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Inverness to Stirling

Our american sense of geographical space is really quite distorted. To drive all the way from Inverness in the north of Scotland to the very southern tip of England is 650 miles - like driving from Portland to central California. So, driving most of the way across Scotland looks daunting on a map, but it's really only 150 miles from Inverness to Stirling. Therefore, the travel is almost incidental. We had time to spend almost half a day at Culloden, have a nice lunch in Pitlochry, then arrive in Dunkeld with enough time to tour the town and the old cathedral ruins before our evening concert, and still make our hotel in Stirling before dark!

The Battle of Culloden occurred on April 16, 1746. It was the last battle fought on British soil, depending on your definition of battle, etc. This battle has received significant scrutiny and is a textbook example of military strategy. Personally, the history and politics of the entire event are complex and tend to put me to sleep, but the battlefield is covered with a beautiful array of wildflowers, including several varieties of orchids.

We made a brief stop in Pitlochry for lunch and (more) shopping. Then in was on to Dunkeld. I find the ruins of the old cathedrals to be quite fascinating. Castles are interesting and all, but they lack some of the finer artistic details in the stonework like you find in the cathedrals. Many of these cathedrals were abandoned during the Reformation and simply allowed to crumble, though I don't know the precise reason for the demise of this structure. This cathedral was built starting in 1260 and completed in 1501. As a result there are many different styles of architecture represented. We sang a concert in a chapel that has been restored from the choir end of the old cathedral.

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