After two days in Inverness we continued our journey through Scotland. One week is over now and we’ll spent another on the Isle of Skye. But today I want to write about Inverness, a small, beautiful city in the north of Scotland.
I thought there wasn’t much to see since it’s much smaller than Edinburgh. But I was proven wrong. In Inverness we did two trips that really fascinated me. First, we went down the so called Ness Island Walk or River Walk. There is a river which flows through Inverness called „Ness“. And yes, „Loch Ness“ is called that way because of that river. „Loch“ means lake in that case and the river turns into the lake.
So, the monster of Loch Ness is said to live in the lake, even though some „sightings“ of it happened in the river. By the way: I think it’s one of the only myths where the monster never hurt or killed a person.
Well, back to Inverness and the River Walk. Walking down the river at some point you can go over a bridge on some small islands. I really liked the growing flora on those islands, really old, high trees with big roots. Everything is green and it feels a little bit like walking through part of a very cold and northern jungle.
We walked one hour or maybe two, but you can decide whether you want to walk the whole Ness Island Walk or you take a short cut over one of the first islands. There are many foot bridges to walk over the river and back on the other side of it.
The second trip worth mentioning was visiting Culloden Battlefield and its visitor center. I don’t know if you’re aware of the story behind the battlefield, I wasn’t to the fullest.
In 1746 the British Army fought against the Jacobites. The Jacobites wanted Bonnie Prince Charles’ father, James, to be crowned king and therefore have the Scottish heir to the throne regain the crown, while the English wanted to keep their territory. The Jacobites where some of the Scottish Highlanders who hoped to preserve their way of living and who thought a king like James would help them with that. The battle only took one hour, 1500 Jacobites and 50 British Soldiers were killed.
The exhibition was gripping, because it really imparted information and history in a exciting and vivid way by using different materials and media. The lead up to the battle towards the battle was shown on two opposing walls with short text passages on each. The left one was telling the story of the British Army and the right one illustrated Bonnie Prince Charles’ and the Jacobites’.
After that it made a turn into a dark corridor which represented the night before the battle. On the left hand side you could hear the snoring of English soldiers after celebrating the birthday of the Duke of Cumberland and on the right hand side there were the Jacobites’ footsteps through the Culloden Moor who had to wander the whole night.
The corridor was followed by an empty room with blank walls. On all four walls a screen appeared and first you only saw Culloden Moor. Then soldiers appeared and wewatched a staged version of the Culloden battle. One hour was shortened into five minutes, but due to the four screens and sounds from every angle of the room it felt horribly vigorous.
After watching the battle we went into a room where weapons and other materials were exhibited. You could also look on a screen where the battle was shown from the aerial perspective in a more strategically interesting way. In the last corridor the history after the battle was told and that the Clans and their symbols (Kilt, Tartan, …) were forbidden.
I think that exhibition depicts an important part of Scottish history and makes you think about some symbols you never thought about before.
Afterwards I went on the battlefield itself. It is part of the reconstruction of the battle, red flags mark where the British Army was positioned, blue flags mark the locations of the Jacobites. So you really can imagine dimension the battle had.
Also stones with the clan names of the Jacobites are mounted on one side of the battlefield. I found it irritating that at the stone of clan Fraser there were so many more flowers than on the other ones. Just because a fictional character from a popular series was part of that clan, doesn’t mean that the clan was more important or better or anything in real life.
And now, for my vegan readers: I’m quite excited and delighted about the vegan cheese options here in Scotland. In TESCO Extra or TESCO Superstores (I mentioned TESCO in my last blogpost already because of fishless fingers) you can find vegan cheese under the label „free from…“. It offers food without gluten, without wheat and some also without milk and egg.
The vegan options are also often assigned with the note „Suitable vor vegans“. I really loved the smoked cheese and cheddar, but the vegan parmesan and mozzarella made me think about moving to the UK, because it was so delicious. We made Pizza and Pasta and the cheese melted perfectly and tasted extraordinarily well.
The label also offers really great vegan desserts like Creme Caramel and Panna Cotta. You should definitely try it, you won’t regret it!
And another advice for those who will travel to Scotland: If you are interested in historic Scotland, castles and stuff like that, maybe it makes sense to buy the Explorer Pass. For more information, visit Historic Environment Scotland. Using it we saw great places and saved quite some money.
Now I’m already on the Isle of Skye. I will tell you about my week here in another blogpost. But I’m really enjoying the way of travelling we chose this year. Not staying at one place for two weeks, but visiting three wonderful places.
I like being on the road, seeing scenic and incredible landscapes while traveling. I’ve seen so many different sceneries and regions of Scotland and I know that there would be many more places to visit. On the one hand that’s unsatisfying, because the trip never feels completed. But on the other hand you also never get the false impression that you „know“ the geography of a country.