Thursday 2 July 2015
Bus to Inverness
Bazpackers Hostel, Inverness
There was a big thunderstorm during the night that cleared the air a bit. I was up at 4.15 am as Dave was heading to Inverness Airport for an early flight and kindly dropped me off at Ardersier enroute. From there it was a 1.5 mile walk along the Inverness estuary to Fort George. As there are no coastal paths between Findhorn and Inverness I had decided not to bother walking and just to visit Fort George instead as it seemed like an interesting place right on the ‘neck’ of the Moray Firth, directly opposite Chanonry Point.
Yet again I had been really lucky and very well looked after by Dave and Cally. Staying with friends provides a welcome morale boost.
It was so quiet and peaceful at 6 am; no one was about, the sky looked huge and the water was dead calm. A great morning for sitting on the rocky shore and watching dolphins. What a treat I was in for, an hour long show. At first I only saw one, very close to the shore, but soon there were lots, in many small groups. It was so calm I could hear them breathe out through their blowholes before I could see them. I was able to watch them for ages and occasionally was treated to breaching and big dives. Fantastic.
Once the show was over I spent some time enjoying the calm and catching up on blog writing until Fort George opened to the public at 9.30 am.
It’s a popular place and there was already a coach in the car park by 9.45. It is the only fort in the country that is open as a museum and is still a working barracks, hence there were soldiers wandering around.
The fort is so well preserved and well designed that I’m sure it would have been impregnable in the mid-1700s, it’s just a pity it took over 20 years to build and so was surplus to requirements by the time it was finished in 1770. Nothing ever changes in the military! The fort was designed by William Skinner after the Battle of Culloden, which was just a few miles down the road, in 1746. The Crown beat the Rebelling Highlanders and built Fort George to contain any possible future threats from those pesky Scots. By the time it was finished, however, England and Scotland were quite well united.
The Highlanders museum and the Seaforth Arms display were both impressive. I spent a good couple of hours wandering around. I went for a coffee and was asked if I was in the Army – I must still have a military look about me! I explained I was in the RAF and I think that still qualified me for a discount.
I had to walk back to Ardersier to catch a bus to Inverness in the afternoon.
I wandered through the ‘Capital of the Highlands’ and booked into one of the backpackers’ hostels. I think I’m too old to appreciate these sort of places. I needed to go shopping for a couple of things so did a tour of the outdoors-type shops and bought a hat, a tick remover tool and a new t-shirt to replace my one that’s falling apart after 3 months of constant wear.
I was feeling a bit glum as planning was going badly so I treated myself to a restaurant meal as I couldn’t face navigating the hostel kitchen.