After an overnight stay on the Black Isle with our convivial hosts B and M, Alex and John were up early to bag another isolated Corbett. As the weather was even worse than the day before with rain, frequent snow showers, dark clouds and high winds over the mountains I elected to do a sunny coastal walk with the elusive M around Cromarty instead.(see first Northern Gothic post.)
Around lunch time my hosts kindly dropped me off in Inverness as they were going there anyway and I fancied a comprehensive city tour of the Highland Capital. I love city explorations (especially when it's grim on the mountain tops.) Above is Whin Park, a lovely area packed with interesting features like an extensive children's adventure playground, various colourful public shelters, ponds and a miniature railway running in summer. This area is situated near the city centre and lies very close to the River Ness so it's prone to flooding. The Caledonian Canal sits on one side of the park with the river on the other so winter flooding seems to be a regular occurrence now. Hope the miniature railway survives.
http://www.miniaturerailwayworld.co.uk/NessIslands.html Pretty unique little railway this far north and a firm favourite with families.
A well made walking trail runs though them with good views and they are just as pretty as I remembered them.
http://www.explore-inverness.com/what-to-do/outdoors/ness-island-walk/ Good Inverness Map and Ness islands walk here.
Bellfield Park was my next port of call just as the first drops started then I crossed another bridge to visit St Andrew's Cathedral, The most northerly cathedral in the British Isles.
I was mainly up here for the views over the city as Inverness does not have many urban hills within the built up districts.
I had a wander round the town shopping district then headed for the Eastgate centre. If I,d remembered Inverness Botanic Gardens were open on a Sunday I'd have visited them as well for the glasshouses and fish filled indoor delights but I completely forgot about this attraction. Plenty of things to see and do in Inverness though. Unfortunately, the Museum was shut on a Sunday and also the Victorian Arcade. See photo below.
" One of the worst days I've had on a hill yet." muttered a shattered Alex. " Frozen and soaked beyond belief. Find me a warm hole to crawl into then let me die." He croaked. "Just shovel in the dirt."
"It was hard." a younger John admitted.
"That's the spirit. Only a few more to go now." I gave him a friendly pat on the back.
By now it was getting dark so we had much needed chip suppers for sustenance then braced our bodies for the long walk in to the fabled secret of all secrets... "the" original secret bothy X... We were not finished yet. Head torches and large packs would have to be shouldered and miles of tough ground covered before we could sleep tonight in this fabled luxury abode............. " just let me die in the car." Alex moaned. "The idea of a walk in the dark up an unfamiliar glen in winter has gone right off me now I,m here.......... I'd rather die in this motor than have a heart attack on the side of a hill somewhere during a blizzard......
......... To be continued.