Thursday, June 07, 2012

Inverness ... part 2

 Click on the photos and they should  enlarge
 Day three was to be  a gentle walk …  past Ness church, and Inverness castle
 This red sandstone  castle was built 1836 but there have been castles on this site since 1057. The previous castle to this one,was levelled by Bonny Prince Charlie, in the late 1740’s … by using explosives.

  I then made  my way across Ness bridge where the view of the river is stunning

 and along to take a closer look at the cathedral … the Cathedral of St Andrews was completed in 1869 …it took 3 years …. funds ran out … so the original design, which had two magnificent spires,  was never completed.

 and of course have a coffee and scone in their tea room.

 I then continued the walk to wards the Ness Islands, passing the Eden Court Theatre

and on again  towards the Ness islands

 This bird looked at me as if to say ...'Yes I am a pigeon ...but its hot'
 I was not expecting a pigeon to be paddling in the

 Nearly there .....
Ness Islands is a public owned park, made of tiny islands connected to the river bank by a foot bridge …a recreational area from 1840 …packed with wild life.

 I sat and took in the tranquillity of my surrounings… and then chatted to a new mum who trained dogs and horses and finally made my way back.
My meal this day was at ‘Contrast’ …the best one of the stay …it all was magnificent but the starter of  creamed leek and potato soup with hand made tiny rolls, was the high light ….  I cant describe the pleasure on the palate.

The evening was spent knitting and watching the river from my window, as my legs were a little tired …and my face a little burnt, as the only thing I didn’t pack was sun screen …well who would have guessed we were in for a heat wave.

Day Four ....Still a heat wave and still no sunscreen.

It was the day of the boat trip on the canal and  Loch Ness.
The Caledonian Canal was constructed by Thomas Telford, a great feat of engineering . It’s construction was authorized in 1803 but not opened until 1822.The idea was to join the West Coast and the Moray Firth at the North Sea…..safer than rounding the Northern coast line. Only a third of the 62 miles were man made …the rest is through Lochs. Sadly by the time it was finished many of the new ships were too large to use it and steam ships could navigate the difficult waters, that had been the reason for its construction. It  then became a water way used more by pleasure crafts.
We started at Tomnahurich Bridge ......
 and then experienced the sounds of the river bank …how I wish I could recognise the bird song that we heard …so loud that it could be heard over the boats engine.

We made our way down to Dochgarroch Lock … this was the only one we went though as we made our way to Loch Ness. 
As  we entered the waters of the Loch we past the smallest light house in Scotland  …if not the UK … it used to guide boats into the canal  by the keeper putting an oil lamp in his bedroom window after dark …there are, thankfully, lights nowadays and the keepers house is not used.

 We saw many interesting buildings on the banks of the canal and Loch Ness….I wish I had taken notes....especially about the one that looks like one straight from a  Fairy tale.
 and the Loch and its  shore was stunning

 We turned at Urquhart Castle …this time I stayed on the boat but next time I would explore.
There is no evidence of when it was built but in 1296 there is a record of its existence. It lead a colourful life falling in and out of many hands Most of the destruction occurred in the 1690’s while preventing it falling into Jacobite hands was never repaired and the stones were plundered by locals for  building works.

On the way back I noticed these tiny weirs.. giving texture to the canal waters.

At the end of tour we were picked up by the Tour Bus and dropped not far from ‘The Mustard Seed’ restaurant…  needless to say I just had to drop in …and I was lucky to get a table.
 The starter of  an onion tart, was the high light as the puff pastry was so light it could have floated off the plate and the flavours of the contents were  like a marriage made in heaven. The main course however was a disappointment  as, although the Sea Bass was perfectly cooked, the vegetables fell short and the sauce murdered the flavour of the Bass…it seemed to be just natural yogurts with cinnamon stirred into it.

 Friday arrived and I really did not want to leave ….having devoured another wonderful breakfast I set off. Again the train journey had its ups and downs but the scenery seen through the window, was wonderful  and that is what I wanted to remember.

 …along with the gentleman who helped me with my case …even though he was at least 5 years my senior.

If you got to the end of this  ….well done … I would send you a medal if I had one ...but I hope you enjoyed sharing my holiday, with a shake of history on top,  spread over the two LONG posts
Take Care xx


Wanda..... said...

What a glorious holiday you had, Angie...full of historical buildings, beautiful scenery, and lovely meals! I also read part 1 of your Inverness adventure. Nice posts!

Sue from Oregon said...

i am so enjoying your tour...thanks for taking me along with you!

Arkansas Patti said...

I am so glad you took us along. I would have loved that boat ride.
Still no Nessy huh?
Thanks for the history attached to the scenery also. I love to learn.

Carmen said...

I do recommend a look around Urquhart Castle - but a day when you aren't tired as it's a killer on the legs :) The cafe there also does a glorious homemade soup that I thoroughly recommend ;)

Those last images are precisely why I love that long, long (12 hours) drive up to Scotland. As soon as you start getting over that border your senses are assaulted by gorgeous views and death defying sheep clinging to the sides of mountains.

Thoroughly enjoyed your photos Angie :)

Cat said...

Inverness is beautiful!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! You sure know how to break a woman's heart. I came over here to say 'Thanks' for commenting on my WOYWW post... but then I get hit by the most beautiful photo's of my favourite place on God's earth. Inverness. Snecky (as the locals call it). I lived there for 4 years, just off the river and have been away now for 6 years and not a day goes by when I don't wish we could move back there. I think I left my heart in that city!! Unfortunately, my husband's work situation doesn't allow us to move back or I would be there in a heartbeat!!

Thanks so much for sharing!

Scrappydiva (aka Anthea)

famfa said...

Fabulous. Glad I remembered in the end. Lovely pics. Felt like I was there. Thank you.