Inverness, Scotland - More than Golf - Photojournal Part 4
Updated: Dec 3, 2022
We noted a beautiful castle while on our way to Skye from Fort William. Heading off the island towards Inverness, were able to stop back at the Eilean Donan Castle. I was impressed the castle had a woman’s name. Little did I know that Eilean is the Gaelic name meaning island. Indeed, the castle was on its own little island and it was named after a male Celtic saint who was martyred in 617.
The castle was the stronghold for the Jacobite Mackenzie Clan (does the name sound familiar to Outlander fans reading this?) Yes the Mackenzies were a real family and they supported the Jacobite rebellion in the 18th century. As a result, the English destroyed the castle which was later rebuilt in the early 20th century.
After admiring the exterior of the castle we headed to Inverness. Again, like many major cities it served as an important seaport . It is also the cultural capital of the Highlands.Located on the northern shores of Scotland with the river Ness flowing through, it is the perfect location for commerce. To facilitate movement there are pedestrian and car bridges across the Ness.
A short car ride from the city center, on the Loch Ness, is Urquhart Castle. In its heyday this must have been magnificent. The castle served as a filming location for the “Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes and was mentioned in the Outlander books as a place that Jaime and Claire visited.
Like many castles, this had a dungeon and evidently one of the prisoners is still there.
There has long been a debate about the validity of Loch Ness monster sightings. We heard there was one near Loch Ness by Jacobite Clansman Harbour and so we decided to see for ourselves.
Scotland has many beautiful gardens and since we were close by we had to visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens.
Rich in history, we could not miss Fort George.
Built after the battle of Culloden, Fort George is an impressive 18th century fortress that was established to gain and maintain control of the Scottish Highlands.
For those of you who saw Outlander, shortly after the saga begins, Claire is whisked into the past by leaning on a rock similar to those that can be seen at Clava Cairns in the Inverness Area. I am not sure if my husband really wants to become a time-traveler.
Purple flowers, meadows, and rolling hills elicit the feeling of peace and serenity. Looks can be deceiving. This beautiful area is a massive graveyard. Perhaps the turning point of the Jacobite Rebellion, thousands of Scottish highlanders lost their lives during the Battle of Culloden fought on this spot. While the battle of Culloden scenes in the Outlander series were not filmed in this location this is the actual site of the battle.
If you look closely at the red dot in the middle of the photograph below you will notice that it is a flag. This is the area where the British army stood from the vantage point of the Highlanders.
Was there a clan called Fraser? Yes there was. In recent years, due to the popularity of the TV series Outlander, flowers have been placed by the gravestone.
Below you will see a blue flag marking the front line of the Jacobites.
Thankfully there is no shortage of greenspace in Scotland at this time. The Ness islands are a brilliant example of an urban oasis. They can be found near Bught Park and can be reached by footbridge. However if you somehow found yourself back in the 18th century you would have to take a boat to reach them.
There is an interesting sculptural bench where you can sit and look at the river and the islands
If it’s not ducks or deer, it’s always something in the road
So glad they have footbridges across the river Ness.
Like Glassgow and Edinburgh the architectural style is eclectic with a strong Victorian presence. Lots of buildings with corner entrances.
Attention Harry Potter Fans. Leaky Bookshop, located in an old late 18th century church, most likely has the largest collection of second-hand books in all of Scotland and perhaps in all of Great Britain.
This looks like a place right out of a Harry Potter film.
You can see elaborate Victorian style buildings (like the one housing Lauders) across the street from stark modern ones.
This is the 2nd Heilan Coo that we have seen while in the Scottish Highlands. Now we are on a mission to find more. As a fundraiser, Highland Hospice had a contest where applicants submitted sketches of how they would decorate their Street Cow. Twenty artists, whose entries were selected, received a Coo to decorate. From May - August 2022, these Coos can be seen in Alness, Tain, Wick, Thurso, Portree, Fort William, Aviemore, Beauly, Dornoch, Grantown, Forres, Nairn and the city of Inverness. An auction was scheduled for the fall. Care to place a bid to dress up your yard?
We had a nice meal at the Waterfront, so nice that we revisited the place.
The Inverness Castle was under construction and the entrance was fenced off, except for a few minutes on a June morning when I was able to capture the image below.
And one more cow for the collection..
Next: Edinburgh,Scotland - More than Golf - Photojournal Part 5
In case you missed our recent Iceland blog segments “Return to Iceland 2022 - Different season - Photojournal”, and Iceland’s Westfjords 2022 - Photojournal
If you missed the previous 3 Scotland Segments:
Scotland Part 2 - Loch Lomond and Fort William - More than Golf
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