In hindsight, because we didn’t have a ton of time, we should have stayed in Edinburgh and planned to visit the Scottish Highlands on a day or overnight tour from Edinburgh. But how were we to know?! Instead though, after a few days exploring Edinburgh, we headed north by train to Inverness, Scotland with the plan to take the ultimate tour of the Scottish Highlands in a day. Unfortunately we were forced to change our plans, but all in all we ended up enjoying our time in Inverness regardless.
Inverness is a great base from which to explore the Scottish highlands. This was our plan. We’d decided to stay two nights and one full day where we’d planned a Rabbie’s tour to take us up into the highlands and to the Isle of Skye. Unfortunately for us, our driver fell ill, and with no backup driver available to take us, we found ourselves standing at the bus station on a dark, rainy morning with no plans for our day. I tried calling other tour companies to see if we could schedule something last minute, but no luck. Sometimes that’s the nature of travel.
So we found breakfast (and coffee!!) and made a plan. Although extremely disappointed that we weren’t going to be visiting the Isle of Skye that day, in lieu of, we decided to visit the historical Culloden battlefield just outside of Inverness. The battlefield is located a little ways out of town, and it wasn’t cheap to catch a cab out there, but once we arrived we were incredibly impressed by the Visitor’s Centre and museum and the battlefield itself on Culloden Moor was both sombre to walk through and incredibly breathtaking. I’m a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books series (and the TV series that followed) so in addition to how much we learned about the battle itself and the history surrounding it, it was also interesting to see the place that inspired such an iconic piece of Diana’s Outlander story.
After our morning at Culloden, we called a cab to take us to Dores, Scotland (just outside of Inverness), for a cosy pub lunch and a view of the famous Loch Ness. We sat by a wood fire and enjoyed a delicious, long lunch complete with pints at the Dores Inn and then went for a short walk along the shore of Loch Ness (our monster sighting count still sits at zero!) before catching a cab back in Inverness. It’s not ideal (or cheap!) using cabs to get around the area, but given that our day had gone awry, we justified it to ourselves that we deserved it to make the most of the time that we had.
After arriving back in Inverness, we refreshed and headed out to find dinner. I’d read about a pub called Hootananny and since I loved the name (it just sounded fun!) and I’d read the food and live Scottish music was good, we decided to check it out. We ended up staying for hours. We ate, we drank and we hung out and watched and listened as locals came together with their instruments, including bagpipes, to pay great music. It was low-key, totally lovely and a wonderful way to finish a day that started out on a very negative note, but that we turned into something truly memorable.
Happy travelling! xo Shay