Journal Entry #8

February 04, 2003

    Well it's almost Wednesday of this week and it seems like time has flown by.  The weather has been wonderful (in my eyes).  Last Wednesday night we got snow, which never melted entirely before the snow on Friday.  It only snowed a few hours on Friday, but it was fun to walk in.  There was still a bit of snow here and there when Dawn, Amy and I took a car trip to the highlands.  All throughout the highlands there was snow, and it snowed all the way home on Sunday.  On Monday it snowed for several hours in the morning (and it must have been snowing most of Sunday night).  The snow and ice is still here!  I love it. 

    The trip to Inverness was spectacular.  We rented a car (Avis rent-a-car) on Saturday morning, it was some sort of Vauxhall (sedan) with manual transmission.  Amy drove and did a very fine job, too.  Even in the snow and ice she had very little trouble.  We traveled North on the M80 (something like that) through to Stirling, then took a smaller highway heading northeast to highway A9.  The A9 took us all the way to Inverness.  We passed through Perth, probably the only actual city along the way past Stirling.  Temperatures ranged from about -1.5C to 2C.  I saw many sheep and cattle (often times Highland cattle) and even once saw a whole group of red deer!  Once in Inverness, we checked in to the Inverness Youth Hostel (Scottish Youth Hostel Association).  We had one room with a bunk bed and another single bed.  I took the top bunk.  The room also had a sink/mirror and places to hang your coats.  It was very clean and modern, as was the adjacent bathroom.  There was no snow in Inverness at this time.  Leaving the hostel, we drove to find Cawdor castle in the tiny town of Cawdor...but found that it was closed for the winter and it wasn't even visible (I just wanted a picture)!  We were able to glimpse the Culloden battlefield as we drove by...but it was not too impressive.  So we drove the opposite direction and decided to check out the Beauly Priory...an ancient church full of gravestones and in ruin.  It was very beautiful and I took several pictures. 

    Saturday night we ate dinner in the Inverness town centre at Foxes Pub (recommended by someone who worked in a local store).  It had very tasty meals at reasonable prices...I stuffed myself with "Thai chicken" (Scottish version with potatoes!), potato wedges w/bacon and cheese, and finally a strawberry sundae (with real strawberries).  Dawn and I had several drinks (i.e. Bacardi Breezers, Smirnoff Ice, rum & coke, and Sambuca shots) and Amy had one beer and Irish coffee.  It was a bit of an older crowd, but comfortable environment and the food was well worth it.  We returned to the hostel and slept. 

    Sunday morning we awoke and I found there was snow outside...a lot of snow!  It was snowing big fluffy flakes as well.  We all showered (the shower was even better than the one at home) and dressed, then checked out of the hostel.  We went on a search for breakfast.  Wanting to eat at the Pancake House, we were disappointed and forced to eat at McDonalds because everything else did not open until noon (Sundays in the highlands!).  Then we drove to Safeway and bought sandwiches for lunch on the road, also filled the car up with gas.  We then drove towards Loch Ness to see Drumnadrochit (where we shopped) and Urquhart castle.  The castle was closed "due to adverse weather"!  What luck, huh?  BTW, we did not see the Loch Ness Monster as we drove the Loch's length.  We drove from the Loch Ness to Ft. William, passing two other Lochs (one was Loch Lochy, the other was Loch Oich?).  It kept snowing all the way.  In Ft. William we looked towards the Nevis mountain range (containing the highest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis) and pulled off to see Inverlochy castle.  The castle was in ruin, but most of the 4 walls were still standing.  I took more pictures.  We ate our sandwiches in the car just as a hail storm let loose.  We then drove out of Ft. William, saw the coast (a.k.a. Loch Linhee), and rounded the bend into Glen Coe.  The snow was quite heavy there and visibility was low, but we could see that it was a pretty Glen.  I got to see several parts of the West Highland Way as we drove.  Then we merged off the A82 onto the A85 in order to go see Kilchurn castle on Loch Awe.  As it happens, the ferry that takes you to the castle was closed during the winter.  We were told you could walk to the castle, but after trying we found no way to get there (across the Loch!).  We did get to have a drink in a nice cozy pub in the middle of the tiniest town while it snowed out...but that's really all we got out of the A85.  The rest of the drive home was pretty dark (as the sun went down) and snowy, with the drive next to Loch Lomond being scary (narrow windy roads). 

    That night before we drove home, we stopped at the Beefeater restaurant / West Highland Gate pub in Milngavie.  We ate at the pub and found the food to be very good!  I had a bacon cheeseburger and ice cream sundae.  It was snowing heavily even at home, amazing.  Monday morning we drove to school and were late by 20 minutes due to traffic.  Many people were late so it wasn't so bad.  Our two-hour lecture's professor didn't show up, so we ended up having a 3 hour break instead of a 1 hour break.  The last lecture was about biotechnology (pretty boring), then Amy, Dawn, Rebecca and I went shopping to Costco.  Later, Amy and I did our grocery shopping (we got to drive to the cheapest store, ASDA in Bearsden). 

    As far as studies go, it's been going all right.  I've kept on top of the anatomy, physiology, and immunology but a bit behind in animal husbandry (working on that though!).  So far I understand everything and only the sheer amount of information will be difficult.  I have a physiology tutorial topic to present a week from tomorrow, so that's one thing to work on tomorrow (day off tomorrow).  I recently bought a new physiology book (Human Physiology by Pocock), hoping it will help me in that subject.  Saturday I have a birthday party to attend (at night).  A week from Saturday on the 15th we have the annual GUVMA Vet Ball.  I will be all set as soon as I make an appointment for my hair.  Then on Saturday the 22nd we have the GUVZS 9th annual wildlife symposium...it'll be nice to have that over and done with. 

    I have my Spring Break all planned now.  I will be lambing in Richmond, North Yorkshire (England) from about March 29th until April 19th (3 weeks).  This is for my extramural studies (EMS) and after this I should be done with pre-clinical EMS!  Hurray. 


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