D and me had decided earlier last week that we would venture a little further, so instead of going East or West of Scotland, we went North. Up as far as Inverness.
But before we got there, there was a lot of driving to do (just over four hours), so there was lots of stopping and sight seeing on the scenic A82 as now and again our attention was drawn to these magnificent rocky pyramids.
In true Scottish style it rained on us throughout our sojourn.
But the scenery was stunning and breathless at times. This picture was taken as we approached Glencoe.
There were plenty of highland cattle about, but this one especially caught my eye.
We paused at the Commando Memorial in Lochaber. This monument was unveiled in 1952 and is dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. Since it unveiling it has become one of Scotland's best-known war memorial. As such it is used as site for memorial services. There is also a Garden of Remembrance, which has become a place where many families have scattered ashes and left behind tributes to loved ones who belonged to contemporary Commando units and those who have died in more recent conflicts such as the Falklands War or in Afghanistan and Iraq. This site is also serves as a tourist attraction offering views of Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr.
Next it was a stop at Castle Urquhart on the banks of Loch Ness. It was once Scotlands largest castle, but that is not the only reason why people come here.
Whether or not Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster exists - this place is a magnet that draws visitors from all over the world. I have to admit I was not happy on paying the entrance fees of what essentially was ruin overlooking the 600 foot deep waters. I would have been happy taking a peek of the loch ness from the A82, but unfortunately views are heavily restricted by trees, but hey at least I can say 'I've been there' now'.
We finally arrived in Inverness. After checking in to our bed and breakfast accommodation, we headed to the city centre. The skies remained grey spitting on us now and again.
We wandered through the Victorian Market. Stopped and had cake and coffee at Leakeys Second Hand bookstore. This bookshop is housed in an old Gaelic church; and Yes, I came out with a couple of cookbooks.
Then walked up to Inverness Castle, one of Scotlands more modern castles!
This is a view of the River Ness from Inverness Castle.
We had a peek inside Inverness Museum. This is a collection of boards with the names of trees, plants and herbs. I was intrigued to know more about this. Apparently this was a way to preserve and teach children the Gaerlic alphabet. Instead of the traditional way of learning the alphabet A is for apple, B is for Ball. Here is was learning the names of trees, plants and herbs, for example L is for Luin (Rowan), M is for Muin (Vine honeysuckle) and so on. So it was not about just learning the language, but also about nature.
Later in the evening we walked to Ness Islands. Two Victorian style suspension bridges link the islands together and to the banks of the river. Its a pleasant walk and provides breathing space from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, but i am sure if you were a local there are times you would avoid walking through the park as you may encounter the occasional drunk. Regardless of this, I really liked it here, the artistic wooden benches that blended in well with the environment.