We woke up the next morning with the intent of getting on the road by 930AM. We have a long drive today from Portree to Edinburgh, by way of Inverness, and we wanted to make good time as the total drive time was about 6 hours. I made one last sweep of the cottage, and failed to realize that we left our power converter plugged into the wall, and off we went right on time at 1030AM…at this point I’ll take +/- 1 hour accuracy.
After yesterday’s iPad shakedown we had that game to a science so the kids were good to go. The drive off Skye was mostly uneventful until we came to the Skye bridge, a fairly large suspension bridge in the style of the Tampa’s Sunshine Skyway connecting the island to the UK mainland. We said good bye to the Cullen Hills and began snaking through the terrain similar to the crazy mountainous stuff we came in through.
The bridge was almost immediately followed by the Eilean Donan Castle, one of the more famous and intact castles in Scotland, this little fella is situation on an island about 2-300 yards out in the water where Loch Long, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh meet. Due to its popularity, the place was mobbed with tour buses. We got out, took a few pictures with the car running (we were at that part were Dory realizes remembers her parents) and then pressed on.
A bit further down the road we pulled over at the Cluanie Inn so daddy could stretch his legs and get a capuccino. Thats it really…it was a super selfish stop. Nothing else to say about this stop. There were some bikers, I guess. Man espresso is great!
We kept along the A87 and eventually veered north onto the A887 on a collision course for…yes…Loch Ness which is a very long sliver of water which becomes the River Ness which ends in Inbhir Nis, or Inverness, before spilling out into the North Sea. This was a bit unexpected as we weren’t really planning on getting down with the Ness, but we ended driving nearly the entire length of the Loch before finally arriving in Inverness (we got behind several tour buses on the windy road which really slowed us down).
We parked and geared up. The weather so far has been amazing, but it was misting a bit so we got our rain jackets out for the first time, and walked up towards Inverness castle, which has stood here, in some form, since 1000-something and strolled down the streets immediately below it. We ended up having a really great pizza and beer lunch at a place called the Black Isle Bar that we ducked into to avoid some heavier rain. They serve their own beers (and loads of others) that are made just up the road so this was perfect. They also offered “bespoke” bunk beds for travelers. I let that pass, I mean come on with the word bespoke, and enjoyed my food.
We dropped a few more coins in the meter because the weather had cleared, walked down a pedestrian path along River Ness, and crossed a bouncy bridge to a playground for the kids to scramble around in for a while so they could stretch their legs and get their wigglies out. These kids should have their own verticalized spin-off blog called “The Playgrounds of Europe.” I’m actually kind of serious about this. I think they’d have all the followers and organic engagements and what nots.
On the way out of town I bought some Whisky from Skye’s Talisker distillery (I had been meaning to do this all week), and we started in on the final 2.5 hours of our journey to Edinburgh. The weather was rainy off and on as we came down out of The Highlands and went through the Cairgorms National Park. Mostly it was interstate driving, a welcome change actually. Gradually, the mountains gave way to more rolling hills and the agriculture gave way to suburbs, which in turn became the hustle and bustle of Scotland’s economic center Edinburgh. We navigated the round a bouts and one way streets with no issues and arrived safe and sound.
[redacted! see us in person to learn what happened next!]
So in the end, I’m glad we made the decision, but that was really stressful there for a bit. Exhausted from a long day on the road (how does that happen…getting tired from just sitting there are driving), and my impromptu solo trek across Edinburgh on foot, we turned in to get ready to tackle tomorrow.