Thursday, July 12, 2012

Scotland Day 7 - The Tallest Tree in Britain, More Ospreys, Police, Howie's Bistro

We woke up to a grey and drizzly morning in Dunkeld. After another hearty breakfast, we decided to go for a walk before the rain got any heavier, so we headed off to the Hermitage. Thankfully, the thick covering of trees meant that very little rain actually landed on us, and as we walked past a bubbling stream and some mini-waterfalls, we came across what was listed as the tallest tree in Britain.
Is this really the tallest tree in Britain?
More interestingly, I read later at Dunkeld Cathedral that the reason why this area is covered in Douglas firs is that one of the previous Dukes of Atholl decided to put seeds into cannons and blasted the surrounding area with them. So now, hundreds of years later, there are incredibly tall fir trees all over the place.

After our walk we went to Dunkeld Cathedral which was pretty, and more importantly, dry inside. The rain was really getting heavy at this point so after our very thorough inspection of the cathedral (and an eclectic antiques store nearby), we went back to the B&B for a little snack consisting of some Scottish cheese and crackers we picked up at The Scottish Deli

A and his mom were feeling a little under the weather so we left them to rest at the B&B and headed out to Loch of the Lowes. While checking out the hides on the loch, where you can watch birds and wildlife from the comfort of a shelter, we bumped into loads of friendly birdwatchers who were very helpful at directing us where to look to see all the interesting sights. There are ospreys there, too, and I actually saw this osprey swoop into the water, catch a massive fish (which you can see on the right side of the photo) and drag it up to the top of a very tall tree where her nest is. She's the oldest breeding osprey they know of - apparently almost three times as old as your average osprey.
This osprey will mess you up.
After that, we found a trail that headed toward Dunkeld and went for a wander.
Picturesque moss.
The wander found us going down a rather steep hill all the way into Dunkeld, and we popped out right in from the The Scottish Deli again. What goes down must come up(!) so we trekked back up like the valiant hill walkers we are, and were very proud of ourselves when we made it back to Loch of the Lowes.

By this point it was dinner time again, and Kate, the owner of the B&B, had recommended Howie's Bistro to us. We arrived and proceeded to have one of the best meals of our Scottish trip. A and my dad ordered the Perthshire spring lamb, redcurrant & leek casserole, and the noises my dad made while eating this indicated that he was not going to share. I had Howie’s own lasagne with potato wedges & dressed salad, which was rich and warming and perfect for the chilly, wet weather. Shockingly, my mom's dish, which sounded boring: Leek, mushroom & pannchetta penne pasta topped with a garlic butterflied chicken breast, was anything but - I basically licked her bowl clean when she couldn't finish it, since the mushroom flavor was so intense and creamy. And A's mom's pan seared sea bass had a crisp, savory skin and was cooked just right.
Lasagne (but the chips let you know you're still in the UK)
We shared the lime cheesecake with chocolate ice cream for dessert, which made the cheesecake lovers and chocolate lovers all very happy. When we got back to the B&B, we found out that Howie's Bistro is owned by Kate's two sons - so thankfully we really enjoyed our meal or else that could have been an awkward situation...
Anyway - Dunkeld is a small place, so I was surprised to find such a great place for dinner, but that seemed to be the trend in Scotland, finding really outstanding food in out of the way places.

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