When I arrived in Inverness, I realised how small the town really is, but also caught sight of the shoe store (yay).
I checked into the hostel and went to the shoe store and picked out my new pair.
The hostel itself left a lot to be desired. The walls were covered in mould (literally covered), the beds were squeaky and uncomfortable. They mis-assigned rooms to multiple people and sometimes double booked beds. One of the showers didn’t work properly and I had to hold my finger below the control unit to stop the water gushing out of there and to come out of the shower head instead, meaning I had to try and wash myself with one hand. That shit is hard. The employees however were lovely, and the other stayers were social. I think Ive discovered that the dirtiest, low budget hostels are the ones where you meet the most beautiful people.
That evening I grabbed some food some the supermarket across the road, had some dinner and chilled in hostel. I met some new people who explained college sororities to me, which still perplexes me somewhat as to why that segregation is society is seen as bringing people together. Maybe it does in some way, and it certainly gets young people volunteering their time for charities and people in need which is excellent, but I am amazed at how belonging to your sorority/ fraternity is held in such high esteem. Why is there so much emphasis on status in this world?
The next morning I went walking around town. I noticed an unusually high number of churches in town. I counted at least 8 or 9 and managed to get a photo with 5 in one shot!
One church was a Catholic Church and a nun in full nun attire walked out one door and into another so it was clear this is still a practicing convent. I thought they had all but disappeared these days.
I am still loving the accent, There are much less tourists here than Edinburgh, and the local accent is strong.
After wandering through the streets of the north side of town, I walked upstream of river Ness (you know, that one that flows from Loch Ness). It was a lovely walk and I walked for about half an hour to reach “Ness Islands”. They are small natural islands in the middle of the river that are connected by a couple of bridges. The islands themselves were lovely and it was great to be amongst nature again. The birds were singing as the sound of the river rushed by, and the scent of salty water from the sea, and duck poo lingered in the air.
Men fished along the banks for Salmon which is popular in the area and one of the places they can be seen swimming upstream (like in the John West adverts) at the right time of year.
I noticed that the Signs for streets and shops were written in Gaelic first and English second.
I ate, I wandered, and curled up with some Netflix of an evening so it was a pretty relaxing day in all. It rained outside as my new (sorority) friends and I became addicted to Oprhan Black. This was the first time I had watched Netflix / television in almost a year and I was instantly hooked We binged watched and chatted until the early hours of the morning.
The next day I had my day tour to the Isle of Skye. They played traditional Scottish music on the bus and our guide was very informative. I learned a lot about the region from Inverness to Skye and return. We stopped by old castles, mountains where Scots fled from the Norse Vikings, the town of Portree for lunch, a place called Kilt rock as the rock looks naturally like a kilt as a cliff face, with a waterfall in front for added effects of beauty. Of course a couple of boys were standing between the car park and the cliff playing bagpipes. It was raining slightly but with the wind, the light rain, the sound of the bagpipes, the green scenery behind me and a giant cliff face that looks like a kilt over the rolling seas before me, it was a snapshot of everything Scottish in one moment.
In some of the smaller towns, Gaelic is still spoken as a first language and many people greet each other this way. The signs are still all Gaelic first and English second, and in some instances, only in Gaelic. We went to the Faerie Glen, where “fairy mounds” are said to have enchanted men trapped for hundreds of years as they play instruments for the faeries to dance to. We spent some time walking around this glen, amongst the rocks laid by the “fairies”, the hills that look over them, and below them, and by a still lake at the base of it all. It was bustling with our tour group and one other, yet it was so still and peaceful and rather enchanting. This is possibly the greenest scenery I have seen in my life. Despite the clouds and drizzling rain, everywhere we turned was beautiful. I can’t even imagine how gorgeous these highlands would be on a clear day. Rolling green hills, sheep, highland cattle, cliff faces, lochs and castles. We finished off the tour by the Eileen Donon Castle and then Loch ness and with a snap of it by Urqhart castle (which is the famous one in the background of all the “nessie” photos). It was a gorgeous 13 hour trip around the highlands and incredibly beautiful.
And so my time in the Scottish highlands/ Inverness comes to an end. On to Glasgow!