Monday, 8 December 2014

Liveliness: Visiting Inverness

I'm rather lagging with these "Visting" posts but I'll delve into the epic saga of recent days when it is relevant to general interest. In short form, it basically means I'll soon have a distinctive London theme to my topics.

For now, I do somewhat miss the northern skies of Inverness. It feels very much like it is on the edge of the world, mostly due to the fact it's quite flat and very spread out, despite most of the centre trundling alongside the River Ness.
Inverness Castle

If I had to describe Inverness in one word, I would say Inverness is a city of petrichor. It is both old and new, small and lanky. Dark and bright in its northern colours.

Three Reasons Why You Should Visit Inverness

1. The River Ness.

I stayed at a hostel which was more like a bed and breakfast it was so large, including new and expensive bathrooms and a kitchen. It was quite cheap per night and though it was half-term holiday, it was near empty. It also sat a half hours walk outside of the city. However, this half hours walk was my favourite part to every day, whether in the evening or the morning. The River Ness is one of the few which is actually quite fast running and thus it lives up to the oft used adverb in novels, "lively" when a river is being described. Furthermore it has some neat bridges which are lit up in the evenings making them look like rainbows arcing from one end to the other.

The Ness Islands, which also part of the River Ness walk are full of a Victorian feel, thanks to decorative footbridges which link the islands to mainlands and the gardens of planted greenery. Had it been a warm summer day I probably could have curled up on a tartan blanket and read a book under the shade of a sycamore.

2.  The Little Shops.

Okay, okay, nearly every town has a section, token or some form of little, local shops which are either vintage, new age or just plain stocked with hip creativity. Inverness is loaded with this, particularly the number of shops which also happen to be part of old buildings which make for a pleasant few hours wandering about. The Victorian Market for example is a lovely little alley mall originally built in the 1890s and apart from modern clothes and nick-nacks, you could almost still be wandering the path from back then. The nice part is that you can also see most of the main bits in a day. As a photographer, I can never get tired of old buildings, shops which will locate your ancestry, or the pubs. Love the pubs. There is a brilliant one called the Hootenanny which does Celtic music and dancing every evening. It's waiters are also quite happy to stop and chat about local legends and tales which I, being rather mythology obsessed was as happy to indulge in as the haggis and the carrot cake.

(Haggis by the way is rather reminscent of mousaka, a Greek dish of ground meats, potatoes, cheeses and other similar layers).

3. It's a town hub for smaller villages and day-trips.

On a simple note, it happens to be a hub from which you can easily trek out to Fort William, Castle Urquart, the Isle of Skye or to the Cairngorms National Park in just a few hours. All of those are brimming with epic mountain and moor vistas, punctuated with crumbling towers and blanketed with blue waters.

All in all, Inverness is one of those places you could see in a day, but the location is prime if you intend to do day-trips to all the nearby parks and heritage sites.


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