28.05.2015 - 29.05.2015
Yesterday (28/5/15) rain lead the way from Redwood House to Inverness. We stopped at Eilean Donan Castle...where the rain stopped for us and sunshine lit the walls and bridge for us. Looking inside we had no idea how the women of the day, with their enormous skirts, could have possibly maneouvered the teensy staircases that wound around the inside of the castle.
We came in via Invermoriston along Loch Ness through Drumnadrochit with a glimpse of Urquhart Castle arriving in Inverness at about 3pm. After booking in and dumping our gear we headed for 'town' and found Leakey's Bookstore! Walking in was one of those "where do I start " moments. Rob started with history and me with Childrens books! We stayed until closing time....we'll return!
We were lightly hailed on this morning (29/5/15) as we explored the streets of Inverness. Prior to this we dodged heavier showers and trekked on through off and on drizzle. My waterproof jacket from Mountain Designs has proved to be value for money.
While the laundrette was doing our washing....gotta love that bit... we mooched along Ness taking in sites of the Cathedral, an NHS building that Rob felt an allegance to acknowledge on film, the Castle that now has been rebuilt and is used as the Sherrifs Courts, surrounded by bus loads of tourists...of course we are not!
Considering the tourist season has not really kicked in yet, we dread to think what the roads, parking and shops will be like in a couple if weeks. Weve noticed those tourists doing it by coach all seem to be getting on and off buses with quite expressionless faces, make a camera dash to THE point of interest, then a dash to the souvenirs before their time is up.
We feel very fortunate that we can feel our way along each day measuring the length of our stay according to our interest level. One drawback today was our Fort Georges visit. We arrived later in the day and we only had an hour before closing. We would have stayed for hours otherwise. Its strong well designed and maintained structure is enough to make any coastline feel protected from invasion. The Museum housed an extensive collection of historical memorabilia from Regimental kits, uniforms, letters and logs to medals, musical instruments from a number of Highland Regiments. The artwork graced walls and staircases and original posters encouraging men to join up resembled an invitation to join a cricket club. One went so far to advertise free board and keep.... what more could you want besides your life, especially for a Scotsman.
The Scotsmans fate was portrayed graphically at Culloden's Battlefield and exhibit earlier in the day. A 4 walled projection of the battle that took about 90 minutes to wipe out a side played around us, the viewers, as if we were standing in the midst of the battle. I just watched asking myself why those men saw it as an honor to fight and give their lives away in such a savage manner. Walking around the battlefield after that was quite sobbering. Appropriately there were many grey clouds and drizzle falling, as if out of respect for what had hapened there on 16 April, 1746.
Weve been surprised at the quietness of Inverness itself. Many shops don't open until 9:30am, carparks are half empty and peak hour traffic is very insignificant. Rob refers to it as peak minute traffic. It is very easy to navigate around both the city and the outer lying areas.
We were both speechless today at the area between Culloden and Fort George. Ardersier and the Morray Firth are nothing short of stunning. Clouds create scenes and pictures that would leave painters busy for a lifetime. The sky can be clear blue in patches and 10 degrees away can hang black grey clouds bursting onto the ground beneath them, then white puffs of clouds blend in with the snow caps on mountains and islands sitting just across the water. The water ranges from deep blue to grey, green and reflects colours off the surrounding banks and shores. It can only be described as a natural beauty. Our photos can't capture the beauty or the unpredictability of the changes, no two minutes are the same.
Darceys Tea Rooms at Cawdor served us home cooking with a smile and freshness for a late lunch that topped off our visit to Cawdor Village. Its famous for its castle, due to MacBeth but we preferred to look at the local streets and buildings with its tiny doors, unique old church and grounds, lovely little gardens and neat homes with only a few businesses spotted through the village.
The Snow Goose prepared the BEST crumble for dessert tonight, rhubarb, plum and cherry....devine!
On the whole we've met some very pleasant people to chat to and beautiful wildlife that resists being photographed. Today though, unintentionally, I upset a Scotsman in my attempt to photograph the magestic eagle attached to his left arm. What an opportunity. A bird that could not bugger off when I 'shot' it. Instead the gent 'gave me the bird' in the form of a comment. Me, being me started talking to the eagle asking if it was not keen to be photographed and to my surprise a response came, "Can sae I'm not wee keen on the idea myself!" At this point I still did not twig he was offended, the look and turn and walk off however helped me catch on. Rob and my eyes met as I mouthed 'Oops' to Rob. The eagle and its caustic trainer were gone.
Hopefully tomorrow I will not upset anyone!