The last days of my road trip on the North Coast 500
The trip took my husband and me from Edinburgh to the west of Scotland and then to the absolute north, now we are in Inverness and Edinburgh, it´s almost the end of the tour – A road trip on the fantastic North 500 in Northern Scotland. (Zum deutschen Blog.)
In the late afternoon we arrive at the B & B Water’s Edge in Fortrose that we know from our previous stay in Fortrose, a couple of years ago. Fortrose is a small place at the Moray Firth, a deep incision of the North Sea into the country, almost like a fjord.
Gill and Bill are happy that we chose their B & B again and give us a really warm welcome. The rooms are still as nice and comfortable as then, equipped with everything the tired traveler needs. Including a Nespresso machine and delicious biscuits, umbrellas, when it rains again and binoculars to enjoy the fantastic view of the Firth.
However we are hungry and look forward to the tasty pub meals in the “The Anderson“. Here not only the food is incredibly good, but also the selection of beer and whiskey varieties is huge. Find your own preferred drink!
After an opulent and freshly cooked breakfast by our hosts and a stimulating conversation with other guests, we want to explore Inverness. After a look at the tide calendar, we see that the flood is slowly coming in and the probability of spotting dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, is best now.
So we drive to Chanonry Point, a country peak that extends far into the Moray Firth. Opposite lays Fort George and here the dolphins hunt fish that comes into the firth with the flood.
As soon as we arrive at the lighthouse, we already see the first ones not far from the beach. I’m glad I got my binoculars. Over an hour we stand in the cold wind and watch the chasing dolphins!
Then we drive off to
We park quite centrally in the vicinity of the train station. From here, we walk a bit through the city, past Inverness Castle that rises above the river Ness. Unfortunately, it is not accessible, as it is a court. Only the tower is open for visitors.
We walk a little along the fast flowing river Ness, across one and the other bridge and through the pedestrian zone. Since it is quite warm now, we spontaneously decide to visit Fort George.
Fort George are barracks in operation, but still accessible to the public . With an audiosystem, we walk over the deep ditch through the gate and immediately we feel moved back many years. Many of the rooms are still in the original state and show impressively how soldiers have lived in the 18th century. From the high defensive wall we can even watch dolphins again.
On the way to Edinburgh, we make a side trip to Balmoral Castle, which I imagined was much bigger and more impressing. Unfortunately, it pours so that we run totally soaked through the really amazing garden and warm up in the big hall, the only accessible room in the castle.
Finally, we arrive in Edinburgh and we are very happy that we have a navigation system. Here are so many one-way streets and unfortunately also many construction sites, so we have to go some detours. Our B & B, the Sonas Guesthouse, is located in a residential area but has a good bus connection into the city.
It is clean and tidy here, the wlan is working and the breakfast is freshly prepared for each guest. The hosts are very friendly and gladly give information where to get delicious food etc.
We quickly make a reservation for a table at the Salisbury Arms, a pub with a restaurant. After the dinner we are so enthusiastic that we make a reservation for a table for the next evening. Without reservation one hardly gets a table here. People seem to know that they´ll get great service and really good food at reasonable prices here.
It’s my husband’s birthday, so he can determine what we do today. We take the bus to the city center and then walk a short distance to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official home of the Queen in Scotland. Here, the Scottish history is impressively told, the tour of the castle gives insights into the life of the Royals. Bonnie Prince Charles also lived here briefly during the rebellion in 1745.
The residence is located opposite the Scottish Parliament, a modern building, in the background I see people climbing up the surrounding mountains to get a better overview of the city.
With masses of other tourists we walk the Royal Mile uphill. Many souvenir shops line the street on both sides, but there are some that really have interesting things in their stock.
We now want to visit Edinburgh Castle, which is at the other end of the Royal Mile. The queue at the counters is really long, so that we are quickly decide to buy the tickets online with a fixed entry time. Until then, however, there is still a bit of time, so we go downhill again along the construction site for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The tattoo takes place directly in front of the castle every year, huge tribunes are built up. Can even more tourists walk through the streets than now? Hardly imaginable.
At the Grassmarket, we turn onto King’s Stables Road to the Princes Street Gardens, just below the castle that are used by many as a small recreation area. We also rest a bit on a park bench in the sun, because of course we have to climb the castle hill again.
Arriving at Edinburgh Castle
we can go right through the gates, as we got the timed tickets. We save the audio system. Everything is well signposted. From the castle wall we have a fantastic view over the city, in all rooms the signs tell much about the (martial) Scottish history. Even through the gloomy prison we go. It’s good that nobody is locked up here anymore. In the castle´s café we treat ourselves to a scone with tea and enjoy the view to the harbor.
Still Princes Street attracts me with its many shops. So we go downhill again and let ourselves be inspired by the overwhelming supply of goods before we return by bus.
Here ends my road trip through the north of Scotland. Unfortunately … we´ll be back to Edinburgh and Scotland ! Anyone who would like to read about the other sections of our trip on the North 500 can find them here, here and here 🙂