Blurry-eyed and still half awake, we arrived in Inverness by bus at 8am. Inverness, “Inbhir Nis”, meaning mouth of the River Ness in Gaelic, is a quaint picturesque city surrounded by the Scottish highlands. Having read Shakespeare’s Macbeth in my first year university English class, I had always wanted to visit Inverness. When I committed to studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh for a semester, it was the first weekend destination on my list.
After an early bus ride and in desperate need of a coffee or two (oops), we set off in the direction of the castle. Situated on Church Street, Coffee Affair, is a bright airy coffee shop in the heart of Inverness. After ordering a latte and croissant to go, we wandered into Leakey’s Second-hand bookshop. Located in an old deconsecrated church, Leakey’s is a chaotic book lover’s paradise with shelves brimming with thousands of books, maps, and prints. Although organization here does leave something to be desired, without a clock in sight it is easy to get lost midst the aisles and haphazardly peruse old paperbacks for hours. After our short stop, we walked to Ness Islands, a fleeting walk from the city centre. The Ness Islands are situated in the middle of the River Ness and are accessible only by somewhat unstable suspension bridges (beware acrophobes!).
Lunch + Boat Cruise on Loch Ness
There are several excellent restaurants for lunch in downtown Inverness, as we soon found out. A local recommended us to try Black Isle Bar, which had a large menu and amazing traditional Scottish cuisine like haggis and venison. While I wasn’t too hungry, I had a Dirty Mac baked potato, which consisted of a baked potato topped with Mac n’cheese and haggis, and it was surprisingly good! After lunch, we headed back to the bus for a boat cruise on Loch Ness. Loch Ness, a deep freshwater loch flanked by the Highlands, is the setting for one of Scotland’s oldest and most enduring myths “The Loch Ness Monster”. In British Columbia, we have our version of the loch ness monster, who is affectionately called the Ogopogo and resides deep in the waters of Okanagan Lake. For this part of the trip, I would recommend packing a heavy jacket with a hood as it can get quite windy and rainy onboard.
Bus Back to Edinburgh
At 5pm we hopped back on the bus for the long drive back to Edinburgh.