Sunday 1 March 2020

Inverness - a city break

Last year, when First Born journeyed to Orkney to visit her 'rents, travel delays meant that she had to spend a night at a hotel in Inverness, courtesy of Loganair. After a frustrating day of hanging around in airports, she was desperate for some fresh air and discovered a lovely walk along the banks of the River Ness. This lifted her spirits and with the subsequent telling of the tale, it led to a plan for the family to meet up in Inverness for a short holiday.

Fast forward to now, and the team began to assemble. Second Born left behind a snowy Bedfordshire and flew northwards; Our Lass and I hopped on a ferry from a wet and windy Orkney; and we settled into a well-equipped AirBnB residence whilst we waited for First Born to arrive.

But a city break does not have to mean a wildlife-less zone.

Our accommodation was a short distance from several likely spots, so first up was Merkinch Local Nature Reserve at South Kessock. Tucked between the mouth of the River Ness and the north end of the Caledonian Canal, and pressed up against a sea wall of the Beauly Firth, is a reserve of many habitats: rocky shore, mudflat, brackish lagoon, reed bed, wet woodland, freshwater lochan.

It was the first day of our holiday, so we weren't up very early. In fact, this is as close as I came to witnessing the rising sun, a big red dot painted on the turntable bridge taking the Inverness-Wick railway across the Caledonian Canal.

We ambled along the canal bank in the company of a brisk westerly breeze, the northern horizon framed by the snowy peak of Ben Wyvis. 

Here's Second Born and the Kessock Bridge. Whilst I was taking this photo, Our Lass was busy spotting an Otter, which was hunting out in the firth.

A panoramic of the Beauly Firth, from Sea Lock Cottage to the Kessock Bridge
A Little Grebe

The signal box at Clachnaharry

Remains of the Loch Ness Monster or a boat skeleton?

In the afternoon, we swapped the canal for the river, and walked from the Botanical Gardens into the city centre, via bridges and the Ness islands.

After lunch in the Castle Tavern, we visited the Castle viewpoint for a 360 degree panorama of the area.

River Ness, Beauly Firth, Ben Wyvis

Chanonry Point and Fort George

Inverness Castle

A female Goosander 
And now we waited for the arrival of First Born...


Mark said...

Loved the Kingfisher, what a beautiful bird. You really have got a trained eye!

Imperfect and Tense said...

To be fair, Our Lass has a sharp eye. Before leaving Orkney, I had been told by Eagle-eyed M that I had better not see a Kingfisher, as she has never seen one. Predictably, when we arrived in Inverness, I checked for any interesting local bird sightings. No prizes for guessing what it was!

Alyson said...

I did wonder if you would be wearing your blogger hat on this trip and it seems you are!

Great pictures and I'm so jealous that you spotted a kingfisher. In 20 years of walking similar routes I've never seen one. Will have to try harder.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Oh yes, I packed my blogger hat 😊

Martin said...

Sounds like there are bits of Inverness I'm yet to discover. I know the Ness Islands and riverbank, but not the mouth or reserve.

Imperfect and Tense said...

We had some help with the local knowledge of Alyson from the blog