Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Inverness, Scotland

Thu 24 October 2019

Today our journey started from Isle of Skye to Inverness with stops at Fort Augustus / the famous Loch Ness and Urquhart castle before checking in at Inverness and staying there for 2 nights.

Fort Augustus / Loch Ness

We did a stop at Sligachan old bridge and a Scottish highland cow farm at Isle of Skye in the morning before continuing on to Fort Augustus. The view changed from mountains at Isle of Skye to lochs at and autumn foliage at Fort Augustus.

mountain views at Isle of Skye

loch views leaving Isle of Skye

autumn foliage views approaching Fort Augustus

We arrived at Fort Augustus around 1pm just in time for lunch. Fort Augustus is a quaint little village, famous for the Nessie monster believed to be sighted at the nearby Loch Ness. The Caledonian canal connecting Fort William to Inverness passes through Fort Augustus in a dramatic series of locks stepping down to Loch Ness. (from Wikipedia).

shops at Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus lock

The Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater lake extending for approximately 37 km (from Wikipedia). Fort Augustus and Loch Ness is part of the Great Glen Ways that extends from Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast, about 125 km in distance. (from Wikipedia).

Urquhart castle

From Fort Augustus, we drove on along Loch Ness to Urquhart castle, a 13th to 16th century castle ruins lying by  Loch Ness. To get good views of the castle and Loch Ness, you would have to enter the castle with an entrance fee of 12 GBP per person. Views from the parking lot are obstructed by trees. There is also a 10 min movie show in a small theatre of the history of Urquhart castle included in the ticket price.

Urquhart castle ruins

Urquhart castle by the Loch Ness

Loch Ness view from Urquhart castle

This was our last stop for the day before heading to our accommodation at Hillview House Hostel Inverness, booked for GBP 112 for 2 nights through Booking.com.

our room

shared kitchen

there's a rice cooker!

Fri 25 Oct 2019

Clava cairns

It was starting to get colder in Inverness compared to Isle of Skye the day before, with temperatures around 7C. We started off today at 9am, visiting the ancient burial ground of Clava cairns, built about 4000 years ago. There are 4 cairns and 3 stone circles here.

one of the Clava cairns

One of the Clava cairns with stone circles surrounding it

Chanonry point for dolphin viewing

Next, we stopped by the Culloden battle fields, but did not enter as we wanted to arrive at Chanonry point in time for the high tide at 10.30am to view the bottlenose dolphins when they swim into the bay to source for food. The peak times are when salmon are returning towards the two main rivers (the Ness and Beauly) which feed into the Moray Firth. (from Scotland info guide). The parking rate was GBP 1 per hour.

At around 10.15 am, there was a very brief sighting of 3 bottlenose dolphins, but it was too quick for us to capture the moment on our cameras or to video it. We were lucky to view them although it was too brief. We waited some more until 11 am, but there was no more sightings after that.

Rosemarkie bay at Chanonry point

Chanonry point lighthouse

Moray firth

Inverness city centre

From Chanonry point, we drove back to Inverness city centre, parking at the Rose Street multi storey car park to explore the city. Our hostel is located a bit far to walk to the city centre, plus the weather was also getting quite cold. The parking rate was GBP 2.20 for 4 hours.

Rose street multi storey car park

Parking rates at Rose Street car park

From the car park, we walked to the Inverness castle, situated on top of a hill which is still in use as the Inverness sheriff court. The current red sandstone structure was built in 1836. The first castle built at the site was in 1057 (from Wikipedia). Although the north tower is open to the public to get a view point of the city, we didn't enter it. The entrance fee is GBP 5 per person.

Inverness castle

Flora MacDonald statue at Inverness castle

views of the city and river Ness from Inverness castle
views of the city and river Ness from Inverness castle

After having lunch of fish and chips with tea (GBP 11.95) and the all-day vege breakfast set (regular size GBP 7.95), we walked around the city to do more sightseeing, admiring the buildings of the Victorian market, Inverness public library (built in 1841) and Inverness East Church with its purple doors (built in 1798). Note that when we paid by cash in British pounds for the lunch, we were given a change in Scottish pounds (notes tendered by Bank of Scotland). Both currencies are of the same value, but some shops outside Scotland may not accept the Scottish notes, so we made sure we finished all our Scottish notes in Scotland.

Pound notes issued by Bank of Scotland

Victorian market

Inverness East Church

Inverness public library

After some walking and buying Scottish shortbread and Scottish tea at Marks and Spencer as souvenirs, we walked back to the car park and drove back to our hostel and called it a day. For dinner, we would be cooking ourselves. Tomorrow, we would be driving back to Glasgow and the following day we would be flying back to Kuala Lumpur.



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