Posts Tagged ‘Inverness’

Royal Highland Christmas – yet another, Haggis Adventure

January 12, 2012

Christmas is indeed my favourite and sadly for the last two years I haven’t been able to head home and spend those days with my family. Last year I was stuck working at Starbucks- but this year I was lucky enough to have 5 days off as the juice bar was closed :D

I had a few options open to me- going to London to spend time with friends, hanging around Edinburgh- cooking my own meal etc, or signing on to yet another Haggis tour to spend some more time in the Highlands.
I decided to go to London, but then when I started looking at train times etc… it was a bit of a mess. I had to work on the morning of the 27th and the trains weren’t co-operating. So I decided to treat myself and do the trip. If I wasn’t going to be with family or friends- having a 3 day adventure was indeed the next best thing.

It was a pretty big group- I think there were 36 or 37 of us in total with our tour guides Greg (Greggles) and Chris (who was also a guide on my trip in September). There were quite a few things that we did that I’d already seen/done in September but it was kinda nice and twilight zone-esque to end up at these stops again after feeling like I’d never set foot there again.

For instance- our first stop The Wallace Monument in Stirling- when I was there last time it was chucking it down- so it was hip to linger a little longer exploring.

We stopped at The Green Welly Stop for lunch and I must admit I was the most excited to have the fish pie again. I might have dreamed about it. Once. So delicious. That cupcake by the way, was maaagggnificent.

Then we drove through Glen Coe where you find the Three Sisters. One of my favourites. Would love to have some extra time out there…

Photos don’t do any of this justice.

Then we went on to Loch Ness where JOY OF JOYS! OF ALL THE JOYS IN JOYVILLE- we were going to do the Nessie Haka.

This is Urqhart Castle- saw this bad boy in September as well…

Dug this wee tree by the Loch…

Gazing into Loch Ness prior to the Haka… :D This was my third time doing this bad boy, and no- it does not lose it’s appeal. Christmas came early.

Then we made it to our destination The Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness.

I decided the first thing to do after seeing the massive bathroom was to take a bath. IT WAS THE BEST BATH IN LIFE. The towels on the rack were so bloody warm. SO BLOODY WARM. Which prompted me to take the photo below to commemorate those towels. Those glorious Christmas Eve towels. *snuggle snuggle snuggle*

The grand staircase in this bad boy was apparently inspiration for the one they constructed in the Titanic flick- it was impressive.

That night we went to a club called Hush where we were all very quiet. (Bad joke? Yes.) It was a pretty good time- free champagne and a free drink voucher yes, yes. Got to dance to Bootylicious as Chris showed off his sweet dance moves. But I did call it a night early as I was running on a mere 4 hours of sleep.

The next morning we were all greeted with stockings on the bus filled with things like Irn Bru and these fetching Christmas hats which were worn for most of the day.

We spent our day something, something Christmas hill… …wandering the Highlands…

Duke of Sutherland…

I have never felt wind like that in my entire life. Not on Orkney, not at the Butt of Lewis, no, no… this wind picked me up and threw me on my ass then proceeded to drag me a few meters after flinging off my glasses in a fit of joy. Real wind friends. Real. Wind.

But what a view…

The victorious majority. Wahey!

There should be a photo somewhere of the entire crew at the top of this guy but I have not come across it in my travels yet.

Buddy on the right there demonstrates a bit the force of that wind.

This was the only snow I interacted with at Christmastime… beggars shall not be choosers no? No.

Then we ate our Christmas lunch in the gardens of Dunrobin Castle.

Tres princess-like. Our sandwiches were strange with three bloody slices of bread… weird- weird sandwich.

Everyone likes tree tunnels. These are the lovely South African friends I made- James, Kath and Clara.

James and I explored this majestic gate. Yes, majestic. I might have licked it.

Then we went to Dornoch Beach for a Christmas stroll. You can only have Christmas strolls on Christmas so that’s what it’s called.

I collected seashells as I didn’t grow up by the sea this brings me the most pleasure. :D

Then we made our way back to the hotel where I had yet another bath. Be jealous. You should be. Then I got dressed up (read: got out my tittays in a little black numbah) and went down for Christmas dinner.
We had Christmas crackers and everything. It was LOVELY.

The starter- soup- some lentil variety if I remember correctly…

This is Nkoyo my Nigerian seat mate. She is absolutely AMAZING. We had such a lovely time together. And to my right is a Kiwi who fell in love with Irn Bru. Yes… Irn Bru.

Christmas dinner… was kinda mediocre truth me told. But meh, at this point I was winning anyway by drinking all the win(e).

James makin’ faces with Kath-

Christmas pudding- which tipped the scale into “I ate too much” territory.

Then after our delicious meal it was time for a Ceilidh. I was stoked as um… well… this accordion player Fiona who I think is kinda the prettiest lady ever was coming from Fort Augustus. She’d been at Morag’s Lodge when I was there in September. I got to tell her she was the prettiest and I got a wee kiss. BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER.

Also best dancing ever. I had the epic dancing bruises to prove the awesomeness.

The next morning we had to pack up and head home of course stopping at some lovely spots along the way-
I got to go to Culloden again.

Necessary Haggis bus photo-

Then we headed to the Ruthven Barracks which looked pretty interesting as the whole area was flooded.

Impressive no?

I loved lookin’ at the snowy mountains on the ride back to Edinburgh… pretteh.

Our final stop was the Falls of Bruar. Nice wee saunter.

And there we have it. That was how I spent Christmas- not your normal Christmassy shenanigan. But Christmas goodness no less. Was nice to meet some lovely new folk from Nigeria, South Africa, America etc… and to hang with Christo.

Pretty cool to tell some saucy level jokes to the right crowd. Let the “Q” reign superior.

K

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Scotland Adventure Day 6- Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Well of the Seven Heads, Inverlochy Castle, Glen Nevis, Glenfinnan Viaduct & Monument, Commando Memorial

September 15, 2011

On this morning we lost Mark, Ashlee, Claudette, Koh Youngjie, Lyn, Ben and of course our tour guide Gill as they were only on the 5 day tour and they were replaced by Siobhan, Sophia, Shae, Lucy, Casey, Scott and our new tour guide Chris who had just started their 7 day adventure.

Here’s my morning tea that cost me a pound :D

Our first stop was Loch Ness.

Really dark water…

At the main gift shop among all the tacky things they had Whiskey flavoured condoms.

On our way to call Nessie out of the water using the power of the Nessie Haka.

(I yoinked this pic from Mike of us doing the haka)

It goes a little like this:
Come to me, come to me- Nessie! Nessie!
Come to me, come to me- Nessie! Nessie!
Ohhh Nessie, Big Beasty!
Ohhh Nessie, Big Beasty!
Come up out of the water Nessie!
Come up out of the water Nessie!
Come to me!, Oh come to me! Oh come to me Nessie!
I BELIEVE!
(you should see the dance that goes with this sucker)
EDIT– and now you can… kinda… via this kind person who posted a video of the action clearly from winter.

Me and the Beasty!

Saucy face

This is Urquhart Castle– most sightings of the Loch Ness monster occur near this area.

This is the Well of the Seven Heads– highly suggest checking out it’s interesting history.

The well-

We stopped in Fort William to grab some grub and then continued on our way…

We had a saunter through Glen Nevis to check out the river- and of course this is close to Ben Nevis which was hard to see due to the rain.

This is Inverlochy Castle– what remains of this 13th Century sucker.

Kerstin in the castle :D

Me in the castle

This is the Glenfinnan Viaduct which most of you would recognize from the Harry Potter films :D

This is the Glenfinnan Monument for the Jacobites seen from the top.

Incredible view behind the monument… and the brief moment of sunshine we had all day

We also stopped at Neptune’s Staircase the longest staircase lock in the UK.

This is by the Commando Memorial– tokens left for loved ones.

 
And then we arrived at our destination- the best damn hostel in the world: Morag’s Lodge.

Spent the night doing an epic pub quiz- dancing on tables and chairs while asking robots to fetch me drinks.

K

Scotland Adventure Day 5- St. Magnus Cathedral, Bishop’s and Earl’s Palace, Kirkwall, Falls of Shin, Inverness

September 13, 2011

This day we spent driving from Orkney to Inverness- taking a different route to head back.

This is outside of Orcades Hostel.

We went for a walk in the morning through Kirkwall.

This is St. Magnus Cathedral– so lovely! Really, really impressive. This sucker’s construction began in 1137.

Now that’s a ceiling!

Isn’t this the best sculpture memorial/tomb you’ve ever seen?! This is for explorer John Rae.

Cute little cafe in a gift shop.

There I acquired this beetroot carrot cake- and yes, you heard right. Beetroot. It was delicious!

This is Watergate- built in 1877 and then moved later to this site.

This is the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palace– it began construction in 1607.

Rainy Kirkwall :D

Inside Orcades Hostel- easily one of my favorites from the trip so far-

They had loads of boardgames! It’s in here the night before that all 17 of us had a massive pasta / garlic bread fiesta together. FANTASTIC.

This is the Italian Chapel built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II. It’s made of concrete. Impressive.

Here’s a map of our travels in Orkney :D

Annnd some lovely things on the way to Inverness. I’m gonna live there ;) – we also went through a place called ‘Tongue’.

Here we are at the Falls of Shin where we stopped to see the salmon heading up the falls.

Action shot!

Afterwards we made really good use of this obstacle course jungle gym taking turns and timing each person’s attempt.

This is Carbisdale Castle where we would have spent the night had there not been structural issues.

Scotland is the prettiest.

Our tour guide Jill with the boys-
Adrian, Ben, Mark, Greg, Koh Youngjie, Mike

I love this unicorn statue in Inverness. It makes me happy.

 

K