Smith Mountain Lake Mystery Writer

Contemplations from a quiet cove on Smith Mountain Lake.

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Location: United States

I'm a Southern gal who loves life, my husband and our family (which, to date, includes 13 grandchildren). I enjoy being with friends and family. But I also like being alone and thinking up plots for future books. I've published two novels, both mysteries, and I'm working on my third. For more about my books, visit me at If you ever hear me say, "I'm bored," please get me to the ER immediately! Paddling my kayak and snapping pictures of the critters I see relaxes me. Beach music has the opposite effect--when I hear those old "doo-wops" I want to dance.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

SCOTLAND IN SEPTEMBER: More Pictures of Glengorm Castle

 As I mentioned in my previous Scotland blog, Glengorm Castle with its 5,000 acres is one of my favorite places, so I couldn't resist showing you more of the many pictures I took. Hope you like them. Be sure to click on each picture to enlarge. 

The first three pictures were taken through our bathroom window. The Atlantic Ocean is in the background.

The view from our bedroom window wasn't bad, either! The picture below looks out on the front lawn and the road leading to the castle.

The next shot also looks out over the Atlantic. Ron, Larry, Joyce and I wandered along this farm road that runs through fields where Blackface sheep and Highland cattle graze. Wish I could have ridden a horse here. 

The thistle (a weed) is one of the most identifiable symbols of Scotland, and is its national symbol. There are many species of thistle; I don't know which one this is (pictured below), but it grew abundantly. The legend is that centuries ago, Scot warriors were sleeping as a band of invading Vikings approached. All the Scots would have been killed in their sleep if a barefoot Viking had not stepped on a thistle. His scream saved the Scots. The one below was growing along the road in the picture above.

I really like Glengorm's front door. Click to enlarge to see the concrete rope over the entrance and a lantern attached to one of the knots. The castle is owned by a family with young children. Note the child's pink bicycle.

Another picture taken from the ocean side of the castle. Those little white dots on the green field are Blackface sheep. Highland cattle grazed with them.

Highland cattle fascinate me. Even though they are huge and have big horns, they are reported to be more docile than most other breeds of cattle. With their shaggy coats, they are able to survive some of the harshest environmental conditions in Scotland. I learned that the Royal family have Highlands at Balmoral Castle. I wanted to go wrap my arms around this one, but hubby didn't think that would be wise.

Okay, that does it for Glengorm Castle. I have enjoyed re-living the Glengorm experience through my blog. Hope you enjoyed it, too.

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Monday, February 06, 2012

SCOTLAND IN SEPTEMBER: Tobemory and Glengorm Castle

We left Oban by ferry, crossed Loch Linnhe, docked at Craignure on the Isle of Mull, and motored in the rain along A848, which parallels the Sound of Mull. We stopped in the quaint coastal town of Tobemory where it was, well, you probably guessed it--still raining! Actually, it was pouring.Remember to click on pictures to enlarge.

Hungry, we ducked in the Mishdish for lunch. Their soup was splendid. (I said splendid because the Scots used the word often and I'm a Scot on my mother's side.) I remember saying the soup tasted so good that I could eat there again. And you know what? We did, but I'll tell you about that later.

View from inside the Mishdish. Note the raindrops 
on the window.

After filling our stomachs, we popped in many of the shops and an interesting museum that had information on the Ross family (my maternal grandfather's lineage).There is actually a type of rock called a Ross rock; I saw it in the museum.

We left Tobemory and headed down a one-track road to Glengorm Castle, four miles north of Tobemory. Larry stopped the car so I could snap a picture of the sheep below.

We saw lots of Blackface sheep like this one. 
The lavendar flower is heather, which grows wild in Scotland.

We rounded a curve and caught our first view of Glengorm Castle, where we spent the night.

I snapped this photo through the front windshield
from the back seat. Note the puddle in the road.

Construction of the castle began in 1850, was finished in 1863. The castle has passed through several owners, and is now owned by a family with small children. On the northernmost tip of the Isle of Mull, Glengorm Castle looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes you can see the Outer Hebrides (a string of islands) 80 miles further north. Views from the castle are breathtaking.

Glengorm Castle and a tenant cottage. We walked 
from the castle to this spot where I took the picture.

Joyce, Larry and Ron on a trail. The Atlantic 
Ocean makes the perfect backdrop.

Ron, Larry, Joyce and I walked some of the moors and trails on this 5,000 acre estate. This was the most gorgeous place I've ever seen. I could live here except for one thing--I can't afford  a castle!

Another breath-taking view.

Still another view. Note the Blackface sheep grazing. 
Glengorm has about 750 breeding Blackface ewes. 
Also on the estate are Highland cattle.

A view of the Atlantic from the castle lawn.

Glengorm Castle again. If you click on the picture, 
you'll see heather growing atop the stone wall.

The castle doesn't serve supper, so they had a driver take us back to Tobermory--and the Mishdish. Joyce and I feasted on fresh-caught salmon. Ron and Larry chose mussels, which they said were splendid.

Ron enjoying his mussels.

After dinner, we returned to Glengorm and relaxed with a glass of wine in the room below. Guests have full use of the main hall, library and dining room. This room was off the main hall, and came with a chair-loving lap-friendly dog.

I hated to leave Glengorm Castle, could have stayed there a week, but the Isle of Skye beckoned. I'd like to return to Glengorm one day, stay for a month, soak in the culture and the ambience, work on a book. Who knows? Maybe I will.

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