Day tour of the Highlands

After breakfast at our B & B, we had arranged for a tour of the Inverness area from Nicola Fraser and her father, Don, who was the driver, in their Land Rover. The tour business is called Highland Journeys.

We started by driving south along the west bank of Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle. Nicola pronounced it like Uk-ert.

As we drove along Loch Ness we were also following the Caledonian Canal which runs parallel to the Loch, not part of it. Just before reaching the castle, we met Murdo, a piper piping for tourists in the layby on the side of the road.

Loch Ness looking northeast

Looking southwest towards Urquhart Castle

We drove to the castle where we watched a short film at the visitors centre describing the history of the castle. There’s been a settlement on the spot since Pictish times. Because it lies at a strategic point on Loch Ness, there’s been a castle since the 13th century and which changed owners numerous times. It was blown up by a fleeing garrison of Protestant supporters of William and Mary in the late 17th century. We walked around the ruins of the castle.

We drove back to Inverness then onto the road east to Culloden. At the Culloden visitor centre, we watched a film about the Battle of Culloden, the final battle of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and toured the interpretive centre.  In the field in a small original cottage, we watched a short dramatic presentation of surgeons in the battle field.
We walked around the area where the battle took place, looking at the English line
and the Scottish line. We could see why it’s called Culloden Moor.

There are a number of interpretive signs in the field
There were some cute little sheep grazing because they eat the vegetation which was not original to the area in the 1740s when the battle occurred. The intent is to have the battlefield look like it did then when it was grazing ground.
We had lunch at the small coffee shop, then drove to Cawdor Castle. Cawdor used to belong to the Thanes of Cawdor. The castle is perhaps best known for its literary connection to Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth. Macbeth was Thane of Cawdor and Glamis. Sadly, the castle was built many years after the events of the play.
We toured inside the castle. Then around the gardens which includes a maze.
Robin had to try out the maze.
We drove from Cawdor to the seaside town of Nairn on the Firth of Moray. Pronounced more like Murray. It was really windy but the beach looked like it would be pleasant on a warmer day. In the distance, you could see the Black Isle, which is actually a peninsula.
We then drove back to Inverness and were dropped off near the train station to buy tickets for the next day.
Scott bought accessories and a jacket for a kilt and we returned to our room for pre-dinner drinks. Robin tested out his Calgary clock radio and burnt it out without a voltage transformer. Had to put a new clock radio on the shopping list.
We had dinner at Nico’s Bistro in Hotel Glen Mohr, where Robin paid for dinner.

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