Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Scottish Highlands trip: Day one - Aberdeen to Inverness

It was decided before the Easter holidays that I, along with some of my classmates, would go on a trip together around the Scottish Highlands, taking in Inverness and Fort William, before the start of the new term. For the first day, we travelled to Inverness from Aberdeen using the Megabus coach service - costing just £1 each way, making travel very cheap and comfortable, although quite long - 4 hours in all to travel the 105 miles of the route.

Inverness is, essentially, the cultural capital of the Highlands, where most of the residents of the region to come down and do their shopping when looking for something a little more than food essentials and when wanting to experience some level of city life and human connections. Although not a large city, Inverness is the largest city of note in the north of Scotland, and is where the cultural life and commercial bustle meet.

Having said that, it certainly isn't overwhelming, and provides a nice, gentle introduction in the ways of Highland life, set as it is on the scenic Loch Ness with snow-capped mountains in the distance. As a starting point for our exploration of the city, we took a walk to the Ness islands, roughly a half walk from the city centre. These islands are really beautiful, full of green trees and swirling brooks, each very small and connected by a series of quaint Victorian bridges. I imagine it would be wonderful to walk there at night when it is lit up, although I'm not sure I'd be so confident to try it!

After our walk, we headed back to our hostel for dinner, which was located just up from the castle on the hilltop. This made for a very nice location, as our room was at the top and looked out over the lake and the surrounding countryside - very peaceful. After dinner, we were planning to go to Hootenanny's, the popular live music bar in these parts, but as everyone was tired we just decided to stay in the cosy living room of the hostel and chat over a few drinks - after which we retired to bed, looking forward to the journey to Fort William tomorrow! I'm not sure about the rest of the group, but it would be my first time there, and I was really looking forward to it.

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