Tuesday Travels. . . Inverness

I was reliving memories of my childhood visits to Inverness when we came across Inverness station.  My elder sister was in charge of me when we both traveled by train to our uncle’s croft at Boultach in Caithness.  Dad would drop us at Perth where we caught the train to Inverness.  We had to change trains at Inverness and a vivid memory of mine is that we couldn’t find our tickets for the ongoing journey.  A bit of a panic but we did find them thank goodness.

You can see from the announcement boards that there are four pages for the 17.54 journey from Inverness to Wick.  We would get off the train at Helmsdale and then on the bus to Latheronwheel.  Our uncle would be waiting with the tractor at the End of the Smerral Road and my sister and I would sit on the tractor wheel guards for the trip up the road to the croft at Boultach.

You can stay in the station building at Helmsdale as the property was completely refurbished after being out of use for 20 years.

Inverness is a beautiful city and my husband and I spent a couple of nights there before we were to continue on our journey south.  We spent some time exploring the city centre and visited the castle where there were some beautiful views of the river Ness.

We stopped at the Castle Tavern for lunch and the meal we had was absolutely delicious.

Neeps, potato, haggis and Drambuie cream sauce accompanied by oatcakes.  Yum!

Tuesday travels. . . Tomnahurich, Hill of the Fairies, Inverness

Yes it is cemetery gates and you may be asking what this has to do with our travels.  Tomnahurich, Hill of the Fairies, is a place I visited as a child when I was on a caravaning holiday with my father and brother and sisters.  I remember enjoying wandering around the hillside reading the inscriptions on the gravestones and being surprised at how many were memorials for young people.  The cemetery is very old and so the gravestones go back many years to when infant death was common.  The cemetery had a lasting impression on me and that is why I wanted to revisit it.

We were staying in Inverness and I convinced my husband that it would be a good idea to see if we could locate the cemetery and we started off by walking along the banks of the river Ness.

We then visited the Botanical Gardens.

We followed along the banks of the Caledonian Canal and came across a swing bridge just as it was being opened.

after which we caught a glimpse of the cemetery.The view from the top of the cemetery is lovely, you wouldn’t think you were in a city.There is a wonderful website that tells you all about the Fairy Hill and I encourage you to read it.  It will help you understand why I wanted to make the trip back to the cemetery.

 

Tuesday Travels. . .Whaligoe Steps, Caithness

On the map the Whaligoe Steps can be found at  “The Haven”.

When we returned to mainland Scotland after our trip to Shetland we stayed with my cousins at Burrigle, Forse.  We were fortunate to have our cousins show us around the lesser known parts of the countryside and the Whaligoe Steps were something I wanted to see.  I had not visited them when I used to go as a child on holiday to Burrigle so was happy to get the opportunity to visit them and learn a bit about their history.The steep steps down to the harbour are daunting at first sight but it is not too difficult a climb and well worth the effort. You can click on each photo to see more detail.

It is hard to believe that the women used to carry the baskets of herring back up the 300 steps to the top of the cliff.

The history of the Whaligoe Steps is fully described on this site at Undiscovered Scotland.

This is part of undiscovered Scotland that you definitely should see.

Tuesday Travels. . . .Clickimin Broch, Lerwick

There are iron Age brochs in many parts of Scotland but this is one of the more well-known ones.  The broch of Clickimin is situated on the outskirts of Lerwick and it was a short walk from our accommodation at Fort Charlotte.

The broch is accessed by a causeway as it is on an island in the loch.

This is another archaeological feature of Shetland that must be visited when you are there.

Tuesday Travels. . .Jarlshof, Shetland

This particular place blew me away.  Yes it was windy but the actual history that we were viewing was absolutely amazing.  I feel privileged that we were able to see it.

Jarlshof is a historical site of Prehistoric and Norse Settlement on Shetland. In 1890 fierce storms exposed structures which had been hidden under layers of earth.  The settlement is close to the sea and the winds during the fierce storms meant the waves washed over the shore and exposed the layers of settlement.

The photo above lets you see how close to the sea the settlement was.

The visitor’s route through the site starts with the earliest buildings and ends with the laird’s 17th Century house.

The amazing stone work that constitutes a wheel house was true craftsmanship.

The careful placement of stones to create the structures such as the broch.

The remains of the Norse settlement were not as well preserved but you could still see where the settlement had been.

The laird’s house was the structure that was most evident as it was on the present day surface.

This is an archaeological site that you must visit when you visit Shetland.

(You can click on photos to make them larger. Click a second time and they are enlarged further.)

Tuesday Travels. . .Shetland Museum and Archives

I will start with this tongue twister and you will find the reason why as you read on. . . .

The reason for the tongue twister was this display in the Shetland Museum and Archives.

In my family I am known for my love of butter and when I saw this display in the Shetland Museum and Archives I couldn’t resist taking a photo.

I don’t think this would taste any good now!

The Museum is a fascinating place and while we were staying in Shetland we had to visit the museum twice to make sure we took full advantage of all that was displayed.  Most of my photos related to knitting but the museum displays much more that knitted items.  You get a full picture of the history of Shetland and their website is well worth a browse.

This is a Shetland Kep and since returning to Australia I have joined a kep knitting group.  I have yet to knit a Kep but I now have a pattern so I will be able to knit one in the future. The keps were originally made to trade with Norwegian sailors.  The hat has a lining, you can just see the cream knitting protruding from the edge of the brim.

Of course there were wonderful displays of Shetland kntting and the next two photos are a sample of old fashioned fair isle knitting and more modern examples.