Road Scholar : Home
In the Heart of the Scottish Highlands

Program Number: 20321RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/1/2015 - 7/14/2015; 7/29/2015 - 8/11/2015; 8/12/2015 - 8/25/2015; 9/9/2015 - 9/22/2015; 9/16/2015 - 9/29/2015; 10/7/2015 - 10/20/2015;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: Scotland, UK:Scotland
Price starting at: $4,296.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 36; 12 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Spend an unforgettable week at the baronial family home of Sir John Lister-Kaye, renowned as a naturalist, writer and conservationist in his home country, to experience the Scottish Highlands’ soaring peaks, low-lying glens and misty lochs. Enjoy private access to the Victorian home and gardens, join rangers to explore the grounds of the Aigas Field Centre, Scotland’s premier field station, and venture to Loch Ness, Glen Affric and many more Highlands highlights.




Highlights

• Ranger-led field trips offer a view into Highland Scotland’s ancient history, the downfall of Gaelic clans, the Highland Clearances and New World emigration.
• Experience the castles, clan lands and romance of the famous Isle of Skye.
• Enjoy lunch at Armadale Castle, the ancestral seat of the Clan Macdonald.



Activity Particulars

Light walking of up to one mile a day; some uneven terrain and stairs at historic sites.




Date Specific Information

7-1-2015, 7-29-2015, 8-12-2015, 9-9-2015, 9-16-2015, 10-7-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Edinburgh, 2 nights; coach to Aigas Field Centre near Beauly, 7 nights; coach to Isle of Skye, 2 nights; coach to Edinburgh, 1 night; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Edinburgh (Scotland)
2 nights

Expert-led field trips in this culturally rich city explore Edinburgh Castle (includes entrance), the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the winding cobbled streets of the “old town” and the rigorously planned “new town,” the model for the grid layout of American cities. Journey to Arniston House and Estate, home to the Dundas family since 1571.



Coach to Aigas Field Centre near Beauly
7 nights

Rangers introduce you to the Aigas Field Centre’s mountain lochs, moorland, Bronze and Iron Age remains and impressive formal gardens. Learn about Highlands ecology and look for native wildlife. Delve into this area’s turbulent history at sites like the infamous Culloden Battlefield and Macbeth’s Cawdor Castle. Ride a boat into the Cromarty Firth and keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins. On a night-time walking excursion, search out pine martens, otters, badgers and other nocturnally active creatures.



Coach to Isle of Skye
2 nights
Coach to Edinburgh
1 night
Departure

Journey through some of the most dramatic mountain and moorland scenery in all of the Highlands to the Isle of Skye. Discover crofts, fishing villages and the clan seat of the MacDonalds. Take a ferry ride past Iron Age Brochs and iconic Eilean Donan Castle. Return to Aigas for lunch, on a scenic journey by minibus before transferring by coach to Edinburgh.




Scotland

The lochs and highlands of Scotland have long been a source of inspiration for folklore, poetry and song — influencing movements from the Romanticism of Robert Burns to the Kailyard school of J.M. Barrie. Through the years, Scotland has maintained a strong pride in the arts and boasts notable museums, theaters and events including the Edinburgh International Festival, an annual celebration of arts from around the world.



Accommodations
Edinburgh: Four-star hotel located just off world-famous Princes Street. Aigas Field Centre near Beauly: Cozy, rustic timber lodges set amid gardens on the Aigas Field Centre grounds. Isle of Skye: Comfortable seaside hotel. Edinburgh: Comfortable hotel located near airport.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Sir John Lister-Kaye

Director of Aigas Field Centre, Sir John Lister-Kaye is one of Scotland’s foremost naturalists and well-loved nature writers. A freelance environmental journalist and writer, 30 years ago he founded Aigas Field Center and has led it to its status as Scotland’s principal environmental education provider for adults and schoolchildren. Sir John’s books include “Song of the Rolling Earth” and “Nature’s Child” and he writes regularly for the Times newspaper.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   King James (formerly Edinburgh Thistle)
  Edinburgh., UK:Scotland 2 nights
   Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
  Aigas., UK:Scotland 7 nights
   Tingle Creek Hotel
  Kyle of Lochalsh, UK:Scotland 2 nights
   Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel
  Edinburgh., UK:Scotland 1 night
 King James (formerly Edinburgh Thistle)
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: A modern hotel, the King James is located just off Edinburgh’s world-famous Princes Street, and a short walk from the Royal Mile.
  Contact info: 107 Leith Street
Edinburgh,  EH! 3SW UK:Scotland
phone: +44 871 376 9016
web: www.thistle.com
  Room amenities: BT Openzone Wi-Fi, Coffee and Tea Making Facilities, Complimentary Toiletries, Direct Dial Telephone, Flat Screen LCD TV With Free View, Hairdryer, Hard Flooring, Iron & Ironing Board, Refreshment Tray, Trouser Press. Wheel in Shower Work Desk
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, bar, BT Openzone Wi-Fi.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to travelinfo@roadscholar.org
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

 Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Type: Other
  Description: Aigas is the family home of Sir John and Lady Lister-Kaye and field studies centre. Sir John is one of Scotland’s leading naturalists and nature writers. Accommodation for up to 40 guests is in comfortable, heated timber lodges all with twin bedrooms with private bathrooms appealingly set in the spacious gardens and wooded grounds of the House of Aigas.
  Contact info: Beauly
Inverness,  1V4 7AD UK:Scotland
phone: +44 1463 782443
web: www.aigas.co.uk
  Room amenities: Lounge area, drying room, fridges. Tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Library, common room, shop and office. Drinks purchased by cash bar in the common room. Loch, fishing, walks and trails.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Tingle Creek Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: The Tingle Creek Hotel is a family run hotel situated in the small hamlet of Erbusaig between Kyle of Lochalsh and Plockton, with only a five minute drive from the Isle of Skye Bridge. It has a lovely restaurant where you can dine and overlook some of the most breathtaking sea views across to the Isle of Skye and Raasay.
  Contact info: Erbusaig
Kyle of Lochalsh
Ross-shire,  IV40 8BB UK:Scotland
phone: +44 1599 534430
web: www.tinglecreek-hotel.co.uk
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephone, TV, tea and coffee making facilities.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant, loung bar, public bar.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Modern hotel at Edinburgh Airport-convenient for an overnight before departure.
  Contact info: Edinburgh International Airport
Edinburgh,  EH28 8LL UK:Scotland
phone: +44 131 519 4400
web: www.hilton.co.uk
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephone with alarm. Flat screen TV with choice of channels and movies. Hairdryer, Iron and ironing board. Tea and coffee making facilities. High speed internet access (chargeable).
  Facility amenities: The Space Restaurant, bar. Wireless internet. Busines Centre. Fitness/Health Club. Indoor swimming pool. Sauna, steam room. Coffee shop. 24 hour room service.Complimentary airprot shuttle bus. Laundry service.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to travelinfo@roadscholar.org
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
A light lunch is served in the hotel at 12:30pm. The Aigas Ranger/Group Leader will meet the group at the hotel. Welcome meeting at 5:00pm before dinner. You will be staying at King James (formerly Edinburgh Thistle) that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast on departure day. Breakfast ends at 10:00am and check out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. N/A.
  Parking availability:
No parking.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses to and from Edinburgh Airport available. Trains available to/from central Edinburgh.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Edinburgh.
  Nearest city or town:  Edinburgh.
  Nearest airport:  Edinburgh.
  Transportation to site: Trains from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverly Station. Trains depart every half hour and take approximately four and a half hours. The hotel is on the Royal Mile, just minutes from the Princes Street and Waverley train station. There is an airbus from Edinburgh airport to Princes Street.
  From End of Program
  Location: Edinburgh.
  Transportation from site: The Quality Hotel Edinburgh Airport is 2 minutes from Edinburgh Airport. It is 5 minute walk or 2 minutes by complimentary shuttle.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: Hat, scarf, gloves. Fleece or warm top. Lightweight waterproof jacket and trousers. Comfortable waterproof walking shoes/boots. Inspect repellent (abvailable in Aigas shop). Camera. Binoculars (available for hire from Aigas email frankie@aigas.co.uk to reserve).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1:
(Wednesday, September 9)
   
 In Transit: Overnight flight from North America.

Day 2:
(Thursday, September 10)
   
 Arrive To: Edinburgh.
 Lunch: A light lunch is served in the hotel.
 Afternoon: Free time before a welcome meeting at 5:00pm.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: Your Group Leader/Ranger makes a presentation on your forthcoming trip.
   
Accommodations: King James (formerly Edinburgh Thistle)
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Edinburgh City and Castle. Private visit to Auchindinny House.
(Friday, September 11)

Note: Stairs and steep climbs at Edinburgh Castle. Stairs at Auchindinny House.



   
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: A local guide takes us by minibus on a guided field trip of Scotland’s most beautiful city including the great bastion of Edinburgh Castle (entrance included), the Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyrood House, the winding cobbled streets of the ‘old town’ and the grid Georgian rigour of the ‘new town’ – the model for the grid layout of American cities.
 Lunch: Taken out in Edinburgh.
 Afternoon: We drive out of town and through the surrounding countryside to the private country house of the McCulloch family. Auchindinny House was designed by gentleman architect William Bruce and built between 1702 - 1707 for John Inglis, Writer to the Signet. His descendents still live there today and the current laird, William McCulloch, will give a guided tour of his home and gardens and we’ll take tea on the lawn (weather permitting!)
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: King James (formerly Edinburgh Thistle)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Glen Coe and Loch Ness.
(Saturday, September 12)
   
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: We board a coach and take a scenic ride out of the lowlands and into the Highlands, passing through the dramatic Glen Coe and Loch Ness.
 Lunch: Packed lunch to eat en route.
 Afternoon: The transfer continues and we arrive in time for afternoon tea and Sir John and Lady Lister-Kaye.
 Dinner: In the Baronial Hall at Aigas.
 Evening: This evening you can explore the formal gardens of the House of Aigas and settle into your cosy timber lodge in the grounds – your home for the next seven nights.
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: The Aigas estate.
(Sunday, September 13)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in the baronial dining room.
 Morning: Sir John and Lucy will lead us on a gentle guided walk around the house and grounds of the House of Aigas explaining its long and fascinating history, as well as giving an introduction to Lucy’s impressive formal gardens.
 Lunch: Buffet lunch in the baronial hall.
 Afternoon: The Aigas ranger team will take us on a longer ramble through the estate, past the exquisite mountain loch and onto moorland to look at archaeological remains dating back to the Bronze Age. From here you can look down into the glen and the rangers will provide detailed interpretation of the landscape and its history over ten thousand years, when the last ice age ended.
 Dinner: In the baronial hall.
 Evening: are free to wander the grounds, use the library or sit by the fire with a whisky!
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: The Black Isle and Bottlenose Dolphins.
(Monday, September 14)

Note: Boat ride in a rigid inflatable boat.



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in the baronial dining room.
 Morning: This morning we drive on to the Black Isle to explore Fortrose Cathedral, Groam Pictish Museum and Chanonry Point.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we take an exciting and fun ride in a rigid inflatable boat into the Cromarty Firth to look for the resident population of the bottlenose dolphins. (This trip could take place in the morning as it is tide dependent.)
 Dinner: In the baronial dining room.
 Evening: Free evening. You may wish to join a group visit to a wildlife blind to look for pine martens, badgers or beavers.
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Historical Day: Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle and Clava Cairns.
(Tuesday, September 15)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in baronial dining room.
 Morning: Travelling east to Nairnshire, we visit the historic site of Culloden Battlefield, the last battle fought on British soil in 1746. This was a desperate fight which changed the history of the Highlands forever. It led to the breakdown of the clan system and paved the way for the Highland Clearances and emigration to the New World. The Aigas rangers lead you out onto the exposed heath for a blow by blow explanation of the action.
 Lunch: Packed lunch overlooking a historical site.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Clava Cairns, three well preserved Neolithic cairns, thought to be ritual burial chambers connected with the Winter Solstice and death, which show evidence of both inhumations and cremations. Two of the cairns are Chambered Tombs with cup marked stones and the third is a Ring Cairn, which is unique to the Moray Firth Area. Field trip to Cawdor Castle and Gardens. The Macbeth connection continues! Situated close to the East Highland town of Nairn, Cawdor has been the family home of the Thanes of Cawdor since the 14th century. The castle contains a fine example of a 16th century tower house with elegant 18th century additions. Within the grounds of the castle there are extensive nature trails and fine gardens.
 Dinner: In the baronial dining room at Aigas.
 Evening: Free evening.
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
(Wednesday, September 16)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in the baronial dining hall.
 Morning: Loch Ness is world famous for its mighty monster and you won’t be able to resist scanning its waters as we drive along its scenic shores. However, the Aigas rangers will also tell you about the fascinating natural and cultural history of this enormous lake, so steeped in folk lore. We stop for a visit to the magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on a promontory jutting into Loch Ness. Its ruinous state gives testament to the turbulence of its 500 year history as a medieval fortress. The visitor centre contains a shop, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from visitor centre veranda.
 Lunch: Return to Aigas for a buffet lunch in the baronial hall.
 Afternoon: A variety of Ranger-led workshops to choose from based on the habitats, species and land use within the mosaic of the Aigas Estate
 Dinner: In the baronial hall.
 Evening: Free evening. You may wish to join a group visit to a wildlife blind to look for pine martens, badgers or beavers.
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Glen Affric National Nature Reserve
(Thursday, September 17)

Note: Optional three mile walk on a well maintained (steep in places) path.



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in the baronial dining room.
 Morning: An illustrated lecture on Caledonian Pinewoods. We then drive west for approximately 45 minutes to the mountains and forests of Glen Affric. The last 6,000 years have witnessed the destruction of the native forests of Scotland, to the extent that there are now only small remnants of old Caledonian Pine Forest left. Glen Affric is one of the most beautiful glens in the Highlands and is managed as a National Nature Reserve.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: There will be an optional walk through the pinewood for about 3 miles on a well maintained (although steep in places) path, set in magnificent scenery. On return hear a lecture: Habitats and Wildlife of the Highlands.
 Dinner: In the baronial dining room.
 Evening: An illustrated presentation on the Isle of Skye in our state of the art education centre.
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Reelig Glen woodland walk.
(Friday, September 18)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in the baronial dining room.
 Morning: A leisurely free morning in the small and picturesque town of Beauly. There will be time to visit the 13th century Priory, Campbells Tweedshop (of Royal patronage) or visit the local distillery for a tour and some tasting.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: A ranger led field trip to Reelig Glen, a charming 19th century woodland walk popular with local people and which hosts a profusion of native and exotic species of plants and trees.
 Dinner: In the baronial dining hall.
 Evening: Sir John hosts your farewell dinner and a Highland piper entertains with some traditional music.
   
Accommodations: Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Farewell to Aigas – onwards to the Isle of Skye.
(Saturday, September 19)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast and porridge in the baronial dining room.
 Morning: We drive across some of the most dramatic mountain and moorland scenery of the Highlands to get to the west coast. The Aigas rangers stop along the way to regale us with tales of turbulent clan history, details of historical and modern land use and we keep an eye out for golden and white-tailed eagles.
 Lunch: Packed lunch.
 Afternoon: We continue our gentle drive and arrive at our hotel overlooking the Isle of Skye the misty isle to which Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped after the Battle of Culloden and the impenetrable stronghold of the Lords of the Isles for centuries.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: An optional foray to the local pub in search of traditional fiddle music and some craic (Gaelic for fun!)
   
Accommodations: Tingle Creek Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: The Isle of Skye - Sleat and Armadale Castle.
(Sunday, September 20)
   
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: We journey to the South of this - the most famous of the Hebridean islands. The soil in this area is lime rich, leading to the most diverse habitats on the island, a rich mixture of woodland, open moorland and jagged coastline. The dominant land use is crofting and there are many typical crofting and small fishing communities scattered throughout the peninsula. Sleat is in the territory of the MacDonald Clan and we visit their clan seat at Armadale Castle, which has an excellent interpretation centre and gentle walks in the extensive castle grounds.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Michelin starred Kinloch Lodge, established by Lady Clair Macdonald, wife of the current Lord Macdonald, Godfrey Macdonald of Macdonald, High Chief of Clan Donald.
 Afternoon: After lunch we refresh ourselves with a short and scenic ferry ride back to a remote headland of the mainland. Our journey takes us past the Bernara Barracks (which was built in 1720 after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1719) and we stop at the impressive Iron Age brochs (towers) of Dun Telve & Dun Trodden.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Tingle Creek Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Scenic train journey from Kyle to Beauly.
(Monday, September 21)
   
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast we depart by train to Beauly and the Aigas Field Centre for lunch with Sir John and Lady Lucinda Lister-Kaye.
 Lunch: Lunch at Aigas Field Centre.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Edinburgh and check-in at the hotel.
 Dinner: Farewell meeting and dinner in the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14:
(Tuesday, September 22)
   
 Depart From: Edinburgh Airport. 5 minutes walk from the hotel or a 2 minute complimentary shuttle bus.
 Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel. Some departures may leave before breakfast.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Isle of Skye. Portree.
Local pubs feature music some evenings. For additional information, visit www.travelbritain.com/islands/IsleofSkye.html
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


. The Scottish Nation: 1700-2000


Author: T.M.Devine


Description: The Scottish Nation examines the social, political, religious and economic factors that have shaped modern Scotland. Drawing on the latest research, Devine places Scotland firmly within an international context and provides a key focus for the ongoing debate regarding Scotland's future. This new edition brings the reader up-to-date with Scotland's recent history, from the high politics of the devolved parliament to the everyday effects of huge and growing levels of social inequality.



A History of the Scottish People


Author: T.C.Smout


Description: A classic history of Scotland.



Concise History of Scotland


Author: Sir Fitzroy Maclean


Ring of Bright Water


Author: Gavin Maxwell


Description: A lyrical masteriece. The story of Gavin Maxwell's life with otters on the remote west coast of Scotland. Introduction by Sir John Lister-Kaye.



Scotland's Coast: A Photographer's Journey


Author: Joe Cornish


Scotland's Mountains: A Lanscape Photographer's View


Author: Joe Cornish


Scotland: A New History


Author: Michael Lynch


Description: This full length history of Scotland is made up of 25 chapters spanning 18 centuries, from the Picts to the 1980s and is designed for the general reader. A particular feature of the book is the attention it gives to social and cultural history, including life in towns, the changing role of the nobles, and the shifting images of Scottish identity through the ages. The landmarks of Scottish history - the Wars of Independence, the Reformation, the Union of Crowns and the Union of Parliaments, the Jacobite rebellions, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, are all covered. The author is the editor of "The Innes Review", literary editor of the Scottish History Society and has written books on Edinburgh and the Reformation, Mary, Queen of Scots and the Scottish Burghs.



Scottish Highlanders-A People and their Place


Author: Jim Hunter


Song of the Rolling Earth: A Highland Odyssey


Author: Sir John Lister-Kaye


Description: Written by your host at Aigas. 'A wonderfully lyrical book surging with the sheer joy of nature, from Scotland's premier nature writer.' Magnus Magnusson; ' An environmental classic', SPECTATOR; 'Lister-Kaye establishes himself as one of the finest nature writers in the language', SCOTSMAN; 'Wonderful and evocative', GLASGOW EVENING NEWS; 'A masterful piece of storytelling', COUNTRY LIFE.



The Highland Clearances


Author: John Prebble




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