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Via Inverness to Forres


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 01 September 2006

Friday 01 September, via Inverness to Forres


Haymaking timeThe garage expects our new gas evaporator today so we are quietly going in that direction. It is hay time and the hay rolls are everywhere on the fields ready to be picked up. Only now do we actually see how much agricultural land there is here.
Pub in Inverness Abertarff HouseIn Inverness we go to a computer shop to order a new PC for Iain. The store is small and rather messy, but has a good reputation and is reasonably cheap.
We have been in Inverness so often in recent years that we feel quite at home and know the way. But we hadn't noticed this white building on the right before: Abertarff House, the oldest complete building of Inverness from 1593.
The Old High ChurchIn this street, Church Street, there are more old buildings and of course a few churches. From the cemetery of The Old High Church we have a beautiful view over the river Ness, but there is a sinister story attached to this place. The rebellious Scots who had been captured at the battle of Culloden (most of them were slaughtered on the spot) were executed here.
Inverness CastleFrom the other side of the river we have a view of the 19th century castle from a terrace. There have been older castles of which nothing is left because of the many sieges. In this place Macbeth would have killed King Duncan in the 11th century. And so there are many places in Scotland with a long, but often bloody, history.
Elisabeth on the footbridgeWe walk along the west bank of the Ness to the St. Andres cathedral without towers because the builders run out of money. But because the cathedral had no towers, Inverness never received city rights and is officially still not a city. Then we go back over a wobbly walkway to the car and drive further to the east.
House in Forres Center of ForresThis time we take a slightly different route, south of the A96 and there we come through a more wooded area, the fertile farmlands are closer to the coast. After a few heavy showers the sun reappears when we enter Forres. We walk around and drink a cup of coffee at the pizzeria that has created a roof over its terrace since last year (especially for the smokers!).
Sueno’s Stone, Forres Sueno’s Stone, ForresAt the edge of the city (the cathedral here has a tower) is the 6 meter high Sueon's Stone, surrounded by a glass box against erosion and vandals. It is the largest known Pictish stone in Europe and was found in the 18th century. Originally, the stone probably dates from the 9th or 10th century and shows a battle. There were a lot of battles in those days (the Scots against the Picts, the Scots and Picts against the Normans, a conflict with their own king) but they do not know exactly which battle is depicted on this monument.
It has been almost 5 o'clock and we still have not heard from the garage so we call them. No, there they still have not received the part, although it was sent yesterday from London. It will be Monday, then we have to come again in the afternoon. We are a bit disappointed , now we can not make long drives all weekend and we like to do that when we are here. But the worst thing is the feeling of a lack of freedom, that we can not just leave if we want to. But we do not spoil our pleasure too much and drive to the ruin of Kinloss Abbey near Forres.
Kinloss Abbey Kinloss AbbeyFounded around 1150, it grew quickly to become one of the largest and prosperous Cistercian Abbeys in Scotland. They lived a goof life there and occasionally a bit too good and immoral according to the church so that even delegates from the headquarters of the Cistercian community from Citeaux in France came to punish the abbot.
Kinloss AbbeyAfter Protestantism replaced the Catholic faith as a state religion in 1560, the abbey deteriorated rapidly and the buildings were dismantled and the stones brought to Inverness as building material. Now there is an impressive ruin about where you can walk around for an hour or so. The abbey is located next to the local cemetery and is always accessible free of charge.
Scenery along the A96When the sky starts to darken again, we drive back home, that is to Beauly. On holidays we always call the place where we stay 'home'. Dark clouds drift occasionally through the light blue sky and we see beautiful vistas.
When we are back at the hotel Cathy indicates that she does not mind at all that the car is not ready yet, now we have to stay the whole weekend. We had already planned that, but now we have no choice.
We get an extensive warm meal even though we have asked for just a small one. We have often noticed that we are a few kilos heavier when we stay too long here. Well, that is the price to pay for being at this nice place.

 


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