2011 UK and Ireland travel blog

Eilean Donan Castle

More Castle

Still more castle

Loch Ness and yet another castle

Inverness Castle

Inverness view from the castle


If this is Sunday then this is Inverness. It is Inverness, not really the north of Scotland but like the Isle Of Skye, north enough to not have free WiFi! Now there is that old stereotype about a Scotchman being tight with a farthing, but I think they mean Northern Scots. I know, I'm getting obsessive about this free WiFi thing. But this is the UK not Bang-The-Dish! So this blog is being composed downstairs at the public "free" computer station which conveniently is positioned right next to the bar in the great room. The previously blog too was written here about 4 pints and one big dinner ago. And just as I was finishing it, Joan rushed in to announce "The Germans are here", as sure enough a giant tour bus disgorged about 70 pale looking folk. As it turned out they are not Germans at all but rather Icelanders. I got talking to the tour co-ordinator, a fellow Canadian, a Newfoundlander. That explains Icelanders being in Inverness - a wrong turn? We left Portree on the Isle Of Skye in a blustery wind and driving rain, back down the island road in the misty mountains, wet green glens and cascading streams. This time we took the new Skye Bridge that connects the island to the mainland, forever changing the character and spirit of Skye. Heading now east through the lower Highlands, the geography changing into the towering mountains and glorious glens and long green valleys that seems to go on forever. Stopping to visit the magnificent Eilean Donan castle on the long inlet of Loch Duich. An ancient castle, the favoured subject of photographers of "the classic Scottish castle". Out on a rock cropping in the loch standing solitary and tall against an spectacular backdrop, centuries old. Standing in the castle, looking out in all directions, one can easily imagine the hordes of Viking raiders rounding the bend, coming up the loch...or the onslaught of Cromwell's ships besieging the castle. From there is was on to the Great Glen and the long link of needle like lochs connected with canals; the wondrous vistas, the quaint villages and of course at the end Loch Ness. Somewhat of a disappointment, believe it or not getting a real close up good view was not easy. It seems most of the shoreline must be privately owned, for access was quite limited. Or for a fee one could visit the best viewing spots, but oh well at least we got a few good photos. Loch Ness became the River Ness and at the mouth as it spilled into Moray Firth, the old city of Inverness where we are staying tonight. Much milder here but raining again. As I write this the bar and great room is filled with boisterous Icelanders. And who knows what hi-jinks imbibbing Icelanders can get up to. I hope its quiet tonight, we are off south to St. Andrews tomorrow and then 2 nights in Edinburgh before heading back to England. Into our last week it has been an adventure. A lot of driving, a lot of hotels and a whole lot of living out of a suitcase. Getting late, time to retire as the Icelanders are gathering around the piano player and croaking out a strange rendition of "Yesterday", so goodnight to all from Steve & Joan & Patricia.

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