A quick trip to Inverness

Last weekend we had a few days near Inverness.  We went, in the first place, to babysit our granddaughter (5 months) while my son and his wife were at a wedding.  We decided to extend our visit by another couple of nights so we could explore the beautiful area.

Inverewe Gardens

On the Sunday we drove out from Strathpeffer to Poolewe to see the wonderful Inverewe Gardens. It was a beautiful drive out past lochs and snow-capped mountains.

Snow-capped peaks

Snow-capped peaks

view

The gardens themselves were a little disappointing. The weather had clouded over and we were a little early to see them at their best.

That said, there were certainly some good bits.

The Rhododendrons and Azaleas were blooming.

rhody pink

Rhododendron ‘Loderi’

rhodys

There was a wonderful walk past tree ferns.

Tree ferns

Tasmanian Tree ferns

These ferns are called fossil plants and they were supposed to be around at the time when the dinosaurs were roaming the earth.

The backdrop to the ferns was provided by a Japanese Acer (Acer palmatum ‘Altropurpureum’).

There were other unusual plants to see.

Arithaema griffithi

Arithaema griffithi

Unfortunately not so interesting once the leaves were opened.

Arithaema leaves

Arithaema leaves

There were many wonderful trees,

Eucolyptus

Eucolyptus gunii ‘Cider Gum’

And ferns.  The Ostrich ferns were spectacular, still unfurling en masse.

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Walking near Inverness

We had rather a long windy drive back to Inverness and were happy to arrive at our hotel, the Loch Ness Country House Hotel.

Loch Ness Country House Hotel

Loch Ness Country House Hotel

This was the type of hotel where you are made to feel like family rather than a hotel guest, with lovely old fashioned sitting rooms where you could have a drink before dinner, or read the Sunday newspaper. Pressed up against the window of the dining room was a Choisya in full bloom. I have to admit that a few little pieces found their way into my handbag.

Choisya

Choisya

We had a couple of lovely walks from the hotel. The first one was along part of the Caledonian Canal. It was rather uneventful going out, but we cut back across country. The gorse and broom were in full bloom and I was so pleased to see some proper bluebell woods.

Gorse

Gorse

Broom

Broom

Some of the gates were not really in the spirit of Scotland’s ‘Right to roam’. . .

A bit of a squeeze

A bit of a squeeze

But we were glad there was a fence in the way as this lot hurtled towards us!

cows

On our last day we decided on a fairly gentle walk on the hills around Loch Ness. The signpost said we could get up to a viewpoint in 45 minutes.

It was a wonderful walk with spectacular views over the Loch.

Loch Ness - anyone see Nessie?

Loch Ness – anyone see Nessie?

I was pleased to see a couple of butterflies I hadn’t seen before.

The first was an orange one which I later discovered was a Fritillary.

Fritilllary

Fritilllary

I wish I had known that the only way you can tell the different types of Fritillaries is to look underneath the wings.  I spent so long getting a beautiful photo of the tops!

The next was seen as we attempted to find a short cut back to the car.  We found a track that was obviously used for mountain biking. We reckoned that if bikes could get down that way so could we. Not so – about two thirds of the way down we chickened out and climbed all the way back up. Some short cut!

However we did see a couple of Speckled Wood butterflies that were new to me, even though they are quite common.

Speckled wood

Speckled wood

They were very difficult to see as they were so well camouflaged against the dried bracken.

Two and a half hours later we made it down the hill. It had been a very enjoyable scramble walk.

It is a beautiful part of Scotland to visit – we hope to go back before too long.

 

 

 

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34 thoughts on “A quick trip to Inverness

  1. It looks as if you had a really good break along with all the walking you must have come back with your batteries recharged and raring to go.
    It is nice to know there are still some good family run hotels.

  2. Oh Wow, the view across to the lake is spectacular, I had no idea Inverness was this beautiful. Really lovely photographs too, especially your fern shot. Did you take your Granddaughter with you?

    • Thanks Julie -we hadn’t been up that way for years which was a shame as it was only about 3 hours drive from Aberdeen. No – the day we babysat we stayed close to the hotel as my granddaughter is only 5 months and also it was pouring most of the day.

  3. Lovely. Are the tasmanian tree ferns hardy I wonder? Although the west coast of Scotland is probably milder than here. I’ve been to Inverewe too, but at Christmas when it is officially closed! Even less to see then. The surrounding scenery is truly spectacular though. That year it was down to -24, snow clad mountains against a clear blue sky, a beautiful part of the world.

    • As far as I could find out it is hardy to a point. Inverewe does have its own microclimate due to the Gulf Stream and the protection of 100 acres of woodland. I am surprised they were OK down to -24 though. Maybe at those temperatures they gave them additional protection.
      What year were you there? Any plans to come this way again?

  4. What a great trip report, I feel like I came along for just a little bit! Too bad you were a little early for the gardens, but I love the fern photo. At least your wanderings seemed to have made up for it.
    I’m surprised by the snow and brown hills, I thought all of Europe was well into summer already and we were still playing catch-up!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Frank. The gardens were still worth seeing. We are still having quite cold weather here; in fact we had hailstones here yesterday. There was definitely new snow on the hills while we were there.

  5. We went to Inverewe a few years ago as part of a holiday when we stayed at Aigas Field Centre, north west of Inverness. We were there at the end of June so each garden we went to it was primulas and Meconopsis! You certainly did a lot of walking, the scenery is amazing, you must have had a wonderful time.

    • I hadn’t heard of that Centre, but I have just looked it up. Some of their courses look fascinating. I hope you had good weather as it certainly makes a difference up here. We did have a wonderful time, thanks and have been wondering why we haven’t been more often!

  6. Oh lucky you having a baby granddaughter, what a joy. Your walk looks so beautiful, stunning scenery.
    You naughty girl collecting bits of the Choisya. I thought I was the only one who did that.

    • We are lucky, Chloris, even more so as they are living with us for a few months. However they are planning to emigrate to Canada later in the year, so we are making the most of it now. The Choisya was so much better than any I have managed to grow that I just had to have a bit – I am sure they wouldn’t have minded as I took it from a very mature bush. Of course I have to keep it alive now.

      • Ages ago. 2004 to be exact. Yes! Hubs and I would love to do a whole Europe trip in the next few years. Hitoshi has been to Europe several times but I don’t think he’s made it to Scotland. I couldn’t get over how the scenery kept getting more and more gorgeous was as we made our way from where our ferry from Belfast docked to Inverness. That was a long day but very enjoyable.

          • Well if you include Scotland at all do let me know – we often go down to Edinburgh if Aberdeen is too far North. We could maybe organise a bloggers get together – wouldn’t that be fun. There are two that I follow that live in Edinburgh.

          • Definitely! I would love a bloggers get together. I could easily advertise a Scotland-only trip to hubby to see what he thinks. There is really so much to do there. I’m still dreaming of heading as far north into the islands as I can go. That was the plan that last trip so many years ago but we couldn’t make it work. Have you been?

          • Unbelievably we haven’t made it to the islands yet, though it is on our wish list. The problem is the weather always puts us off and we choose to go to warmer places when we go away. It is so beautiful there though that we will definitely go soon.

          • Yes! The area does look so stunning and isolated and therefore interesting to me but I’ve also heard that the weather can be horrid. My desire to visit the islands goes back to junior high when we had a project to create a fictional family along with all the details of daily life. I was the oddball in my class, choosing to have a family that lived in the Orkney Islands. I have no clue how I chose that place. I think I was enamored with Scotland for some reason. I even found an ancient book from the library on Scottish accents, practiced religiously for my class presentation and then chickened out when it came time for my talk. 😀

          • The projects we do at school can have quite an impact on us. They are so important for children. I remember doing a presentation in a large box on the seashore of Malta. I really enjoyed finding things, but I expect they smelled pretty awful by the time I got them home! What a shame you chickened out of the Scottish accent – though difficult to learn from a book I would think.

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