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Published: April 9th 2015
A view of the castle across the river, missing out the "modern architecture".
Our daughter was away on a school trip over the Easter holiday and our son was busy studying (miracles will never cease) so my wife and I thought we would get away to Scotland for a short trip of our own. It's on a door step and we had hardly ever visited, and it always features heavily in the photography books and magazines that I read, so I was also particularly keen to go there.
After the chaos of London Luton, Inverness airport is the cutest, quietest and most civilised airport I think we have ever had the pleasure of arriving at. There was the inevitable queue at the hire car desk whilst the one person on duty was typing merrily into a computer. Apparently he had started work early and officially the desk should not have opened until half an hour after our flight had arrived, so it could have been a lot worse.
A word of advice, if you are traveling as a couple and you want to pick up a hire car at Inverness airport, then one of you could go through to beat the queue whilst the other waits for the baggage reclaim.
View of the Ness River with Inverness Castle and a suspension footbridge.
we had eventually found the car, hidden away in a section of the short-term car park. Usually when we get a hire car from an airport we have to contend with the steering wheel being on the wrong side, so that made a nice change. It was only a short drive into Inverness and we managed to find our hotel, although it was still too early to actually check in. It was time therefore to check out the sights of Inverness. That took about 30 minutes.
That's slightly unfair though. There was a really nice walk along the river up to some islands; then through those islands and back along the other bank of the river. A little further up it also runs alongside the Caledonian Canal, so there is another walk back to the city that way as well. The footbridges all seem to be little suspension bridges, which have a tendency to bounce up and down as you walk across them.
As we were walking there was a wedding, with some bagpipes playing outside so it sounded very, very Scottish as we were walking, particularly given that the sound seems to travel for miles.
A young lad playing the bagpipes in Inverness.
Inverness Castle is very photogenic, up on the hill above the river, they seem to have allowed the most hideously ugly buildings to be built right beside it. That's Inverness generally - a contrast between a small, scenic highlands city and some really quite awful "modern architecture" as our guidebook described it. Monstrous carbuncles, me and Prince Charles would refer to them as. The castle is not open to the public as it is apparently a working court house.
Once we got back from the island walk we went down the main street and looked in some shops. This is also a contrast between the traditional shops and a large, modern shopping centre full of all the usual, standard UK brands. There was a young boy playing the bagpipes in the traditional part.
After a meal in the evening, we went for a walk along the river again. The modern bridge beside the castle looked even more out of place as it was lit-up in a rainbow of colours.
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