The Same but Different

Having reached Inverness, the most sensible return route to Aberdeen was back the way we came. While I would have preferred to find new ground to cover, things do look different coming the other way and we found plenty of ways to mix it up a bit.

For starters, this time we stopped overnight in Inverness. Arriving late, we hurried out to find a place for dinner and stumbled onto Hootananny, which is a Ceilidh bar with live music. Since a large round table was the only one available, we were soon joined by three young people from London. We hadn't expected to be there long enough for the music to start, but between a delay in getting our food and great conversation with our table mates we did in fact hear some of the music. By that time, the place was packed. We certainly found local color.


On our first trip across the northern coast, the weather was cool with a mix of sun and clouds, and windy. This time it was uncharacteristically warm and sunny with light winds. Our tights and heavy jackets were stashed deep in our panniers, and I even nixed the wool socks. While the daffodils and tulips were finished, the gorse bushes were still brilliant yellow, and lilacs were now blooming as well.

Molly and lilacs

Retracing our route gave us a chance for some re-dos. Findhorn was recommended to us en route, and I almost suggested a spontaneous detour. But I didn't, and rather regretted it. We fixed that this time with a stopover in the little town on a bay. The warm weekend day brought everyone out to the water where there were sailboats racing, folks rowing a wide skiff, and even a water skier. Quality time spent on a park bench was a must.
Repeating means getting to do favorite bits again. The path on top of the cliffs was a standout for me, particularly the last 6 miles approaching Cullen. And crossing atop the old via duct to reach the town was a classic. This time it was the perfect day to avail ourselves of the fabled Cullen Ice Cream Shop. We knew we had the right place. There was a long line out the door.
Rich was eager to have another pub meal at the King's Arms. I was concerned it would not live up to our first warm and jovial experience there, but I need not have worried. The sequel was every bit as good.
Approaching Cullen 1
Approaching Cullen 2
Cullen 1
Cullen 2

Nearly three weeks have passed since we first covered this ground. It seems inconceivable that we saw some of this on only our second day of touring Scotland. We have so much more behind us by this point. No wonder it's the same but looks so different to us now.


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