Scotland – Inverness
So, on to Wednesday, and a fairly long drive out to Inverness in a frigging deluge. Twitter friend @hardyduncan had told us we would be able to park “down by the castle”. Well OK, but when we reached the city, we could see no sign of anything remotely resembling a castle. We did see, for a very long time, the back of a white van carrying sausages, as we inched into the city via a mega traffic jam. Finally, though – AHA! – a car park sign! After a lot of pratting about going round and round looking for a space, still in pouring rain, I managed to get us parked. Aaaaand relax.
As we explored, the rain stopped and the weather brightened up, as you can see in the photos. The city itself? Somewhat meh to be honest, and completely interchangeable with almost any other city centre, except for two things. One, EVERYBODY seemed to be smoking. Them Scots, eh, with their battered Mars Bars and the smoking? Tsk tsk. And Two, the river.
Seen from up near the castle (oh aye, we eventually found it, although it didn’t look incredibly castley – that’s it, the brown thing on the right there), the sweep of the river is a delightful thing, and tis most pleasantly bordered by soft green banks and verdant trees.
Crossing the water by means of a footbridge that swayed and bounced disconcertingly to the rhythm of our footsteps (Ben hated that!), we walked upstream (again, as recommended by @hardyduncan) to Ness Islands, a series of small wooded islands in the middle of the river.
Eventually we made it down (or up?) to Ness Islands, in bright sunshine now. These little islands are joined to each other, and the banks, by a series of well-made bridges. The islands boast plenty of British native trees, as well as a fascinating collection of sculpted tables and benches.
In one place, an imaginative sculptor had carved a fallen tree trunk into something slightly more interesting.
To sum up then, a fine day at Ness Islands, but you can keep the city thanks. Oh yes, and on the way home we stopped in the small town of Nairn. It was closed, and is best forgotten, I think, although perhaps it might have made a better impression if we had headed down to the beach.