Travel-blog9

Week 9 and we leave France on the Eurostar to arrive in London in the evening. Next morning we are on board the train and off to Edinburgh for a couple of days. It is an impressive city with the natural features combined with the historic buildings and rich history. We took in a guided walking tour along the royal mile hat was great un and informative. From Edinburgh we headed up north to visit Whanau and learn more about the origin of Sinclairs.

A classic shot of Edinburgh Castle. An amazing setting on the volcanic basalt hill in Edinburgh.

Another shot of the castle and more.

A walkway leading down to gardens that run between the old and new Edinburgh. At one stage this was the cesspit of Edinburgh filled up with all the cities waste.

Another shot of Edinburgh

Frankly Were letting rip a fart in Edinburgh. Yours truly was incorrectly blamed for many of these when Louise was drafting in behind my bike. Frankly Were uncovered.

This place included 18 acres and is only a couple of kms from the centre of Edinburgh. It is for sale. What do you reckon we buy it and call it Sinclair Castle?

The Elephant House Cafe from where JK Rowling wrote the first 2 Harry Potter books.

JK Rowling got some of her ideas for Harry Potter from the nearby graveyard.

Louise about to drop in on Dr Who.

Just along from the Elephant House Cafe is the Grey Friars Bobby statue. This is the most photographed tourist attraction in Edinburgh.

Enjoying all the history on the Royal Mile along with all the other tourists.

Herd of watergate

Holyrood Castle where the Queen hangs out when she comes up to Scotland. Scottish Parliament is just across the road.

Impressive Arthurs seat at the southern end of Edinburgh. Part of old volcano.

Squirrel! Squirrel! This is the nasty grey squirrel that is taking over the native red squirrel. Shortly after this photo was taken a dog burst onto the scene.

This was our B & B digs in Edinburgh. From here we caught a train to Kirkcaldy before biking the rest of the way to Dundee. Nice trip.

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Potatos growing on the southern slopes of the Lomond Hills. Nice soils, tough spuds.

Biking over the Lomond Hills that compared to Cols in France seemed just a gentle rise.

The village of Falkland - very pretty and at one stage the centre for the Kingdom of Fife.

Pretty hard to bike past this one without popping in to keep our fluid levels up.

As you travel north through Scotland you get a sense of how much the English have dispossessed them. Not many of you would know for instance that David Bowie is actually Scottish.

This pretty much confirms that even the beetles were Scottish.

Frankly Were again checking out flowers - this time at Newburgh.

Check out the green along the Tay and another Castle not quite in the Chateaux category.

Louise biking so fast and with such power along the Tay that the slip stream is blowing the fence over.

Frankly Were wondering where top half of Craig is?

Heard of whalerider? This is salmon rider at Newburgh on the Tay.

Louise's habit of following rules has seen a major transition to 'guidelines' with another transgression as detour signs are ignored. Adapting quite quickly to both French and Scottish culture.

This was another earlier example of Louise's transition where rules become guidelines. This was back in France, Val de Bans, with Louise taking s short cut down a one way street but not the right way.

Along the Tay all the villages of the likes of Wormits have all the same style cool looking grey stone buildings and then all of a sudden this bright yellow option turns up. Cool. Not sure if the builder or painter are still alive.

Cycling across Tay bridge. It's long and the cycle way is in the centre between the car lanes.

For something different at the end of the bridge cycle way is a bike lift to take you down to the road leading in to Dundee.

We pedal into Dundee and Frankly Were impressed with Moiras kind hospitality with the offer of a beer. Moira not quite so impressed on learning the little bastard had not pushed a pedal the whole journey.

Frankly Were bossom buddies with Aunty Helen.

Frankly Were enjoying the flowers and checking out the glasshouse in Moiras back yard.

Frankly Were hopping around on a guided tour of Moiras garden with a local mate.

Frankly Were hopping into trouble with Moira with being caught sneaking under the bird netting o flog some of her strawberries.

Frankly Were helping Louise hang out the washing.

Frankly Were meets a gnome with only 1 stilt and offers some support.

Frankly Were enjoying the flowers at Helens garden.

Frankly Were joining in graduation ceremonies at St Andrews.

Frankly Were giving a sermon at the St Andrews University chapel.

3 hot chicks checking out an old digs along the St Andrews coastline and checking if My old man was still at the top of the tower from 40 years ago or if he had managed to escape.

Frankly Were checking out the St Andrews red light district.

St Andrews has the highest rate of baldness in the world. Is this due to genetics or the environment. I'll let you be the judge.

Meet some more Sincz. With Moira is brother Andrew and his 2 boys James & Benjamin.

Frankly Were impressed with James & Benjamins John Deere

What the? Frankly Were not sure what is going on here above Dundee. Does he think he can defy evolution and fly?

Frankly Were in Dundee explaining to his mates that they are lost and to follow me. Not sure if they were heading to he South Pole or the nearby pub?

Walking down to Dundee to pick up a rental car to head north to visit the Scotland home of Sinclairs at George and Shonas, we meet up with Beano and his mate.

Day breaks near Forse at George and Shonas with single figure temps, rain, strong winds and a crap forecast until late afternoon. Do we drive our bikes to Wick and then do a bike tour triangle to Thurso, John O'Groats and back to Wick in the very open Caithness environment or do we take up Georges kind offer of an all day guided our in a heated car. Tough choice. This poto is on the way to Dounreay showing the open peatland that covers much of the Caithness district. There has been a move to get some trees growing and also you do see some windmills dotting he landscape. Thanks George for a great day .

George drove us past the Dounreay Fast reactor unique sodium cooled Nuclear plant . This is where he works and it is currently being decommissioned. Here we visit a cool model of the giant golf ball where it all happens in the Thurso museum. Really interesting and it was great to see how they explained that Dounreay was an ideal site with excellent transport, few earthquakes, excellent staff but were p front with saying the key factor was - it's a long way from London.

George explaining to Louise some of the finer detail of the guts of the nuclear reactor inside the golf ball. This is where it all happens in a container about the same size as a rubbish bin creating a huge amount of energy with no CO2 emmissions. Can't help thinking that somewhere here there is a good solution.

Great surf up here close to Thurso. One of the top UK spots where the Atlantic meets the North Sea. But wheres all the surfers?

Andrew and Louise and Frankly Were here at John O'Groats a couple of days after the longest day looking around for summer.

Check out the John O'Groats town planning with the Castle format blending beautifully with the colourful bach style. You have got to see it.

Spectacular lead in to the mighty Sinclair Castle. What a setting! Also unlike most other Chateauxs and Castles its free entry. A Mauku Sinclair has to check this out.

Another view of Sinclair Castle. Reckon when Sam was here he must have found a 2nd Sinclair Castle as his was surrounded by blue sky and no wind

Frankly Were getting the all OK to enter via the front door high security system.

Louise and George inside Sinclair Castle enjoying the open air conditioning system.

3 aging Sinclairs

Sinclair Castle in it's hay day

The harbour at Wick. This is the largest village to the south of John O'Groats and perhaps the largest in the Caithness area. Heart of the Sinclairs. Again there was herrings. Whisky making has survived with one of the local brews being Pulteney. A liquor of this is a nice drop and a favourite of Cousin Moiras.

Lybster harbour which is close to where Kiwi Sincz came from. Used to be a thriving little port chasing lots of herrings but overfishing nailed that one.

A Sinclair reunion at the almost local restaurant and pub at Dunbeath. Shona & George at the back with their daughter Lindsay and George's sister Rita and her husband George

The view looking out the window.

George and Shona's house at Forse.

Frankly Were impressed and George and Shona very proud of their Kiwi Cabbage Tree that is around 20 years old. It is a survivor having died back a bit a few years ago, but now back thriving

A statue in recognition of the land clearances by the likes of some Sutherland dude - yet another reason to start up a tribal scrap.

Dunrobin Castle between John O'Groats and Inverness. Very flash inside and out apart from the fact that it is the Sutherlands Castle who picked on the Sinclairs etc etc. Bastards..

Frankly Were enjoying the giant gunnera in the castle gardens.

At the castle there was a cool falconery display by this guy here showing off one of his hawks with a few dead chickens in it's crop

'Now who's pissed me off the most and is about to get a scalp massage?'

The perigrin falcon, fastest bird in the world,swoops down and gathers a piece of rabbit thrown in the air.

Louise cuddles up to a giant eagle owl - well almost.

Low flying just before his wings hit my head on the down stroke. Impressive.

Frankly Were not so sure if the young falconers son can prevent the eagle owl from attacking. Thinking an eagle owl could even be worse than a Tarn Gorge vulture. Frankly Were was very happy to be iin the car and heading to Inverness to begin our last week in Scotland