Thanksgiving has come and gone and the lingering homesickness and realization that we still have a while before seeing our families caused Carmen and I to seek an adventure to Scotland for the weekend.
A 15 hour journey, 3 trains and a bus later we arrived Saturday afternoon in Inverness, Scotland. The Scottish Highlands are quite the trek from the English Midlands, so why did we feel the need to go that far north when Glasgow and Edinburgh are much closer? There’s only one word to best describe our thought process: Nessie. That’s right we did all of this to spend a few hours at Loch Ness.
Unfortunately, as it is nowhere near peak tourist season there was only one cruise on the Loch that bused us from the city center to the docks. Luckily, with our handy Britrail passes meant that we weren’t paying for trains, and taking night trains meant we weren’t paying for lodging so we splurged for a tour that includes a ferry ride on the loch and a tour of Urquhart Castle.
When we arrived around one in the afternoon Saturday we headed straight for the bus station, ensuring that we knew where we had to be an hour later. For that hour in between being dropped off and the beginning of the Jacobite tour we wandered around the city centre and found lunch.
Finally, it was time for the tour. Like I said, it’s not tourist season, and we weren’t expecting our tour to be packed, but surprisingly the only other person on the tour with us was an exchange student from Germany who was studying in Scotland for the term and also decided to spend the weekend in Inverness.
We headed out on our 30 minute bus towards Loch Ness. The tour included a “guided bus tour” where the driver pointed out buildings and other landmarks as we drove by them.
This was followed by a 30 minute cruise on the Loch. On the boat, another tour guide told us the history of the Loch as we sailed toward Urquhart Castle.
The last part of the tour was an hour to wander the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Once a castle to many great Scottish families, the castle was blown up in 1692 after having been under attack repeatedly. Now all that remains are the ruins of the castle.
Once we were back in Inverness City Centre we grabbed dinner, and then went to the train station to wait for our bus to Glasgow.
From Glasgow, we were planning on catching a morning train that would get us back to Nottingham. Like we had Friday night, we planned to spend the night in the waiting rooms at the train station, likely another 6 hour stay.
Little did we know, that some train stations close overnight, and on Sundays they don’t open until 6 am.
After catching a bus from Glasgow to Edinburgh (which took an hour) and finding our way to that train station, we ultimately ended up going to the airport. Piece of advice, instead of deciding to spend hours waiting around in train stations from midnight to 7am just pay for a hostel.
We finally made it back to campus, about 40 hours after we had left Friday night, exhausted and hungry, but with another place crossed off our bucket list.