2 weeks in Scotland – Part 5 : Inverness

Hey, it’s been a while. I’ve been pretty busy in spring, I had to deal with the exams at uni, the competitive exams to get into a business school in September (by the way, I got them all, SO PROUD) and my job, so, yes, I didn’t have a lot of time for myself and the blog. As all is more or less set and as I’m doing pretty much umm nothing, except vegetating in front of my laptop all day long (I’m too poor to go out at the moment *sigh*), I thought maybe I could blog again.
Oh and I actually am working on a new project, with strips, absurdity and stuff. I have this in mind since early July, but I still have to do some extra researches (oh my, so serious). Should be in da place in mid-August.
Also, I feel like I should change the blog banner. What do you think? Haa, SO MUCH TO DO.

Unicorn Inverness WinaSo, after a few days in small cities, we were quite shocked when we arrived at Inverness. We were like “wooow look, they have Mark & Spencer, even Primark! And the pubs, they’re open! At night! Awesome!”. Leave us a week in a forest, be sure that we die the second day.

Shopping Center Inverness WinaShopping center at Inverness

I had a little crush on Inverness, it’s a cute city. The River Ness goes across the city and the bridges lights colours change randomly. The center streets are cobbled. The city is quite small but you can feel that it’s dynamic. I like it. Plus, it’s near the Loch Ness! Street cred.

Inverness WinaThe city

When we arrived, it was Burns night, a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, author of many Scots poems. You traditionnaly eat haggis, drink scotch whisky and listen to the recitation of Burns’ poetry. And here comes another fail. Because when we went out for dinner at about 9:00 pm, food wasn’t served anymore in the pubs. Oh Scotland, why, why are you doing this to us? Despair and desolation. So we went to an american restaurant. Feel the authenticity of a typically Scottish feast day. Still, Filling Station is a nice place, food is good.

The next morning, we went to the Loch Ness Exhibition Center. To get there, you can take Citylink service n°917 to Drumnadrochit, but there are many buses that can drive you there. Drumnadrochit is a small village, the closest one from the Loch Ness. The Loch Ness Exhibition Center is an interesting attraction, I learned a few things about the seeking of the monster of the Loch Ness, the different ways that have been used in that goal, the different expeditions to find Nessie, etc.

Loch Ness Exhibition Center WinaIt’s interesting, but I wouldn’t say it’s a must-do. It’s nice for the souvenirs shop haha. I found a notebook there for a good friend, I don’t know if I would find it somewhere else. Still, if you don’t have much time to spend at Inverness and around, you can skip that attraction I think.

But if there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in that area is the Urquhart Castle.

Urquhart Castle WinaWe went there by foot from the Loch Ness Exhibition Center. It took us like an hour I think. We had planned to ride on poneys that day, but it was rainy and we didn’t have the time anyway. The walking was quite funny though, we were singing silly songs (like I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift)(this is probably why it was raining that day). It was also very nice because we were close to the Loch Ness. The place is very impressive.

Loch Ness WinaVisiting Urquhart Castle was great. Funny thing is that boyfriend didn’t know much about the castle, so when we arrived, he said “but… The castle is all in ruin!” haha.
Well yes, it is. But it has its charm I think. You can feel that it had a harsh story, based on battles and fire. Apart from that, the view from the castle is very cool.

Urquhart Castle View WinaThen, we went back to Inverness and had lunch at Ash Restaurant. We ate some haggis, eventually! And it was very good!

Haggis 2 WinaAsh Restaurant has a 2 courses lunch menu that is very reasonnable. It cost us about £8 per person I think, which is very good value. For the dessert, I had a toffee pudding that was absolutely diabolic.

Toffee pudding WinaThe rest of the day, we walked a bit around the city. We went back early at the hotel (we stayed at the Waterside Hotel and I recommend it, very nice) and slept like bears. We were travelling all around Scotland for more than a week now and we really started to feel exhausted. Our trip is about to end though, because next time, we’re going to Edinburgh, our last destination.

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2 weeks in Scotland – Part 4 : Isle of Skye

Hello sweeties,

This was the part of the trip I was the most excited about. Before going to Scotland, I browsed TONS of pictures of the Isle of Skye. It really looked like fairyland or something, the landscapes were so gorgeous. And I must say I wasn’t disappointed on that point! If you guys go to Scotland someday, definitely go to Skye, it is absolutely amazing. I’m quite sad we couldn’t go to many places on the isle, but the few we’ve been to were really worth it. Moreover, this means we have to go back there for the Black Cullin, Neist Point, Fairy Pools, Faerie Glen, Claigan Coral Beach, etc. hehe. There are so much to see on Skye!

Our biggest handicap was that we visited the isle on the weekend and there really are not many buses. There are like 4 buses a day for each line and there are places that you can’t access by bus (or you have to walk for hours from the bus station before arriving), so it’s not very practical. I’d definitely recommend you to rent a car when at Skye, it’s a bit expensive but it’s way more convenient!

We leaved Fort William early in the afternoon and took the bus to Portree, the biggest city on Skye. It took us like 3h to arrive I think? I can’t really remember, but it was quite long. Thankfully, the landscapes, as always, were wonderful.

To Portree WinaOn the road babe

When at Portree, we stayed at the Cooling View B&B. The place is nice and clean, we could see the harbour from our room. It’s pretty cute actually, but the room was very very cold, even though the heating was on.

Day 1

Our 2 destinations for the day were Quiraing and Old Man of Storr. Both are on the north of Skye.

Quiraing is a landslip accessible with the bus services 57C, 57A and 60X, by stopping at Staffin. You have to walk quite a while though before arriving at the foot of the landslip. There are something like 2 miles to walk.

Quiraing WinaQuiraing far off

We couldn’t afford that. As we had to catch the bus to Old Man of Storr later, the timing was too short. So we just had a walk around Staffin and went on the bay. We saw a lot of sheeps and even some angus there! It was pretty fun, even if we were quite scared of being attacked by a ram haha.
 The view was very cool anyway and the air refreshing. The place is really lovely. Staffin Bay Trees Wina

Staffin Bay trees

Staffin Bay WinaStaffin Bay

Then we took the bus to Old Man of Storr. It was the same bus than the one for Quiraing, but in the other direction.

Climbing the Storr was the most memorable part of our 2 weeks, it was pretty intense. The Storr is a rocky hill, half way between Quiraing and Portree. It’s a very impressive place. I think the weather was part of that, but still. When we were at the foot of the hill, we couldn’t even see the top, the Old Man of Storr (a high sea stack of sandstone) was hiden by the fog. It was such a beauty. It has such a mystical dimension, it was so irresistible to see what was up there.

Foot of The Storr WinaSo we started to climb. The way was muddy, the rain was starting to fall, the wind was rising, but it was ok. About 15 minutes later, boyfriend told me to look back. And wow, what a view. It was sincerely the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The landscapes and the weather made us feel a little like in the Middle-earth haha. Boyfriend even sang the Misty Mountains Cold song. That was pretty sweet. Every 5 minutes, we were stopping and looking back and around. It was so beautiful. And so sad at the same time, as the trees of the hill were all burnt off. It was dead wood everywhere. 

The Storr WinaThen when we arrived half way, it started to rain and hail hard, it was very windy and I had difficulties to keep my balance. As it was getting a little too risky for me, we decided to go down. Boyfriend wanted to carry on climbing, but the weather really wasn’t working in our favour.

The Storr View WinaI was pretty sad that we had to stop, I really wish we could see the top. But I think we made the right choice and we’ve never been so happy about catching the bus haha. We were exhausted and freezing, our clothes were totally drenched and our shoes and trousers covered of mud.

When we came back to the B&B, we slipped between the sheets, had tomato soup and watched some Doctor Who TV show. After such adventures, we needed some casual haha.

 Day 2

We wanted to visit the Dunvegan Castle gardens, as the castle is closed in winter, but the bus driver told us that the gardens were closed too. Well. Fail haha. So we just walked around Portree before the next bus to Inverness. We had some tea, we did shopping (I bought a super cool lambwool tartan scarf there), we had lunch… Nothing very exciting actually. Oh talking about eating, you guys must know that many pubs in Portree don’t serve food in winter, even though they still present a menu outside (which is quite silly…).

Portree Houses WinaPortree colourful houses

We had lunch at the Caledonian Café, a really nice place. I really liked the atmosphere. And I really liked the food too! We ordered some garlic bread and baked potatoes. I had one with a Coronation chicken filling and it was delicious. It’s chicken with a curry sauce and dried grapes, divine. I’m a huge fan of sweet and savoury and of curry, so it was perfect. Boyfriend had a chicken, bacon and mayonnaise filling. Not bad (but I rather like mine huhu). The meal came with a salad, which is very appreciable. Moreover, the price was reasonnable, less than £8 if I remember well. So, you got it, I recommend this place.

Caledonian Café Lunch WinaBaked potato with Coronation chicken filling

We didn’t spend a lot of time on Skye the second day, as we had to take the bus to Inverness, but it was very enjoyable. The only bad point would be that after 5:00 pm, you can’t eat anywhere for a reasonnable price, the snacks are closed and the pubs don’t serve food. Our dinners were bought at the Co-operative Food (a grocery chain), as the sea food restaurants were out of budget. So it’s been 3 days that we didn’t have real dinner… Can’t wait to arrive at Inverness!

2 weeks in Scotland – Part 3 : Fort William

Hello sweeties,

After more than 3 weeks of silence, it’s time to say goodbye to Glasgow, to go to Loch Lomond and visit the Trossachs national park! 

Except that we’re not going to Loch Lomond. And we’re not going to visit the Trossachs national park. Because we totally missed the bus station and we’re actually at Glen Coe now. 

feelingsYes, it’s the third time I use this gif here, but it’s one of my favourite

You probably don’t get what’s the matter, so let me show you with this desperately sad map:

Loch Lomond Glen Coe WinaBIGGEST FAIL OF THE TRIP. We could go back to Loch Lomond, but the next bus that was going down was in several hours. So we kissed it goodbye.
Now remember what I said in the General Approach post: keep the bus timetable in mind and inform the bus driver about your destination. This will make you avoid this kind of misadventure.

Anyway, it wasn’t such a big deal, because we were going to Fort William anyway and the service we took (n°916) was going over there too.

Day 1

Fort William Arrival WinaArrival under the rain at Fort William

We had lunch at the Café Ecosse and it wasn’t the best choice. The fish & chips is clearly frozen, so not very interesting. It’s ok when you’re hungry and don’t really care, but if you want something fresher and more savoury, this isn’t the place.

After that, we went to our room to rest a little bit. We spent only a night at Fort William and it was at Ardlinnhe B&B. The place is perfect, it’s clean, spacious and very cute, there was a hairdryer, tourism books and all that is necessary for tea time in the room. Moreover, Pam, the hoster, is lovely.

Fort William Room View WinaThe view from our room

At about 5:00 or 6:00 pm, we had a walk in Fort William. There was actually not much to do… Almost all the shops were closed, there’s no attraction in the city center… So after an hour of wandering, we bought some food at Tesco and went back to our room. Wow such adventure much amaze hu.

Fort William Iron Guardian WinaWe met an iron guardian on our way though

Day 2

Fort William Wina

In the morning, we wanted to go to Nevis Range to take the cable-car to Ben Nevis (the main attraction near Fort William and the highest point of the british isles!). But the bus times weren’t convenient as we had to leave in the afternoon for Portree, Isle of Skye. So much for Ben Nevis, next time! 

Fort William Old Man Wina

We decided to do a little shopping and hike a bit in Glen Nevis. And it was great!

Fort William To Glen Nevis WinaOn the way to Glen Nevis

I almost died haha. We first walked on a muddy way and when trying to go back to the main road, I slipped and almost died. Well yeah, at least! We were near River Nevis and I can’t swim. So yes, I almost di-ok hashtag dramaqueen.

Fort William River Nevis Wina“Feaaar and panic in the air, I want to be freeee from desolation and despair…”

Anyway, the sun appeared at the moment we reached our highest point of the hike, it was really nice. The landscape was wonderful.
Fort William Glen Nevis Wina

Fort William Glen Nevis 2 Wina

When we walked down, we had rain and hail (and a tiny bit of snow). Then it became very sunny when we arrived to Fort William cimetery. All the weather changes happened within 20 minutes I think. The weather at Fort William is the most insane we had in Scotland.

Fort William Cimetery View Wina

The view from the cimetery

Our stay there ended with a hot chocolate while writing postcards at the Hot Roast Company. It seems that they make good rolls there, but we didn’t try any (not really in the mood haha).

Fort William is a cute city, but you can quickly get bored. Still, this is nothing compared to the end of days in the Isle of Skye… But we’re seeing that next time.