Heading up to Thurso from Inverness where I had a good stay at a B&B ten minutes walk to the center. A sweet little place and a bit more room than my Skye retreat in Portree. Inverness seems to be a mini-Edinburgh. Very manageable. I took a local bus out to the Culloden Battlefield where they had a great audio tour and presentation of what went on there in 1746…the final Jacobite battle where 1500 Jacobites were killed and 300 Britishers. I’ve always wondered why they were called Jacobites. You probably know this but Jacobus is the Latin for James. And it was James Stewart they wanted back on the thrown. His descendent “Bonny Prince Charles” spent some time trying to reclaim the thrown, all for nought. He died on the continent a sad sorry alcoholic. Happens to the best of us…the alcohol, that is. There was an eclectic group of people touring the site with their audio guides. Very interesting observing and being observed.
Here’s a good place to interject that American women traveling solo (the only ones that seem to travel alone) are pretty eccentric. Whoops, who’s looking in the mirror? Present company excepted. I met one woman going out to the battlefields on the bus and though I resisted talking as is my usual mode, she insisted on telling me how the bus driver told her the wrong information and she had to wait for another bus…seemed very put out.
And then I was sitting alone (is there any other way?) at the Mustard Seed in Inverness having a pretty good darn meal when they seated a woman at the adjacent table. It’s a trend. Anyway, she turned out to be from the Marshall Islands by way of Iowa and had been teaching in the Marshall’s for 18 years. Seemed nice but every once in a while she went into a reverie and sort of lost it with how excited she was to be traveling…she said this was the trip of her lifetime. It was pretty sweet and, of course, I helped her document the event. I was on my best behavior.
There are some lovely walks along the River Ness which runs through Inverness and, as you guessed, is an outlet for Loch Ness.
Oh yes, here I’m interjecting a church graveyard where, after they imprisoned the rebel Jacobites in the church, took them out and executed them. There are even two stones lined up which, it is said, were used to line up the musket with the prisoner. Nice use for a churchyard. By the way, it’s not a Catholic Church. And it is along the River Ness.I managed a boat trip (yes, Jacobite cruises!)
out to the Loch and to Urquhart Castle. I had bought my ticket the day before and boarded just fine. However in disembarking I was asked for my yellow pass. No yellow pass. I’m sure this has never happened before…no, no. Well, they let me off without the pass and then on the return had to go through the whole rigamarole again. It was a lovely trip though and a lovely day. Lots of climbing at Urquhart…just can’t get away from that in Scotland.
I had a chat with an Irish woman (living in Scotland) who was on the boat (Jacobite cruises!) who was taking the Contemplative Cruise – that is, you sit on your can on the trip up to the Castle and likewise on the way back. She asked a lot of questions and gave a lot of answers. Not too contemplative. I, of course, took the Discovery Cruise which included climbing around the castle and busing back.
Speaking with ‘what’s her name” I felt like it was an episode of an English soap opera. So much like Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet). Cheery and chatty and curious (nosy)…Are you traveling alone??? She and her husband were hosting a good friend of theirs on this trip up and down the canal to Loch Ness who has Parkinson’s. Keeping up Appearances.
Now here in Thurso…and being picked up by Dave’s taxi. Just a short jaunt up the hill to a B&B. Still beautiful weather. Who knew? Off to Orkneys tomorrow.