We had a morning break at the town of Ballater where, with the help of a fellow participant, I found a post office disguised as a co-op. I joined the queue and learned quite a lot about local affairs as I waited my turn.
There was s good bookshop in Ballater and an antique shop in both of which members of our group found a few bargains and treasures.
The drive to Ballindalloch was another two hours, through beautiful country.
Ballindalloch emerges from the forrest with the expectation of a fairytale, turrets, knot-garden, crests and flag flying.
We had soup, sandwiches and cake - all good - during which the heir to the Estate popped in to find Phillipa and do a bit of a meet and greet. Very charming and pleasant. Some of the conversation was about the difficulty of preserving textiles as opposed to other family treasures
The castle is a family home, well organised and presented for display, with good information sheets in each room. They have interesting collections in odd corners, such as silver pincushions or porcelain figures.
Again, I decided against the upstairs rooms, watching instead a half hour TV program Monty Don did on the Castle and family. It focused on how the family had, in recent years, created a business from the home by opening the house, breeding Aberdeen Angus, opening the estate for fishing and leisure activity.
We headed on to Inverness about 4pm,
doing quite a bit of stitching and visiting one place each day. It is a pleasant setting,
- even space for children, had I been able to bring any!