After enjoying another night on our new favourite campsite, the time came to move on to Inverness and make a start on the main reason for coming to Scotland in the first place: to drive the famous North Coast 500 route around the northern coastline, but more of that later.

Just up the road from the site was Eilean Donan castle which has appeared in and on numerous publications and websites as another “must see” attraction when visiting the area. For me it was more a “must photograph” experience as many years ago I saw a stunning image made by one of my favourite landscape photographers, Charlie Waite, which I was keen to emulate. Sadly, as has been the case with much of the trip so far, the weather was against us once more, so rather than recreate the vibrant, iconic snap I had in mind, the end result rendered the cloudy scene better in moody black and white.

Eilean Donan Castle under cloudy skies
Eilean Donan Castle under cloudy skies

From here it was onwards and upwards joining the infamous Loch Ness at about a quarter of the way up its western shore. By now the weather had cleared completely and we were treated to fabulous views across the Loch as we continued along its edge.

Despite the chances of “The Loch Ness Monster” actually existing – zoological, geographical, geological and historical evidence have largely and almost categorically dismissed the possibility of the aquatic legend surviving past the last ice-age, local business are still keen to cash in on the name. You can have Nessie-spotting cruises, Nessie themed accommodation, all manner of Nessie-based eateries, and of course a variety of Nessie-styled attire to suit almost all tastes and pockets. Not bad for something that doesn’t actually exist but, then again, Santa Claus seems to do pretty well out of a similar lack of actual being.

Loch Ness
Loch Ness

Cynicism aside, before long Inverness arrived, and after a quick trip to Tesco to stock up on all the stuff we’d either forgotten or eaten since our last shopping trip, we walked over the bridge into the main part of the town (or city, actually) which had an immediate appeal even though it seemed massively crowded after the virtual solitude we’d enjoyed over the previous few days.

Inverness, seen from the bridge
Inverness, seen from the bridge

The main reason for going into town was to replace my sunglasses which were stolen by a goat lost a couple of days earlier. Since I have lost SO many pairs of sunglasses over the years, I now no longer buy expensive ones, so when I found a pair in Mountain Warehouse for £10 the deal was done. Unfortunately, on leaving the store and heading into the searing afternoon sunlight I noticed that the lenses had a distinct brown tint to them which gave everything the appearance of being viewed through a used teabag. Note to self: next time, try them on in sunlight first! Actually though, having used them for a bit they do make everything look very warm and cheerful even when it isn’t.

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