Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014, Ballater, Royal Deeside, Scotland

We had another great breakfast at No. 45.  This time served by Nora from Hungry.   After breakfast, we are out for a walk in Ballater.  This gate behind No. 45 opens to a path to town.

Kathy is fascinated by the mail boxes built into the rock walls.

They love the Royals here in Ballater....which is part of Royal Deeside, after all.

Hi, Lucy.....they had cute clothes here, but nothing that would fit you!

This was the Royal Train Station.  Queen Victoria and Albert arrived in Ballater by train from Aberdeen every year...and then proceeded by horse carriage to their summer home, Balmoral.

A few of the stores on the Main Street of Ballater.

Known as the "Auld Kirk", I tried to get reservations here, but it was fully booked.  (Auld Kirk means  "old church")

Just a few of the private homes in Ballater.

Our 120 yr old bed n breakfast, #45 (which is the address)

Horse drawn carriages would have been more appropriate here -- and for the roads.

We have entered the property of Balmoral, the summer residence of the Royal Family for the past 166 years!  Visitors are only allowed in to one room of the Castle....the following is an "exhibition" on the property.....This "claret" colour Bentley is used by the Royals only when spending their summer here.

Perhaps the UK's love for their dogs originates from the Queen!

This is the carriage entrance to Balmoral.  The castle is not a proper castle in that it was not built for defines but for a hunting and fishing lodge.  The first house was built at Balmoral in 1390.  The tower house was built in 1662.  

Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, had traveled to the area and stopped by Balmoral liking it.  Sir Robert Gordon held the lease on Balmoral at that time.  As it happens, Sir Robert died after swallowing a fish bone in 1847 and left the lease open.  Prince Albert, knowing an opportunity when he saw it, jumped in and leased the property.

With a growing family, need for more staff, and, of course, the need to entertain lavishly, the lodge needed expanding.  Prince Albert, ever the realist, decided that if you are going to spend lots of £s on improvements, you should own the property.  So, he bought it for Her Majesty.

The castle and estates are still the private property of the royal family and not the property of the Crown.  This family just owns property at Del Webb Charleston and pays to visit castles.

Nice gardens, too.  As we have mentioned before, Queen Elizabeth likes her flowers!

Still being practical, the royal family grows their own vegetables for their 10 week Scotland stay.  Leeks are below....

Various types of parsley....

Turnips, or neeps as they are called here....


cabbage....we didn't show the broccoli nor the cauliflower .....and perhaps many others which we did not recognise, but you get the point.

As we have said, Balmoral was and is a hunting and fishing lodge.  This building was the original deer larder, where the slain red deer are butchered and processed.

Prince Albert planted most of these trees....mostly evergreen.  Balmoral was sitting on a fairly barren piece of land....He designed the improvements to the building and to the grounds.  These trees are young....only 165 years young!

The gates were made by local blacksmiths and have the royal insignia.

Stopped here for a ho-hum bite to eat....

Just a few miles from Balmoral is the Royal Distillery; translated, Queen Victoria's favourite and still retains the Royal is in the middle of that diagram which we keep showing you....mild, but flavourful....not too smoky

After all this, we return to #45, do some blogging, then decide we are hungry.  We must have walked every street in Ballater....the kitchens are all closed at 8-8:30 pm.  This place took us in...

Wonderful sayings all over the walls....

But not so wonderful food....Yorkshire pudding on top.  The roast beef is well hidden underneath all the carbs....and it was chewy as leather.  The meal was kinda what we expected all through the trip....which, gratefully, has not been the case!