A Picture that Sums Up Inverness
What to Expect:
The Inverness economy is growing, and with the Scottish Executive (government) relocating many beaurocratic jobs here from Edinburgh there will be more money swilling around.
One product of this growth is the new enlarged Eastgate Shopping Centre - a generic, unsightly block of modern building on the outside and a somnambulists dream inside, with false palms, slow motion escalators and artificial light, heat, fashion and people, a slow suction of money and mind. The area of choice for wannabe annorexics and pop stars to parade.
Outside, the newly created piazza (?) competes with passing buses and cars to create some sense of ambiance, rest and space. It fails. Only bagpipes can probably match the screech of traffic brakes and diesel rumble.
One street (Main / High Street has been pedestrianised and this is the saving grace of Inverness. For the rest of the streets you are unable to enjoy the high level architecture because of traffic, pollution and a streetscape of charity shops (thrift), bars, travel agents and trinkets. From the bus / train stations, walk onto the busy street, cross over and walk through the covered "victorian market" until you reach Church Street (see off the beaten path tip for bookshop). Turning left will send you towards this pedestrian street, the far end of which you'll spot Macdonalds - the most obvious landmark. Just beyond this is the Tourist Information Office. Its about 10 minutes with a rucsac.
Detailed Map Inverness
Down To The River Below
One of the things I'd recommend to do in Inverness is to take a walk along the banks of the River Ness. If you head west along the river's edge, you'll eventually be able to cross to the northern side of the river at some very pictures islands which are connected by walking bridges.
Some of the sights along the river are very nice, and it is super peacefull along this stretch.
Bring a fishing rod if you are into that.
just outside town there was the chance to visit a famous castle which name I can't remember, for the simple reason that we drove until the front face of it, and then decided not to visit it.
There was a lovely park all around it, just like the one surrounding the Huntly Castle, and this big tree was a proud inhabitant of it.
Please take these few lines of pure crap as an introduction to the Fort George visit story.
My Week in the Highlands
"Rediscovering my Roots"
October 2004 was my first time back in Scotland since I was two years old (I was born in Inverness). We only had one week there, so didn't stray out of the Highlands, but still managed to get around thanks to our hire car. We drove as far west as the Isle of Skye and as far north as Dunnet Head (forget John O'Groats - this is the true most northerly spot on mainland Britain).
The countryside was beautiful; the autumn leaves colourful, some of the landscape bleak but stunning, the lochs glassy and mysterious and the castle ruins fascinating. I loved the wildlife - pheasants, deer, black faced sheep (ok, maybe not so wild), shaggy highland cattle and more.
It rained for part of our stay, but wasn't as cold as I had expected. Let's face it though, you don't go to Scotland for the hot sunny days!
I had heard some unflattering comments via the web, so was pleasantly surprised to see how truly pretty Inverness is. The Scottish people are friendly, too. One week wasn't enough to see everything I wanted to see. Gotta save my bikkies and go back!
We stayed about 10 miles outside of Inverness, near Croy, on a working farm. (See my Accommodation tip for more details.) It was very peaceful and a great base from which to explore the region.
Checking out the town, Inverness Castle looked quite picturesque, but a bit too modern to warrant a visit. The nearby church on the bank of the River Ness caught my eye more with its pink stone walls, a sprinkling of autumn leaves forming a nice contrast to the vibrant green around its base. The river was surprisingly fast flowing.
Driving west from Inverness towards the Isle of Skye, you pass through some amazing scenery that is at times postcard pretty, at others bleak and eerie. It's tough land with a powerful presence, given a romantic edge by sporadic rain and mist. It's easy to feel lost in time here.