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Short Breaks from Inverness

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Ever needed to just get away, but you can't go for too long? Please tell us about your short breaks away (e.g. day trips, road trips or weekend breaks), whether it be for ultimate relaxation, or to be active and practice hobbies you may have (fishing,

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      07.05.2005 10:43
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      I have stayed in Inverness on several occasions and think it is a great city. However this review is about short trips from Inverness and there are certainly plenty of wonderful places within easy reach of the city. Here are my recommendations-

      Top of my list is a trip to chanonry point on the black isle to watch for bottle nosed dolphins. Situated to the north east of the city, this is one of the best places in Europe to watch for these beautiful creatures. There is parking for several cars right on the sea front. To get the best view walk a short distance along the pebble beach to where a small spit of sand protrudes into a narrow deep channel. This is where 2 tides converge making it a prime dolphin feeding ground. Last winter I stood, freezing for several hours to be finally rewarded by the sight of 5 dolphins chasing salmon and leaping into the air. One came so close to where I, and 3 other hardy souls were standing that we got splashed! I swear it did it on purpose.
      There are also trips from various (well advertised) locations to watch for dolphins by boat. However I prefer to watch for free from the shore in the knowledge that I am not disturbing these creatures in any way. If you get tired of watching for dolphins then you could always walk along the beach!

      If you are interested in dolphins and want to know more about them, then take a trip to the dolphin information centre across the Kessock bridge from Inverness. This is situated in a small hut and run by Aberdeen University. I was fascinated by the wealth of information given to me by the man on duty. Here you can look for dolphins, often seen from the bridge, listen to their calls and find out where the latest sightings have been from. Unfortunately the hut is only open from April until October.

      Another worthwhile day trip is a visit to the place where the battle of Culloden took place. Situated 6 miles east of Inverness this is one of the most atmospheric places I have ever visited. Here in 1746 the bloody battle of Culloden was fought between bonnie prince Charlie and the Duke of Cumberland. 1,200 highlanders lost their lives here. There is an excellent visitor centre where you can view an audio-visual show that tells the story of what happened. The battlefield has been restored to look, as it would have done, with stones to show where the different clans fought and died. We were there in February and it was freezing cold, as it was when the battle was fought. There is an excellent bookshop and gift store in the visitor centre where I escaped to when I got too cold!

      Cawdor castle 12 miles to the east of Inverness is another very worthwhile trip. The castle dates from the 14th century. The castle is situated in very attractive woodland and gardens. The castle itself is great for children and adults alike. My 6 year old loved the dungeon with its secret trap door where unfortunate prisoners would be thrown.

      Thirty miles to the east of Inverness, but definitely worth the effort of the journey is the Boat of Garten. This is one of the best places to see osprey. There is an osprey-watching hut in the forest with a web cam (summer only) looking into an osprey nest. There are numerous scenic walks around this area too. We like to combine a trip here with a visit to the Cairngorms national park.
      The Cairngorms has the largest area of artic mountain landscape in the British Isles. In winter the ski slopes are open (snow permitting). We have skied here on a few occasions but have often had our lessons cancelled due to high winds. In the summer there are gorgeous mountain walks in the area. From Inverness it is possible to visit the Cairngorms without a car. There is a good rail link from the city centre to Aviemore. From Aviemore there is a regular bus that will take you to the ski slopes a few miles away.

      If you crave a day at the seaside then Nairn, 16 miles east of Inverness may be the place for you. Nairn has the reputation of being the sunniest place in Scotland.Nairn is a traditional Victorian seaside town complete with a sandy beach, fish and chips and ice cream. I have never ventured into the sea here though as it has always been far too cold! There is a well maintained park with swings for the children and nicely laid out gardens for their parents to sit and relax.

      No visit to Inverness would be complete without a trip to loch Ness. The loch itself is very beautiful with its backdrop of mountains. However I really don’t rate the many nessie tourist attractions as I think they are tacky, especially when compared with the surrounding scenery. One place you should visit is the ruined Urquhart castle along the shore of the loch. Beautifully situated for great views of the loch and open all year. Urquhart castle dates from the 14th century and looks particularly beautiful at night when it is floodlit.

      There are numerous other day trips from Inverness such as a trip to Ullapool to the west of Inverness or even a day trip to the beautiful Isle of Skye.

      Inverness is a wonderful place to stay with lots on offer to suit all tastes. I hope the trips I have outlined will be helpful if you are looking for other places to visit from Inverness.










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        05.08.2001 23:20
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        My family and I have just returned from a short stay in the beautiful city of Inverness. It is a wonderful stopping off point from which to explore all the highlands have to offer. The city itself has all you would expect from a tourist led industy, with shops and resteraunts, hotels and B & B's for everyones taste and wallet. I found it relaxing and welcoming. From the city there are many organised day trips by coach or boat, and also plenty of places to visit on your own. I would recomend the Loch Ness Museum; and a trip out on the Loch by boat is a must. For anyone who can actually get a good picture of Nessy, there is, I was assured, a substantial reward on offer! Another memerable day is a boat trip on the Moray Forth to see the most northenly group of dolphins in the British Isles. They were all in hiding when we went, but the trip was quite lovely anyway. Inverness is surrounded by the most amazing landscape that makes up the highlands. There are so many places to visit and things to do that you cannot hope to get bored. However, if your idea of a good holiday is to relax, then you could not pick a lovelier spot to do it in. Inverness is a very multi cultural city that I found inviting and extreamely friendly. On the whole, the city and it's inhabitants and businesses, welcome tourism. Although tourism is not the major source of income, visitors are well catered for and made to feel welcome. A great place to visit in itself, and to use as a base for exploring the wonders of the Scottish highlands.

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