Inside Scotland: Kenmore and Vicinity
We arrived in Kenmore on a bright and sunny day. It’s a small village in the northern end of Loch Tay in the Highland Perthshire mountains.
By the way, Loch is the Scottish word for Lake. On this trip, I learned more Scottish words like Aye for Yes, Nae for No, Kirk for Church, Tattie for Potato, and Bonnie for Beautiful. As usual, I had problems with the pronunciation, but the folks didn’t seem to mind. The highlanders really knew how to make a guest feel welcome.
We stayed at Kenmore Hotel. Established in 1572, it’s considered to be the oldest inn in Scotland. Finding my room was a little confusing at first. After a flight of stairs, I arrived on the floor where it was supposed to be only to realize that I had to go through a ‘fire door’ and up a few more steps to reach it. It was obviously meant to prevent fire and smoke from spreading in case of fire. At the same time, it provided a lot of privacy making it suitable for honeymooners and ax murderers alike. Any sound the occupants make resulting from ecstasy or plain horror would be oblivious to the outside world.
|Credit: The Strand Magazine|
If you love the outdoors, Kenmore will suit you fine. It’s great for fishing, canoeing, hiking, or simply getting away. In fact, Queen Victoria, who had recently been surpassed by her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, as the longest reigning British monarch in history, had her honeymoon here in 1840 at the Taymouth Castle. Our guide led us to the 19th century castle, which was just a half-hour walk from the hotel, but we weren’t able to see the inside because it was closed for renovation.
While in Kenmore, we visited the Scottish Crannog Centre where a prehistoric lakeside dwelling called crannog was reconstructed on the south bank of Loch Tay. The centre provides lectures and demonstrations with live audience participation as to what life was like 2500 years ago. It also displays artifacts collected from the remains of crannog settlements in the area.
We drove to the Hermitage Park in the nearby town of Dunkeld. Nestled on the banks of the River Braan in the Craigvinean Forest, it covers 33 acres of woodland. It was created by the 3rd Duke of Atholl in the 18th century who used a cannon to scatter the tree seeds on the inaccessible areas.
Our guide took us to the park’s most popular trail leading to the Black Linn Falls. He pointed to the different trees and plants that we encountered. Along the way, we stopped occasionally to marvel at one of Britain’s tallest Douglas fir trees, learn about toxic plants like the Hogweed, or simply for no other reason than to enjoy the view.
After our walk in park, we went to downtown Dunkeld for lunch and short sightseeing on our own and then to a tour of a local whisky distillery before heading back to Kenmore. The distillery tour was pretty interesting, but unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the plant. It was the rule and rules are rules and I had to respect that. In my travels, I’ve learned that folks can be sticklers for rules especially if it’s to their own interests.