Today was another travel day, though not nearly as epic as Wednesday. We said good bye to Kyleakin and headed towards Inverness. The morning was quite misty/foggy but after an 30 minutes or so of driving, we were out of the bulk of it. We couldn’t even see castle Eilean Donan as we drove by, so dense was the fog. We made our way to Fort Augustus which is on the southern tip of Loch Ness. We decided to break up our drive with a break here and take a boat tour. Prior to the tour starting, we wandered around the village which is quite tiny. One of the most interesting features of the town is that it has a very impressive five level lock that connects Loch Ness with the Caledonian Canal. The boat tour was an hour in duration and run by Cruise Loch Ness. The weather was nice and it was good to get some fresh air. We were hoping the tour would make it as far up the loch as Urquhart Castle, but alas the only tour available (due to a wedding), was a one hour out and back on a &8216;slow boat’. I was surprised to learn how big Loch Ness actually is. It has a maximum length of 36.2 km and a maximum width of 2.7 km and a depth of 226.96 m. Of course, the loch is famous for Nessie, the monster. Alas, we did not see her.
After the tour, we headed to Craigside Guest House our B&B in Inverness. Our room overlooked the castle (which is used as a courthouse). After dropping our luggage off, we went for a walk. Inverness is full of shops selling kilts, tartans and everything related. We saw a couple of fellows walking around in kilts. It was a long time since breakfast so we went looking for dinner. Our B&B host suggested a few places within walking distance. Being Friday night, it turns out most places were already booked. We ended up at Castle Tavern,which is just down the hill from our B&B. I had a steak, Deanna had a burger. Both decent. Being a Friday night the pub was very busy and loud, but that was part of it’s charm.
Just one night in Inverness so we packed up and headed out after breakfast. We had a nice chat with the owners of the B&B who, it turns out, have only been running it for a couple of months. Very nice people and I’m sure they’re going to be very successful. Just outside of Inverness is the Battlefield of Culloden which is a very important historical event. It’s the place where the Jacobite rising came to it’s conclusion with a battle between the highland clans and the English army. There is a visitor center that has some very impressive displays and artifacts that have been found over the years. We saw a demonstration on how kilts were assembled and worn. Included in our admission was a GPS enabled walking tour on the battlefield itself. It was quite sobering to be on the place where so many men died in a brutal battle. Over 1500 Jacobite fighters were killed and less than 50 English/Government fighters were killed. The audio commentary was really good and added a lot of perspective to the space. It was well worth the stop and something I would recommend if you’re in the area.
Next the car park were three highland cows (coos). Shaggy horned cows that would look great at home on our little farm :-)
Heading out, we settled in for the three hour drive to Edinburgh.
Driving through Edinburgh was ok. Traffic wasn’t too bad and our GPS worked flawlessly. We made it to AmarAgua Guest House, parked the car and went for a quick walk around while waiting for our check-in time at 5:00 pm. Our room is very nice. We ate at Kwok a Chinese restaurant recommended by our B&B. We had some thai chicken, curry prawns, rice and spring rolls. Very tasty.
Tomorrow we’re off to explore Edinburgh.