Today I say goodbye to the lovely city of Stirling. Let's take just a few more glances at the countryside and castle before driving off...
I am driving up north to Pitlochry where the Atholl Palace Hotel is - my home for the next couple of nights. But first, we are stopping in the city of Perth which is home to the Black Watch Museum in the Balhousie Castle. My favorite town driving to Perth is Crieff - actually the hometown to actor Ewan McGregor.
The Black Watch Museum at Balhousie castle is a perfectly curated display of exhibits throughout the castle. The Black Watch is one of Britain's most decorated and important battalion regiments of their military history since the early 1700s through to today. Their traditional military uniform is one of the most recognizable in the world. With their black, blue & green tartan kilt, the red hackle (feathers) on the side of their hat, and their badge. The final display on the way back to the entrance brought me to tears. There was a tribute to modern soldiers who have fought and died during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the very bottom of the display showed remnant parts from an IED (explosive device). My cousin, Captain Ronald G. Luce was killed during active duty in Afghanistan by an IED. Looking at these parts on display of this deactivated bomb, it was just constructed from various pieces of garbage essentially. I wasn't expecting that this device much like the one that killed my cousin could be so rudimentary in design. I guess watching too many movies, I pictured some high tech almost alien-like mechanism that would cause this level of harm. It all became so real in this brief moment and the emotions over took me. I will forever remember this display when I think of my time here at Balhousie Castle. And I am thankful for being given this moment to further mourn.
From here, I set off for my stay at Pitlochry's Atholl Palace Hotel. I started my stay with afternoon tea service in the palace restaurant.
For more information about visiting or staying at Atholl Palace Hotel, visit here.
Top tier: Finger tea sandwiches - Salmon & Cream, Egg Salad, Ham & Salad, and Tomato & Cheese.
Middle tier: Scone with whipped raspberry cream, shortbread, and jam.
Bottom tier: Muffin, Honey & Cream Puff Pastry, Chocolate & Espresso tier, Raspberry Cream (shotglass) and Cheesecake.
The grounds and views from the hotel are amazing. Pitlochry sits at the lowest end of the highlands. The hotel was built in the late Victorian era (1880s) as a hydro therapy resort (spa).
After tea, I wasn't quite ready to fully settle into the room yet, so I opted for a scenic drive of Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch. I drove through the hillsides by the lochs until sunset and it made for some beautiful photos.