Category Archives: Exploring the UK
Whilst in Scotland and in Inverness we made the requisite trip down to Loch Ness to see if we could spy a monster. Yes, I must admit, Loch Ness is surely one of the worst tourist traps in the world, and going on a cruise to look for Nessie ranks right up there with “going to the top of the Eiffel Tower” as one of the most cliched things you can do … but it must be done. These places are tourist traps for a reason, after all, because the tourists love to do them! So we played tourist for a day, and took the boat out on Loch Ness. We tried to something a bit different though, and rather than merely monster spotting we took the cruise to Castle Urquhart, a lovely ruin on the shore of Loch Ness. Unfortunately, our “something a bit different” turned out to be the same thing that 4,276,294 other tourists wanted to do that day! Oh well. It was very scenic, if you can see past all the annoying Americans.
The title of this blogpost is just as annoying as it sounds, and yes, it is the tourism slogan for Inverness. I find it annoying because the name isn’t pronounced with an accent on the IN, the accent is on the NESS, so this slogan flips it all around and makes me sound like an idiot when I say INverness.
All that is beside the point, however, because both Alex and I really enjoyed our stay IN the city IN the Highlands. The city is considered the capital of the Highlands, but I definitely didn’t feel like I was IN the Highlands whilst there … I heard lots of seagulls, and not many bagpipes. But it’s really a nice place. The river Ness (which is where the city name, Imbhir Ness in Gaelic, comes from – it means “Mouth of the River Ness” was a charming and babbling brook. We were both astonished at how clean and clear the water was – you could see right through to the rocks below. I think we’ll have to go back for the Highland Games next July, as I really do want to see those!
We enjoyed a charming walk about a mile upriver to the Ness Islands, which seemed really idyllic. Just a few small islands in the middle of the river, you feel like you’re totally on your own. They also have some really cool artistic benches scattered about, providing the perfect spot to enjoy the scenery.
You might have seen the rather dashing man in a hat in some of my previous posts. Or perhaps I should say, you might have seen the man in the rather dashing hat! We got this great piece of haberdashery at Camden Lock market back in June, and we’ve both been itching for an opportunity to wear it. So this holiday seemed like the perfect time. The hat did everything a hat is supposed to do … it shaded the face and neck, it was cool (even though it’s technically more of a winter hat, the felt is quite light), and most importantly, the aforementioned “dashing” factor.
So imagine my distress when Alex LEFT THE HAT ON THE BUS. Yes, the hat he’d worn for precisely 2.5 hours was abandoned, alone and forgotten, on a strange and foreign bus on the Isle of Skye. Poor little hat.
Luckily for me the Scottish folk on Skye are terribly friendly. I also think they only have about 6 buses, so when I called their helpline the next morning I was happy to hear that they’d undertake a search for the missing hat. Sure enough, about 5 minutes later we got a call saying the hat had been found. Hurray! But even better, they asked where we were staying and arranged for the hat to take a trip on THAT bus and be delivered very nearly to our front door. It was amazing service. John at Stagecoach buses on the Isle of Skye deserves a serious commendation – he was polite and helpful, and most important, he got us the hat back.
From that point, we walked across the one-and-only bridge to Skye to the town of Kyle of Lochalsh. It’s a nice big bridge, and I’m rather proud that we walked it. (Also a good opportunity for the hat.)