy Water.

Just a bit further South, the Cairngorm mountain reaches up to catch the snow, still sporting enough to entice a few late-season skiiers.
The Cairngorm Mountain

Further down the A9, Mags and Alien Wally stopped off at a popular tourist trap to see the 9th highest waterfall in the UK, The Falls Of Bruar. So popular in fact that in 1776, William Gilpin was moved to say
"Scarce worth so long and perpendicular a walk. One of them indeed is a grand fall, but is so naked in its accompaniments that it is of little value."
Well with such a glowing recommendation, how could Mags and Alien Wally not stop by? To be fair, it sounds like the area was pretty barren at the time. What was needed was an awareness drive, a "Save our Falls" campaign, celebrity involvement. Bring on the bard, Rabbie Burns, with his catchily titled poem "The Humble Petition of Bruar Water to the Noble Duke of Atholl".

So inspring that the Duke did more than
"shade the banks wi' tow'ring trees,
And bonnie spreading bushes
he planted 15 million trees and constructed the two bridges captured here.

The Lower Bridge
A Bridgelet
The Upper Bridge
The Main Falls
With such a prestigious highlight ticked off, there was nothing more to do but head back to Auld Reeky, a mostly uneventful trip made more uneventful by the half-hour traffic jam imposed by road works on the A9 in the middle of a school holiday.

Seven Year Itch

Alien Wally stumbles across a cure for the seven year itch.

Happy Anniversary Mags!