Loch Ness Minus the Monster | UK Adventure Part VII

After a splendid day climbing around castles and dining in Inverness, we were ready to do it all over again.

So, we made our way along the lochs–think lakes–to the famous Loch Ness. Naturally, this was the very definition of tourist trap. I didn’t see many shops or cafes that weren’t touting some sort of connection with the fabled monster, so we tried our best to bypass all of that. We failed.

Nevertheless, the day was really quite lovely…and it became lovelier when we made it to Glencoe. But, I’m going to devote an entire blog post later to that lovely spot of earth because it’s really worth it!


Loch Ness is a very deep lake, which makes for good reflections. Unfortunately, we saw it on a hazy day.
Loch Ness

The biggest tourist tra–I mean, local castle.

I thought this was kind of neat.

Urquhart Castle has a rather sad history–lots of switching hands and bloody battles. The last owners blew the gate up so no one would use it anymore.

I climbed down to the shoreline, despite there being a gate in the way (hey there was a path).

Drive by shooting–basically there’s several lochs along the way from Loch Ness.

Massive memorial in the middle of nowhere.

Quaint town of Fort William. We lunched and souvenir shopped here.

13th Century Inverlochy Castle.
Inverlochy Castle

Now, you must stay tuned, for the best is yet to come…

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A Round About Way to Inverness | UK Adventure Part VI

After clambering around Dunnottar Castle and spending a good night in Aberdeen, we were ready to hit up some more local castles. If you’re just tuning in, you can get caught up on my UK adventure by clicking the Travels category.

Finally, we saw the light of day. I was beginning to doubt the sun would ever join us on our ride around Scotland, but the next morning was beautiful.


We were greeted at our first castle–Tolquhon–by this friendly face.

Tolquhon Castle

Was this hook used for torture, hanging meat, or the guard’s strength and conditioning exercises? Your guess is as good as mine.

Mmmm…I could live here–if only there was a roof.

Jay was prepping for Loch Ness with this ‘Nessie impression.

After Tolquhon Castle we stopped by the Lone Head Stone Circle. It’s just what it sounds like (apparently it was used for cremation).

Next up was Huntley Castle.
Huntley Castle

Where you could still see some amazing detail (and claw-like clouds).

Ye Olde Privy

The third and last castle of the day was Balvenie. By now the rain clouds had also returned.
Balvenie Castle

Not much remained here.

We didn’t pay our fees, so I had to do some grounds work.

A local repair man at the castle told us we must visit the nearby distillery. It wasn’t on our plans, but we decided to go for it.

Turns out it was the world famous Glenfiddich whisky distillery.

Looks like Ken got into a barrel before the tour started.

The tour was actually pretty interesting–and hot!

Now I know all about single malt vs. blended, cooperages, and the head, heart, and tail of whisky…

Finally we drove the rest of the way to Inverness and arrived as the sun was setting.

Coming and going.

And Jay did what boys do best–throw things into water, preferably slimy rocks with plants attached to them.

Mr. {dead} Jellyfish.

The sun was still bright at 9 o’clock.

We dined in a little pub. Looks like someone else had hoped to get a table, too.

Stay tuned for Loch Ness…coming up next!

Stephanie Fay - I'm so jealous of you! The UK is far too amazing. Beautiful pics too 🙂

Lindsay and James | Engagement Photos at Point Park

-Buy a bike.

It was on her to-do list. She was moving to a strange new town, and she promised herself she’d make an effort to get out and explore it.

She knew exactly what she wanted as she stepped through the doors of the local bike shop, eyeing the first row of wheels and rubber. And then he walked over to help her out, and she wasn’t so sure it was the bike she wanted anymore.

A test ride was in order, so she returned the next week. On a rainy day. While the water poured outside, their conversation flowed beyond spokes and pedals in the shop.

On April 5th, 2008 they took their first ride together. On April 5th, 2009, they took another bike ride–one of many they’d taken–and James asked Lindsay to be his wife.

I had so much fun last night with Lindsay and James taking their engagement photos in downtown Pittsburgh. I LOVED hearing their story of how they met, and I thought it was awesome that they brought their bikes along for the shoot. Although it was my first time to meet them, we actually have a connection through Lindsay’s brother, Eric. He’s the dad of these two cuties and a good friend of ours.


One of my favorites.

James really liked a photo he had seen that I had taken here before. I love the cobblestones, too.

Funny story behind the bare feet. Lindsay and James both live in Virginia. On their way up to Pittsburgh they realized they’d left their cycling cleats at home. Oh well, I actually like the bare foot look!

James owns and run Black Dog Bikes. They joked they should now change it to Barefoot Bikes.

Can’t wait to see you two again in November!

South Hills Country Club Wedding | Lindsay and James » Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers | Birchtree Photography Blog - […] I only met Lindsay and James for the first time this summer at their super fun Point Park engagement session, I felt like I was completely welcomed as a family friend at their wedding. I know some of this is […]

Lindsay and James’–Mini Preview » Pittsburgh Wedding Photographers | Birchtree Photography Blog - […] about to run out the door…but I just have to share this photo from Lindsay and James’ wedding. More to come soon! Posted in […]

Milla - MARY! So, so creative with the bikes and the fountain, etc. I love these. My two favorites are of them standing on the side of the fountain and of them riding their bikes with the sun coming through the trees. Great work.