By Gerald Bailey
Today is a day off for Kevin, our driver, and therefore a free day for us all here in Inverness (the “capital” of the Highlands).
Everyone’s delighted with the Kingsmill Hotel. The rooms are spacious, the meals excellent and there is an elevator! We’ve also had the excitement of a wedding reception being held in the hotel, replete with kilts, sporrans and a piper. The bride’s surname was the same as one of our couple’s so a lively conversation ensued. Kevin also donned a kilt and sporran for dinner.
The return trip from Orkney by catamaran was shorter in time and distance but once more provided us with significant swells – enough to discourage much eating among the party (though a local woman sitting with us declared that it was the calmest crossing she could remember).
We visited Cawdor Castle the following morning. The Thane of Cawdor features in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. The castle was opulence personified. We learned that Cawdor is a corruption of Calder (or vice versa) – we had no idea that Alastair was so well connected!
Yesterday’s other visit was to the massive military complex known as Fort George. In the chapel there, I was interested to see a plaque commemorating Bernard Fergusson, one of our Governors-General. There was also a large museum recording the exploits of Highlanders who had fought in the World Wars.
We’re getting lots of information on Scottish history and will no doubt learn more when we board the “Lord of the Glens” for our 7-night journey through the Western Isles and back here to Inverness.