On Monday they promptly packed the car and were out of Edinburgh with Uncle San in the back of the car doing his crossword puzzles. The first stop was the Family History Society in Aberdeen where Coen was expecting to get more facts about the McHardy side of his family.
Traffic was surprisingly easy upon the entrance of the city. The main road was lined by these wonderful feats of architecture on both sides – all in this grey stone. Intricate work, one more interesting to look at than the other but all in grey. The Family History Society was easy to find, so was parking. Soon they were to learn why this was all nice and easy: it was a bank holiday in Scotland that day.
All miffed, Coen decided to hit the forest of Ballochbuie and stay somewhere there for the night before coming back to Aberdeen before going into the heart of the Highlands. So, off they went. The forest was very green and scenic. They
passed the various places mentioned in Coen’s research for his ancestors. In the various turnoffs they took they practically fell on their first distillery: Royal Loghnagar. It was tucked down in this small vale. It was nowhere on the map because it was actually quite recently set up. They decided to drop in for a visit. It was quite interesting, not too different to the wine tasting set up on the wine estates in the Cape. After that they moved on and ended up in Braemar. It was early afternoon and they decided to look for lodgings there, relax and visit the place on
At the information centre where they were helped by a lady who was born in Durban, they found the Rucksack where they took a room and San chose to stay in the dorm. It was very comfortable and the heating was on too. That section of the place where they were, they had a kitchen and small dining area. They made tea and had a short nap before going off to the shop to get breakfast and take a few pictures.
They enquired about places to eat and were told that the Braemar Lodge is where one goes to get local food. It is a
quaint little town that hosts the Highland games on a yearly basis and having Balmoral castle as neighbour. There are a few of those ‘piles’ by the road side in Ballochbuie, in Scotland and in the country as a whole. Few of them have signs to say what they are or who lives there.
That evening, they got a table at the Lodge and made a glorious meal of haggis, angus beef and salmon.
Waking up in 9C temperature, they made their breakfast, sat huddled next to the heating in the dining area and then
walked up to meet Mr Duff, the local historian who confirmed some of the information Coen had regarding his ancestor. After this meeting, they drove out of Braemar, deeper into the forest for some more sightseeing.