kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Scotland, Part 2b, Glencoe to Inverness

Just pretend it wasn't two months ago that I posted Scotland, Part 1. I'm a procrastinator, I know. This blog post documents the second half of my family's trip to Scotland in June earlier this year.

We left Glencoe and continued north. There aren't many highways in Scotland, but we would have taken the back roads anyway. The scenery was spectacularly beautiful.

We drove through small towns like Fort William. And unexpectedly found the Glenfinnan Viaduct, also known as the unforgettable railroad bridge that Harry Potter crossed on his way to Hogwarts.

A slight detour took us to Malliag, a sleepy little seaside village on the Atlantic ocean.

A common sight in the Scottish Highlands.

Boats in Mallaig harbor.

The Jacobite steam train in Mallaig.

Next day, destination Inverness. But we naturally made stops along the way. The highlight of the day was a hike through Glen Nevis Gorge. We followed this trail . . .

to the spectacular Steall Falls.

And then our final day of sightseeing in Scotland. We all agreed, Inverness was our favorite part of the vacation. It has a fabulous old world vibe.

Inverness Cathedral

Inverness is situated on either side of tranquil River Ness. Several footbridges cross the water.

Inverness Castle, which is still used today as a municipal building.

The seagulls are rather tame. Apparently, tourists provide a food source.

The unicorn is the official animal of Scotland.

We planned our entire day around a trip to Chanonry Point on Moray Firth. Supposedly, this location is one of the best places to see dolphins in the world (according to tripadvisor.com). As the tide comes in, so do the dolphins, and usually, quite a lot of them. They come in very close to shore and are known to leap and play and put on quite a show. Better than Sea World, right! That was the plan, anyway. We arrived early, so as not to miss the spectacle. A throng of people were already there, waiting, cameras ready. We sat on that beach -- and it was very windy and surprisingly cold -- for two hours, waiting to spot even one dolphin. Eventually, two or three dolphins moseyed up. No show. Most days they come, and some days they don't, it seems. It was the only disappointment of the week.

I suppose because it rains a lot and it is not scorching hot in the summer, the flower gardens in Scotland are stunning.

Urquhart Castle, on the lovely Loch Ness, was the best preserved and most interesting castle we visited in Scotland.

The following day, we took four trains all the way back to Manchester, dropping Eric off in Glasgow. Playing cards helped pass the time. Until next time, Scotland!