Blogs from Inverness-shire, Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe

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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire July 5th 2015

Happy 4th, my fellow Americans! I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend and enjoyed the wonderful fireworks. I had an absolutely wonderful and amazing weekend, and I am dying to share it with you all. Forewarning: this blog will be a bit lengthy because there is a ton of stuff that I would like to tell you all, so if you don't feel like reading it all then too bad, because you've gotten this far and you are now committed to reading the entire thing! But I'm hoping you'll all enjoy hearing about my adventures as much as I enjoyed having them. On Friday morning, I left for a 3 day tour in the highlands with a group called Heartland Travel. A very nice man named Nory Hope and his wife started this tour ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Onich June 29th 2015

Monday 29 June. The day started as it finished the night before with fine rain and low cloud hovering over the water of Loch Linnhe. Undeterred we had a plan and set off to drive the 8 miles to Fort William. Within one mile we were held up in a traffic jam due to work to clea dnmake safe a landslide. Once clear of that we drove to Neptune’s Platform just outside of Fort William. This is where the famous locks on the Caledonian Canal which link Loch Ness to Loch Linnhe and in effect enable a passage between the east seaboard of Scotland to the western. Built by Thomas Telford it is a quarter of a mile long structure made entirely of brick and concrete and consisting of 8 locks which drop in total 19 ... read more
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llUnfortunately, we did not find the Loch Ness monster (aka Nessie) today, but we did have fun looking! We went on a Nessie hunter boat cruise on the Loch (our boat captain sounded a wee bit like Sean Connery!), and learned: 1. The water is black-ish appearing because of the soil around the loch. There is a lot of peat in the soil (maybe Nessie likes peaty whiskey?) 2. Loch Ness is about 50 feet higher than sea level, about mile wide, 23 miles long and DEEP - about 750 feet deep at the deepest point. To illustrate the depth, our boat captain kept moving the boat closer to shore and reading out the depth we approached the shore. Basically, there's a very minimal shoreline, and then a fairly steep drop very close to shore. 3. ... read more
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Today we five returned to Edinburgh from a trip to the Scottish Highlands. Driving to the Highlands is like driving from the American Midwest to the West in terms of changing landscape. The major difference is that the Scottish Highlands have a lot more sheep and a few castles visible from the highway. Overall, the Highlands were cooler than Edinburgh; the temperatures were as low as 50 F during the day. The sun was reluctant to show itself and drizzling rain plagued us a few times. However, the beauty and solitude of the Highlands outweighed the chilly weather. We started the trip in Inverness, just a few miles north of scenic Loch Ness. Unfortunately, the Loch Ness Monster was nowhere to be seen. We toured Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. This castle was ... read more
Portree, Isle of Skye
Iain - Pub Patron and Vending Machine Assaulter
Eilean Donan Castle


Today is going to be a day on the Isle of Skye, the Misty Isle. We left the hostel around 9am and headed first towards the Coire na Creiche (Fairy Pools for those that don't understand Gaelic), in Glen Brittle. After a good long trip on some more of those tiny one-lane, two-way roads, we reached the parking area for the Fairy Pools. Our driver was a little concerned about how busy it might be, but although the main parking area was pretty full, we were able to park along the side of the road. By the time we returned from our hike, the whole road was full and overflowing! We had to hike down and across a valley to reach the pools on the other side. It was a fairly long hike, but the cold ... read more
Fairy Pools and caves
Fairy Pools Upper Falls
Close up of Fairy Pools

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Inverness May 25th 2015

Today we were awake, packed, and ready to go on our Highland Fling bus tour at least an hour early. The tour is offered by MacBackpackers and runs from Monday morning through Friday evening. In 2015, we paid about 200 Pounds each, and I would have said ahead of time that I think it will be worth it, but by the end of day one I can say it will be. Our granddaughter Alexis took the tour last year and after reading about it and seeing her photos, we decided we'd give it a try, even though we figured we'd be the oldest folks on the tour. The mid-sized bus pulled up in front of our hostel right on time. We'd read in the tour notes that we should only bring smaller luggage such as backpacks ... read more
The Scottish Deli
Shops at the Highland Folk Museum
Baile Gean village

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire May 23rd 2015

23rdMay Laggan Locks to Banavie – 14nm Through Loch Lochy today and a couple of single locks – couple of bridges, getting easier now that we have done so many. Also going down now…so much easier that going up! Going to stay here a few days, got some tourist things to do and Abbie and Chris are coming back for an overnight stay. 24th: Abbie and Chris came up last night so today they drove us up to the Gondola and we went up a mountain as part of the Nevis Range. It was cold!! BUT we found snow!! WE got hailed on just for a little while, but it was all good fun. We did some shopping on the way home – using the advantage of having a car and people willing to drive us ... read more
Brrr
Nevis Range
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21stMay Fort Augusts to Laggan Locks – 8nm In hindsight it would’ve been better to go through the locks yesterday afternoon as over the rest of the afternoon lots of boats came up to the canals to wait the night and then pass through in the morning. Having said that, there wasn’t much room on the pontoons on the other side anyway, and this lower side was much closer to the town. Walked the boat through a set of 5 locks. Phil was motoring so I just had the bow line, so quite easy really. Going up is very turbulent as all the water is let in to fill the lock. SOOOO many people were stopping to chat – and suddenly I heard an Aussie accent saying G’day to Phil. They got talking and the guy ... read more
big chilly
whiskey tasting on The Eagle a floating bar
cold morning


19thMay Dochgaroch to Urquhart Bay – 8.5nm A very short trip today...looks like that might be the way to go. Left just after a rain shower and minutes before the lock behind us opened, letting out 3 charter boats. Been advised to avoid them at all costs. They stand out a mile as the charters are all wearing very bright, very big orange lifejackets!! Had sunshine for most of the trip, winding our way through the canal, very beautiful this morning, and on to Loch Ness. Keeping an eye out for Nessie, but just really enjoying the surrealism of being on Loch Ness...a place you have always known existed and now are a part of!! Fortunately the only 'visitors mooring buoy' was free, so we took that. Can't quite see Urquhart castle from where we are ... read more
Urquhart Castle
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire May 18th 2015

18thMay Inverness to Dochgarroch – 6.5nm Entered the Caledonion Canal today – what a moment that was!! As we came to the entrance lock, we noticed there were people there with camera's and some were taking pictures of us. I thought that maybe this was an organised thing where you could buy pictures of your boat at the beginning and then maybe the end of the cruise....but no...shortly after, we found out the the tall ship “The Flying Dutchman” was also coming through the locks. As it was, we were delayed in the first lock for an hour as the swing bridge just up a little bit further couldn't open due to some problems with the trains. So the Flying Dutchman was held up outside the lock and we were stuck inside. Eventually we were let ... read more
Our first lock
Hotdogs underway
The Flying Dutchman




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