Cruise – Day 5 (Invergordon/Inverness, Scotland)

Our second stop in Scotland was at Invergordon.  This was a tiny little town but was near a slightly larger city of Inverness.  From my research prior to the trip, most of the sights in this area required some form of transportation.  We hadn’t pre-arranged any transportation so last-minute a day or two before we arrived we ended up booking a shore excursion through the cruise.  One thing that D wanted to see were castles since the Highlands are supposed to be known for them.  Also just seeing the scenery and lushness of the area was also something to see.  We elected to take a pretty easy trip to Loch Ness (where the famous “Nessie” or Loch Ness monster is supposed to live) along with Urquhart Castle, which lies on the shores of the lake.

Shore excursions often have fairly tight time regulations so we prepared and went to bed early and got up early so we could get to our bus in time.  This earlier morning wakeup allowed me to get some nice shots as we pulled into Invergordon – Port of Cromarty Firth (luckily the ship could dock so we didn’t have to take any tenders).

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I guess the ocean around these parts have a lot of oil so there are plenty of oil rigs just sitting out in the sea.  Invergordon is a port where they drag the oil rigs back towards shore for maintenance and other construction so there were some that were getting retrofitted.

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Our tour was mostly a bus tour where we saw a lot of things while in the bus.  I tried to get shots of various areas as we made our way to Loch Ness.

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We were technically in the Scottish Highlands.  I learned the difference between the two is basically that the Highlands have more mountains and terrain and the lowlands were more flat.  It’s that simple!  After about an hour drive, we arrived at Urquhart Castle, which sits in the top 1/3 of Loch Ness on the western shore.

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Apparently this is a popular stop as there were already a few tour buses lined up and more on the way.  We had to stand in line for about 10-15 minutes before actually being able to enter the visitor center and then walk down to the castle itself.  It was a fairly windy day but at least we had blue skies.

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Urquhart Castle
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Loch Ness
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Loch Ness
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Loch Ness

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Urquhart Castle
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Urquhart Castle
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Urquhart Castle
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Urquhart Castle

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Urquhart Castle

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Overall I thought it was a really pretty spot and enjoyed the unobstructed views of the actual loch.  Unfortunately we didn’t spot Nessie (the loch ness monster).  I picked up a local carbonated drink and it had a very citrusy flavor to it.

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There was a lot of sheep just everywhere.

We then drove up the western shore of the loch and did a short little bus tour through the town of Inverness.

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Within the town, they had a fully formed castle which I snapped a picture of from the bus.

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Inverness Castle

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Church

We then drove back to our boat and the town of Ivergordon.  My parents had been there previously so returned the ship and D and I went and walked around town and got some food then stopped in a local pub for a cold one.

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Invergordon
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The large black round structures stored oil – used during WWII as the US had ships stationed here
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Fish & Chips
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Tennent’s Lager (left) & Belhaven Scottish Lager

While we were leaving the bay and heading out to see, there was a gorgeous rainbow that I got a nice shot from our verandah.

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We had another sea day from here to get all the way up to Iceland.

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-StewsCat

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