Facts about Inverness (courtesy of wikipedia):
The name Inverness is Gaelic and translates as ‘mouth of the river Ness’.
Situated at 57.4717N and 4.2254W.
Inverness (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis) is a city in northern Scotland and it is promoted as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland.
The city lies near the site of the eighteenth century Battle of Culloden and at the beginning of the Great Glen, where the River Ness enters the Inverness/Moray Firth making it a natural hub for various transport links. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom. A settlement was established by the sixth century AD with the first royal charter being granted by King David I in the twelfth century.
Inverness was one of the chief strongholds of the Picts, and in AD 565 was visited by St Columba with the intention of converting the Pictish king Brude, who is supposed to have resided in the vitrified fort on Craig Phadrig, on the western edge of the city. A 93 oz (2.6 kg) silver chain dating to 500-800 was found just to the south at Torvean.
click here and scroll down for a map of Inverness/Scotland
The 14.11.09 approached both rapidly and slowly and it was with excitement and anticipation that we woke on Saturday and set off on our journey up north. This is the farthest north we, my offspring and I have ever been – 57.4717N and 4.2254W!!! Brilliant.
CJ reached Victoria station before I did and very naughtily filmed me walking across the concourse! We took the Gatwick Express since it was almost £2 cheaper than by regular train. Go figure.
and a chocolate milkshake for me.
This is the first time wev’e travelled with Easyjet and although the flight is the same as any other cheap airline, I was totally unimpressed with the fact that they left our luggage out in the rain and when we arrived at our destination our clothes were wet. Even more so since CJ was forced to check her bag at a cost of £18 because the bag was literally a zip width to wide for the onboard luggage sizer.
However, excitement reigned supreme as we boarded and finally took off, 25 minutes late. We were off to the Highlands of Scotland, Inverness and final destination was the Great Glen Water Park, situated on Loch Oich (which we did not know beforehand).
The flight was bumpy but uneventful and flying over England was a treat as always. The countryside is so beautiful and I never tire of seeing it from the air. A great expanse of blue sky and great big tumbles of wonderful white clouds accompanied our flight, providing fantastic photo opportunities.
With no idea what to expect we suddenly flew over the highlands!
and practically climbed out the window with excitement. The view was stupendous. Great open stretches of mountain and wilderness, huge lakes that spread for miles. The sun shone down and touched on a mountaintop providing a glimpse of the splendour to come.
Scotland; land of legends, castles, humble crofts, high mountains and tranquil lochs, battlefields echoing to the cries of long ago and remote glens home to towering firs and magnificent golden eagles.
Touchdown was uneventful, no rain but threatening. Collected our luggage, which was soaked! A complaint coming up here! Then over to Avis to collect our hire car. I have decided to write up a checklist of things to look out for and questions to ask for future reference.
It was starting to drizzle again, so in the rain I checked the car over thoroughly, remembering the lesson from Ireland. By the time I had checked for little bumps and scratches my hands were frozen and my sleeves soaked.
By now the light was fading and losing no time we set off, first stop Tesco, just 2 miles down the road for supplies. We had fun whizzing round the store (which was massive and jam-packed with goodies) picking and choosing yummy things to eat and drink, mindful of our budgets. By the time we emerged it was dark!!! Now for the fun bit – finding our way through a foreign town in the dark. Fortunately CJ had printed a fairly detailed map of the area and we made good progress to the A82 (I think) and then on to our destination.
At that time I had no idea how far the Great Glen Park was from Inverness and had considered taking a cab there! Fortunately I had hired a car! It was 54miles from the airport! I had no idea. We drove and drove, the rain falling steadily and with absolutely no idea where the place was, we anxiously scanned the map for landmarks.
1.5 hours later we finally arrived, just before 7pm and we had made the check-in deadline with 10 minutes to spare. By now pitch-dark we had not an inkling of the beauty and magnificence awaiting us. The A-frame cabins are darling and we made ourselves right at home. The first thing that went on was the heating, as it was quite freezing cold.
Hunting around the cabin it took ages for us to find all the switches to activate the various appliances, and the only one we could not find was the switch for the hot water! The following day we enquired at the office and the handyman came along to show us where it was – right behind the box of oats I had placed on the counter!!! Go figure.
Then a toss-up on who would get the double bed! CJ won for the first 4 nights since she was only staying till Wednesday, so that was fair enough. Then time to unpack, hang clothes up to dry and have supper! We had bought a pizza for convenience and popped it into the oven. Hahahaha, we ended up with – a burnt pizza for supper! The oven settings were unfamiliar and we set it too high. It tasted just fine actually and nicely crunchy round the edges 🙂
Relaxing and watching TV, Strictly Come Dancing was on and not to be missed, followed by X-Factor, we settled in for the week, cosy and comfortable. Later that evening just after getting into bed, I had a summons from CJ to quickly get my jacket and shoes on and come outside. I duly complied and stepping out back behind the cabin I lifted my eyes to the heavens and gasped. A blanket of stars covered the night sky, brightly twinkling and sparkling in the night sky. I am reminded once again of the fact that because we are creatures of the daytime, we miss out on this glorious spectacle every night.
We shivered and giggled, somewhat nervous that we were so close to the forest, literally feet away, it was dark and eerie and every rustle had us squeaking with fright. With wolves and ghosts in mind, and things that go bump in the night, I did not last long when finally my nerve broke and we skedaddled back inside, laughing and giggling fit to bust.
We had no idea what was awaiting our eyes on the morrow. And so to bed, I slept like the proverbial baby. Utter peace and quiet. Bliss.