22.10.2012 - 24.10.2012
I'm not sure it really counts as part of the proper trip as we're back in London before we head off to the Philippines, but in order to get some blogging practice in I thought I'd include a wee trip we did up to Inverness this week.
We went up to Inverness for a couple of days to visit Jo's Auntie Ali and Uncle Andrew. They live in a lovely little cottage on the outskirts of Inverness with a beautiful garden and two gorgeous cats - which made me happy as I need to make sure I get sufficient cat affection before we head off. I'm already pining for Gilbert and George and we haven't even left the country yet!
We were lucky with the weather and on the Monday afternoon Andrew took us for a drive up the side of Loch Ness and then into Glen Affric, which was outstandingly beautiful. It was a really still day, the trees were turning gold and red and it made for some fantastic reflections in the loch.
One of the reasons we went up to see Ali and Andrew was because they have some original letters and diary entries from one of Jo's ancestors, her great great uncle, George Forrest. George Forrest was an edwardian plant hunter, who visited the Yunnan province in south west China on plant hunting expeditions seven times between 1904 and 1932. George had some amazing (and life-threatening) adventures out in the Yunnan and also introduced hundreds of plants that are still grown in many UK gardens today (including plenty in Ali and Andrew's garden). While we're out in China the plans is to recreate some of George Forrest's journeys and visit many of the places he spent time. Undoubtedly much of it will be very different from the wildly remote, politically unstable and dangerous place that George describes in his letters back to his family back in Scotland, but perhaps we can find a little bit of George's sense of adventure on the way.
I'll post more about George Forrest as we travel but for now here is a picture of George, looking extremely intrepid, out in the Yunnan.