Monday, 19 June 2017

Scottish wanderings - part 1

After finishing the West Highland Way I caught the bus from Fort William to Glasgow in order to collect the car we were going to use to tour the north of Scotland. The bus traveled along the A82 through or near to quite a few places we had visited during our walk. The sun was shining and I regretted not carrying my camera. Be thankful as there would have been a heap of photos of mountains and lochs. The other positive was being able to see the route before I drove it later in the night. It did help.

The bus terminated at the city bus station and I was quickly on another bus heading for the airport. By the time I got to the Hertz desk it was very quiet and I got served without a wait.

Having been duly issued with a car, one with built in navigation, I set the destination to Fort William and headed out of the airport. While it was 9 o'clock at night it was still quite light and I did not need the lights, yet. The biggest problem was having the indicators on the left and the windscreen wipers on the right. That problem was overcome when it started to rain.

Before it got too dark I stopped to work out how to turn on the headlights. Once I actually found the switch it was OK and I set them to auto which was a sensible setting for we tourists.

I finally pulled into the carpark at the B&B a little after midnight. It had been a long day.

Jen had suggested a late breakfast time slot for the next morning which was a good decision. After breakfast we finished packing, threw all our gear in the car, locked it and walked down to the High Street so that we could formally complete Jen's walk with the obligatory photos. Here they are again ... just in case you missed them.

In keeping with most of the days we have been in Scotland it was raining!

We returned to the B&B and headed out of Fort William in the direction of Inverness. This took us up the Great Glen passing Loch Lochie, Loch Oich and then Loch Ness. We kept crossing over waterways but did not see any vessels using the locks.

Our first stop was going to be Urquhart Castle. This is just another ruin. It was built, knocked down and rebuilt many times before being abandoned. It was really cold as we walked around the site and were pleased to return to the warmth offered by the car.

View over Loch Ness from the Urquhart Castle site

On leaving Urquhart Castle we headed into Inverness and our B&B which turned out to be one of many in that area of Inverness. Most were full. It was only a short walk into the business centre. By the time we set out it was still chilly but the sun had broken through.

I cannot recall seeing so many churches in such a small area. The folk of Inverness must have been much in need of salvation to have poured so much money into the numerous churches that we came across. Here are just two ... I'm sure you don't want to see them all!

The River Ness runs through the middle of Inverness. It is crossed by a number of bridges including some that are pedestrian only.

... and don't miss the two churches in the background
We did a turn through the central business district and stumbled on the castle. This one was relatively modern and definitely in use.

There are paths along both sides of the river and these were being heavily used by pedestrians and cyclists.

We had been informed that many restaurants offered good deals for pre-threatre dinner. We, ignorant ones, thought that this seemed a bit odd in a relatively small city only to discover that they had a huge arts centre which had multiple live shows running as well as cinemas.

We opted for dinner in one of the local cafes. Perhaps this was not the best choice. Meals came with potato (mash or chips) and vegetables. The only catch was you had to pick one from peas, carrots or beans. Carrots was a good choice. Jen picked beans. When her meal arrived she was surprised to discover that beans were of the baked variety. One should never assume. Jen had been looking forward to some green beans!

The next episode will cover our journey to the far north coast.

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