After a good night’s sleep in Edinburgh, we got up early, even though it was Sunday, to have a relaxing breakfast and pack our suitcases, ready for our three-hour drive to Lossiemouth, Scotland. We were looking forward to our first trip through the Scottish Highlands.
As promised, the drive to Lossiemouth was filled with beautiful countryside villages and open fields with sheep, cows and farms along the way. Three hours seemed to fly by and we soon arrived at our Hotel, the Skerry Brae, which appeared to be a cross between a hotel and a B&B. We were greeted with a warm welcome by Rosie and Ian, the owners.
When I originally called to make reservations and I told Rosie that we were staying for the week, she reserved the largest room with the best view for us. When we entered the room, the first thing we saw was a view of the sea through our picture window.
It was all we needed to make our stay the best ever. The sea is my favourite place to be, near the calming waters, walking on the beach collecting rocks and seashells (my favourite beach activity). Their hospitality did not end there, as they included a full breakfast every morning for a great start to the day.
It was just the atmosphere we both needed to relax, recharge and remember to live in ‘The Moment’ again. Each morning after breakfast we would visit a neighbouring village and have lunch before Steve had to go to work on the base.
We particularly liked the village of Aberlour, which had a number of quaint shops, including the original store – still operating to this day – from which the Walkers internationally-known shortbread originated. Of course we stopped in and bought a variety of beautiful tins filled with their famous biscuits for ourselves as well as presents.
In the evening when Steve returned we would have a relaxing dinner and then head for the beach and walk until it got dark (around 10:30 pm),
talking and gazing at the sea as the sun set on the horizon, watching the birds as they effortlessly flew over the water and onto the beach. The tide went out in the evening so we could walk far out into the sand as the receding water revealed lots of rocks, shells and small sea creatures.
One evening we walked all the way to the lighthouse (a good four miles round trip) giving Steve and I plenty of time to let our minds relax and our thoughts run free with some creative conversation along the way.
The village of Lossiemouth is situated on the north tip of the eastern half of Scotland. It is on a peninsula, which gives it the unique ability to have both an east and west-facing beach.
The West Beach is less developed, whilst the East Beach is closer to most of the seafront restaurants and shops – the harbour is between East Beach and West Beach,
The Skerry Brae overlooks the West Beach and the golf course, making the view even that much more tranquil.
The Skerry Brae was in a prime location for viewing all things flying.
Loads of various seagulls and other birds that live near the sea during the day, and equally diverse military aircraft in the evening, as they returned to the RAF base at the end of their day. We had our own personal airshow every evening.
One day, while watching the planes come in, one of the jets looked very familiar – it was one of Steve’s jets. Seeing it approach the RAF base a bit earlier than expected, Steve hopped in the car and drove in to work. As the Skerry Brae is less than a mile from the base, Steve was able to get there just after the plane landed, but before the engines had been turned off.
Steve and I went to the Benromach Whisky distillery in the town of Forres. We took the tour through the distillery and learned about whisky and the differences in tastes due to the different kinds of barrels that they are aged in.
Benromach uses a variety of barrels, including oak barrels from the USA for one of their whiskys, and port and bourbon barrels as well. The type of barrel that they use and the length of time that it is aged (3 -60 years) is what creates the different flavours.
We also learned about the distilling process from the start to the finished product and now understand why a 40, 50 and 60 year old Single Scotch Whisky is so expensive. As the tour guide explained, the “Angels” who watch over the barrels during the aging process seem to take some whisky along the way (really it is a natural part of the process, as the vapours escape from the barrels). Some lose more that others and only when it has reached maturity do they know how much is left in the barrel.
We visited Elgin Cathedral, known as the ‘Lantern of the North’. From the time of its construction in the 13th century, through to the time of its demise at the Reformation in the 16th, this monumental building dominated the flat and fertile Laich of Moray.
What is left are the remnants of this ancient Cathedral, a historic ruin as you see by the pictures above. It was amazing to see what is left of it as we walked around the grounds taking pictures of it from many angles to try and capture it’s beauty.
All of the neighbouring villages that we visited were quaint with beautiful stone houses and cottages with streets lined with specialty shops and cafes and small parks and common areas filled with a variety of colourful flowers all in bloom this time of the year.
It was like a ‘Blast from the Past’ in the sense that things cost less in the shops and at the cafes – there was real value for money like it used to be. It was a slower pace of living where people were not rushing anywhere for anything – just enjoying the warm weather and visiting with family and friends. You can see an example from the picture below of the ‘Filling Station’ like in the 50’s – referred to as petrol stations today.
As our week in Lossiemouth came to an end, we both felt ready to return to our home in Lincoln relaxed, recharged and ready to enjoy our life in England again.