So today (friday) was a huge day of travel, we were picking up a car and driving all the way to Inverness. After a nice breakfast we packed up all our gear again and walked for the last time (for now) up Grassmarket to the main train station. From here we caught the airlink bus to the airport. This bus is amazing, it has tables, super comfy chairs and even wifi. The car rental centre at Edinburgh airport is pretty easy to find and is very convenient in that every company has a booth in the same centre. We payed for and picked up our snazzy little black Vauxhall Corsa.
The GPS came in very handy getting out of the airport and after several minutes we were onto the highway, or the dual carriageway as it was called. After about 10 minutes we decided that cars are the best way to see a country. You can stop at anything interesting you see and you really get a feel for the countryside. Most of the drive was at a cruisy 70 miles an hour, except for just after I took over the driving at some major roadworks. Scottish drivers are unique I have found in that the speed limit truly is just a guideline. Most either go 20 miles above or below the limit, anyone going dead on or around is the odd one out. After about a three hours of driving we arrived at Inverness and found our way to the camping ground. Yet again the weather was lovely, something the locals commented on regularly. The camp-site was nice, called the Bught Caravan Park (pronounced Butt). The first thing on my list of things to do was to find a pub that was open at 10:30 so that I could watch the football in the morning. We did in this tiny dingy little alleyway called the keg, was not the nicest place but it opened at 9:30 so it would do me. We drove around for a while checking out Inverness till we found a supermarket and bought some dinner and some cider. On the way back to Bught we noticed a cruise company called Jacobites that did tours of Loch Ness, we grabbed a pamphlet then went back to our tent and after dinner and drinks called it a night.
Saturday started with me frantically trying to get Neat up and ready so I wouldn’t miss the Rugby. (Hey Clive I was already up waiting for you FATSO). We drove into Inverness and I went into the Keg to watch, Anita had one look at the Keg, and refused to come in, not a bad call really. There were about 15 very drunk men in there already at 10:00 in the morning on a saturday all swearing and yelling. One man was so drunk he was swaying and having a loud argument with a bar stool, quite amusing until he started singing a song with it. Luckily they put the rugby on for me and I could find a quietish corner to watch it. The fantastic match made me forget the terrible pub I was at. At one stage I was standing and cheering much to the amusement of the locals, one of which asked why they weren’t wearing armour like all american football players. I patiently explained it was rugby union and that an Australian team were playing a Kiwi team. He then asked why there was no net on the posts and I gave up. Drunk scotsmen are incredibly stupid I have discovered. At half time I left the Keg and walked up to a much nicer sports bar called Denno’s. Anita joined me here and even she was cheering by the end as the Red’s earned themselves a spot in the final. I left feeling incredibly happy, due both to the result and the several cheap pints I had consumed watching. We had a bite to eat then left the car at the camp and walked to the pier the boat left from.
The boat was huge, upstairs was already full so we walked through the inside bit and found seats right on the front. Luckily I noticed there was a bar on board so I sampled a local stout called Nessie. The cruise itself was spectacular, the water on the river and the Loch is very black due to a high peat content. We cruised up the river past some pretty spectacular scenery. We got to Dochgarroch Loch which was built in the 19th century, this was pretty cool as the gates closed behind us and the water level rose they explained the history. It was built to allow easier passage to Inverness but by the time it was finished steam power had made it obsolete. The cruise onto the famous Loch Ness itself was really special. The boat had a guide talking about all the important spots and landmarks. We went across the loch right up to Urquhart Castle which is huge old castle ruin. It was burnt to the ground by Williamite troops to ensure the Jacobites could not capture it. We cruised around the castle and back along the loch, the guides told us about all the amazing wildlife around the loch but we didn’t see anything apart from a couple of ducks. The cruise was a great way to see Loch Ness and the talking commentary provided lots of interesting points. After the cruise we thought it about time to go out, we hadn’t had a night out since we have been in the UK, just a drink here and there at pubs during the day on our travels. We got dressed and caught a taxi into town. We had a cocktail each over some really nice Tapas at a place called Bar One. After we went looking for a nice pub, the first couple we found were very busy but horrible. We realised that there was a huge fight on that night, Haye the british Heavyweight champion was fighting for the world title so there were people everywhere. We wandered around until we found a place called Johnny Foxes. This place was fantastic, cheap drinks, a nightclub area out the back and a good scottish pub rock band in the front. We stayed here for a while dancing and drinking until we decided it was time for a cheese pizza. After finally finding a nice meal we got another cab home.