We haven’t really done any shopping on this trip yet, and we do want to take some nice souvenirs home. So the first part of our extra day in the Inverness area today was spend walking around Inverness town and doing a little shopping.
We also visited a kilt maker; Fraser’s. It’s very nice to see how kilts are made, I had no idea they were made by hand. And everything has to be perfect; if it’s not it has to be redone. And so many different tartans too! What also surprised me is that the people working the shops know which tartan is from what clan, even ones that are very similar. Impressive!
After a morning of shopping, it was time for something more serious. We started by visiting Clava Cairns, a collection of stone structures used as burial sites way back in the day. The stone circles are build to match the light from the stolsis adding more meaning to the buriels and rituals that ever took place there.
Our next stop was Culloden battlefield, which is near Inverness. It is now a site you can visit and see what happened there, learn about its tragic history. It wasn’t always as peaceful here as it is now. Back in 1746, on April 16 to be exact, a very defining and bloody battle took place between The Crown (‘the English’) and the Jacobites (‘the Scottish clans’). The Jacobites wanted to have another Stuart King on the throne but the English wouldn’t have it. Bonnie Prince Charlie let the Jacobites into this devastating battle, which would end in great defeat for the Jacobites that day, and to the banning of tartans and kilts (until the English Queen decided she loved tartans and allowed it again).
You can also visit the graves of all the fallen Jacobites buried in mass graves arranged by clan. It’s a very surreal feeling to stand on the grounds once drenched with blood of those who fought for their cause.
Because it is such a big part of the Highlands history it really is a must visit of you’re ever there.
To end our exploring around Inverness in a lighter manor we drove up to Dingwall. An elderly couple we met at Fort George told us it was a stunning place to visit. We drove all the way up there to find absolutely nothing. It seems to be a very dull town with hardly a city centre and the stunning views were missing too, Wendy told us she agrees do it is not just us 😉
After getting back from Dingwall we went for dinner in Inverness centre and prepared for an early night in. We’re both a bit tired from the long days, early rises and late nights so catching up on some sleep is welcome. We’ve watched ‘Brave’ to stay in the Highlands atmosphere and drank hot chocolate (and yes we ate the cookies Wendy gave us too :P)
Another long and exciting day awaits us, we’re going to see if Nessie is home; Loch Ness here we come!