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To Inverness, Drumnadrochit and Ft. William


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 14 to 17 May 2013

Tuesday 14 May, to Inverness, Drumnadrochit and Ft. William

We have not been here for two years so we have a lot to talk to Iain and Cathy that we have known since 2000 and where we keep coming back to again and again. The Caledonian hotel in Beauly has become a bit like our home in Scotland over the years and we are not longer treated as guests but as friends. Last night we talked for a while and this morning we take it easy and drink coffee after breakfast with them.
View over Inverness View over InvernessThen we go to Inverness, we always have some things we want to buy here and we know the city pretty well. It is not such a big city and the center is easy to walk. It is heavily overcast and occasionally there is a drop of drizzle but sometimes the sun breaks through and it becomes very pleasant.
Inverness castle Inverness castleIt is not a really outstanding city but obviously has a castle that is now used as a court. This is still the gateway to the far north of Scotland and was therefore always of strategic importance. Yet it seems that Inverness can only call itself officially a city from 2000 onwards. Most of the buildings are from the 19th century because before that the city was regularly plundered and destroyed by Hooglandse clans, mainly from the north.
Terrace in Inverness Terrace in InvernessInverness has a few terraces, a phenomenon that is not as familiar as with us. Fortunately, we know them all and where they are and when the sun comes out a little longer we go to Little Italy on the north side of the center. Teije immediately puts up his sleeves exaggeratedly, but you can see the people behind who wear a thick coat because it isn't that warm.
Cows at Drumnadrochit Cows at DrumnadrochitVia the east side of Loch Ness we then drive to Drumnadrochit for a short stay and then drive back to Beauly via the A833. Teije still finds a dead-end sideroad where we havent been to and where we mainly encounter stray cows.
Landscape at DrumnadrochitThe A833 is a quiet road that first goes up very steeply and then winds through a virtually deserted plateau towards Beauly. Only on the last stretch there are some villages but especially the southern half is a beautiful deserted area with forests, hilly plains and lakes. There is also a steep and exciting road that goes right on to Loch Ness but we skip it this time.
Landscape at Drumnadrochit Landscape at DrumnadrochitThe landscape in Scotland is mainly determined by the sky: what color does it have, whether there are clouds, how low they are, whether it rains and to what extent the sun manages to penetrate the clouds. All the colors of the country are changing under the ever-changing sky of Scotland and to be honest, we have never seen so many fast changes in landscape colors anywhere else than in this country. It has something magical and will also be the reason why Scotland knows so many regional legends with fantastic creatures in it. The Loch Ness monster is for foreigners the best known but certainly not the only one.
We are back early at the hotel where we now also meet John and Rachel, friends of us from Yorkshire who always stay here twice a year, for a week in May and in September. We also have a lot to chat with them and together we have a pleasant evening.

Wednesday 15 May 2013, a short trip through the Highlands

Seals SealsAfter a delicious breakfast, we first talk for a while with our friends and then decide to take a short ride in the neighborhood. At the Cromarty Firth we see a whole group of seals lying on a sandbank. Seals, but also dolphins and sometimes whales seem to come here regularly, but so far we have only seen seals. And yet we have been to places where dolphins can often be spotted, but in all those years we have not seen one! So we find a sandbank full of seals already very special.
Ruins Landscape in the HighlandsThen we drive through Dingwall inland, but honestly we have no idea where exactly. Usually we write down where we take pictures or take pictures of place signs so that we can see by the order of them the approximate place but this time apparently not. We just waited too long to make this report and sometimes we have to guess where we made a picture which is surely true for today.
Landscape in the HighlandsAnd somehow we did not manage our photos well between 2010 and 2015, because we miss quite a bit. Especially for this trip and those of next year. We know for certain that we have been to certain places that we can not find anywhere in the photos. Fortunately we already have thousands of photos from Scotland but it still is a shame. We have searched all memory cards, laptops, pc's but we know for sure we have lost a few thousand pictures over 3 or 4 years.
Landscape in the Highlands Landscape in the HighlandsThese landscapes are so typical Scottish that we know to name many areas where it can look like this. Next year we will buy a camera with GPS so we always know where a photo was taken but that doesn't help us now. We fully enjoy the landscape that never bores us and where we can endlessly drive through.
Back at the hotel we spend a nice evening together with friends and acquaintances.

Thursday and Friday 16 en 17 May, to Fort William and bad luck with the car

These are 2 days of which we have unfortunately lost almost all pictures. We can see from the numbering that there must have been more and we know from receipts which we kept that we have been in Fort William and we seldom leave Ft. William without a picture. But where did they go?
Landscape in the Highlands Landscape in the HighlandsIt is Thursday and then it the market in Fort William is held. We want to go there because we regularly buy stone figurines for our garden. It is more than an hour's drive and Teije begins to worry more and more on the way. He stops a couple of times to look under the wheel arches because we've heard a weird dragging sound since our arrival here that keeps getting worse. But he can not find anything and we drive on again. At the Commando Memorial at Speanbridge we stop for some pictures.
Landscape in the Highlands Landscape in the HighlandsAs soon as we drive into Fort William, Teije stops at the first garage he sees, because he feels that the car is wobbling. And what turns out: we lost 1 wheel bolt and the mechanics can take the other bolts of the rear wheels out by hand. We have been lucky! We could have lost a tire on the busy A82. We surely have to have a word with our Volvo garage at home, they put the summer tires back on just before the holiday.
Landscape in the HighlandsThe couple who always made the figurines is on the market but without any statues. Due to health problems, they are no longer able to fabricate them. Too bad for us but then we walk on to the t-shirt shop on the south side of the town where Teije always finds t-shirts with new funny texts. But unfortunately, the store is empty and can be rented, the store has gone bankrupt. And it starts to rain so we go inside the starbucks for a cup of coffee and some pastries.
On the way back we start to hear the weird sound from the wheels again and after a number of stops, it now turns out to be the front wheels. Stupid, that we did not think about that and neither did the people at the garage, they only fastened the bolts of the rear wheels. We are on the busy and winding road along Loch Ness where everyone drives reasonably fast but we try to reach the next garage as slowly as possible, which turns out to be still 10 kilometers away. There the front wheels are secured and that was really necessary, most of the bolts could be removed by hand. We were really lucky that we didn't loose a tire today.
The next day Teije goes searching for a new bolt and that is not as easy as it looks. We do not find anything we can use at the nearest demolition facilities and even the Volco garage in Inverness has to let the bolt come from somewhere else. Teije makes sure all wheels are fastened tightly and after 3.24 pounds and many hours our car is safe again!
I stayed in the hotel today and have occasionally sat on the balcony. Tomorrow we will leave here to rent a house in the south for a week and tonight we decide exactly where: we go to Newton Stewart in Galloway to view the south-west point of Scotland.

 


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