Leaving Shore Croft Cottage, we started our journey to Laggan at just after 10 am. Our last task in Mellon Charles was to visit The Perfume Studio and buy some of the wonderful products available; truly unique items with a touch of the Highlands. After spending up on perfume, body cream, face cream and soaps (to add to the items we had bought earlier in the week) we started out for another trip across the country.
Having some time in hand, as we were not due at Laggan until 4pm, we took the long way round and went via Inverness where we topped up with fuel. The trip to Inverness was very different to our previous one as the skies were clear and we were able to see the landscape passing by that had previously been shrouded in mist. It was like a completely different trip yet we followed exactly the same road. Once we were on our way again we decided that as we had time to spare that we would go to Laggan by way of Invermoriston and Loch Ness. This is our old stamping ground as we have spent quite a lot of time in this area and Invermoriston is one of our favourite places.
The drive alongside Loch Ness is always amazing and we never tire of the view. For us it has always been a feeling of homecoming whenever we are in the area; some distant ancestral pull. We stopped at the Clog Shop in the village and browsed through its selection of leather goods, clogs and collection of highland souvenirs. On this, my third trip to the shop, I finally bought some clogs! I also bought a copper bracelet with a Celtic design and a round wooden box inset with a tooled leather top.
Pausing to photograph the herd of highland cows which can be found on the hillside next to the parking area, we briefly encountered another herd - this one of Japanese tourists - who harried and pestered one of the friendly beasts near the fence, gathering around it like flies around road-kill until it finally turned its back and walked away. That left the rest of the people also trying to take photographs with nothing but a view of a cow's rear end to contemplate. Making do with photographing the other, sedentary, animals we took to the road again.
The weather remained fine as we made our leisurely way through Spean Bridge and on to Laggan. As we were almost half an hour early, we continued on to Newtonmore and Kingussie before returning to Laggan. The cottage stands just beside what is now The Laggan Stores and Coffee Bothy. In the hands of its previous owners this little store is famous for starring in the TV series "The Monarch of the Glen" as the village shop. It's heyday as a celebrity now past, the shop has new owners and a new frontage but if you want to see it in its glory days then all you need do is watch reruns of "Monarch of the Glen". The whole area has connections with the TV series with many local locations having been used in the show. Even the familiar Glenbogle castle is just a few miles up the road.
We let ourselves in and unloaded the car in a now familiar routine before looking the cottage over. Rather than the super-modern accommodation we have been staying in so far this was old-style. Original wooden floors, stone-built, deeply recessed windows and a cottage garden to boot. I will not go into detail here but there were some issues with this accommodation which, once I contacted the owner, resulted in immediate action and a satisfactory outcome. So, our introduction to the cottage was quite stressful and finally, exhausted, we got to bed at about 1am. With such an inauspicious start it was difficult to get to sleep but at last, just too tired to do anything else, I drifted off hoping that I would see things in a better light the next day.