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.
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.
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.
There was a wonderful walk past 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.
Unfortunately not so interesting once the leaves were opened.
There were many wonderful trees,
And ferns. The Ostrich ferns were spectacular, still unfurling en masse.
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.
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.
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.
Some of the gates were not really in the spirit of Scotland’s ‘Right to roam’. . .
But we were glad there was a fence in the way as this lot hurtled towards us!
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.
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.
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.
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
It is a beautiful part of Scotland to visit – we hope to go back before too long.