Inverness and Aviemore

Time to leave Aberdeen. This morning I walked to the train station and as it sometimes happens, I had trouble figuring out which platform to wait for the bus. I must not have been quite awake yet, but being used to travel now, it didn’t bother me too much and did not stress me at all. I just had a look around and finally figured out where to go.

The bus from Aberdeen to Inverness, was uneventful like they should be. The scenery consisted of a lot of trees, which was very different than the scenery I admired for the last couple of weeks. I was expecting to see the sea, but unfortunately, the bus took the inside road.

River Ness and walking path next to it
Ness River, Inverness

When I arrived in Inverness, it was overwhelming. The city didn’t look that big, but after the quietness of the northern islands, everything, and everyone was in the way, moving fast, being loud etc. And because I was tired, it made everything worst. I asked the bus station attendant to learn where I could find a left luggage area and was told it was £4 per bag, which I thought was too much. I decided to try my luck next door, at the train station to see if they had lockers. The small lockers there were £3 and the large ones £5 for 24 hours. It was a much better deal than the bus station, plus it needed the paper with the code to actually open the locker instead of just leaving bags unattended in the bus station office.

Inside the Cathedral
Inverness Cathedral

I wasn’t feeling too great, but decided to find the visitor information center and see if I could get advice on what I could do for a couple of hours. I must have looked like someone who would not be interested in shopping, history or anything including noise and people because the girl from the information desk suggested I went for a walk along the Ness river, crossing over the Ness Islands and walking in front of the Cathedral. It was the perfect option for my mood. Seb called while I was walking and we talked for a while. I got very emotional, and expressed feelings I hadn’t truly realized yet; I am worried about not having enough cash to survive knowing that it will be really tight until I get my first paycheck… and probably after as well…

Great view of the city and the river from Inverness Castle
Great view from Inverness Castle

The walk got me thinking and stressing out even more. When I walked by the Cathedral, I wasn’t feeling like visiting, but decided to go in anyway. It was a wise decision, because Iit made me feel instantly better. It forced me to think about something else, and when I walked out, I felt a lot calmer, in control and more positive. I kept walking and decided to have a look at the view from the Castle. It was great and as soon as the wind truly picked up, I felt like I could breathe again. In the last two days in Aberdeen, I had been missing the nature and the wind. The islands seemed to have changed something in me. I’m curious to see where it will bring me.

Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle

I went back to the bus station to buy my ticket to Aviemore, back to the train station to pick up my stuff and waited for 5:30 to arrive to get on the bus. The bus was great, very clean, and I was very surprised to learn it was a bus with service to Glasgow, stopping in Aviemore. There was a bus attendant handing out muffins and drinks. I now understood what the difference was between the different bus types!

When I arrived in Aviemore I had to wait for Zoe, my Couchsurfing host to be done work. I followed her suggestion and waited for her at the Old Bridge pub. It’s always interesting to hear barking when entering a pub or entering a pub, choosing a table, and almost stepping into a bowl of water… I liked the idea and I think it should be like this everywhere. But it is definitely not something you come across often (or at all) in Canada.

Zoe and I spent a nice evening, chatting and trading travel stories. It’s was a great couchsurfing experience.

Ruins of the Loch an Eilein Castle
Loch an Eilein Castle

The next morning, when Zoe was ready to leave for work, she dropped me off at the beginning of the trail to Loch an Eilein. The first part of the trail was in a forest that looked very much like Canada. A small part was on the road, and after a short while, I arrived at the loch. A lot of people were in the parking lot, but lucky enough, because there is a trail all around the loch, it was not too crowded. I started walking along the lake, passing in front of the remains of a castle on an island in the middle of the loch. The castle ruins are now home to many birds and ospreys.

walking path and mountain in the background

I kept walking and I eventually arrived at a crossing point. There was a sign pointing to Gleann Einich. And further down, Loch Einich. I had a great time following the jeep track, going through some lush forest before the scenery changed drastically and it looked more like Orkney. I was following the trail on my phone’s GPS and the loch didn’t seem too far so I kept going. As there was also a smaller loch on the map, I thought that worst case scenario, I would only see that one. I had to cross the river a couple time, much easier to do in a jeep, but I still managed to stay dry! (yeah me!) After a while, though, I didn’t seem to get any closer to the larger Loch, and I realized that the smaller loch was in fact on the other side of a hill, so I wouldn’t be able to see it.

One of the many river crossings
One of the many river crossings

I stopped to eat a snack and have another look at the map on my phone. As I was definitely not getting any closer to the loch, I decided to turned around. On my way in, I had seen what looked like a very skinny cow far away, but this time, it was much closer and I could see it was not a cow but a very adorable skinny reindeer. I stopped walking and looked at him. It didn’t seem too scared of me to start with, but was still moving away slowly as I was trying to get closer. After doing a short reindeer photoshoot, I headed back to the Loch an Eilein.

Adorable reindeer
Adorable reindeer

I finished the tour of the lake and was hoping to find people to give me a ride back to Aviemore, but unfortunately, the parking lot was pretty much empty at the time so I had to walk all the way back to Zoe’s flat in Aviemore.

Meall a' Bruhachaille path
Meall a’ Bruhachaille path

I spent a few days in the Aviemore area. Zoe and I shared some great moments, involving lots of laughter, a great walk in the Glenmore Forest Park and up Meall a’ Bruhachaille , a few bottles of wine and some very interesting conversation.

Zoe and I sitting at the top of the mountain
Zoe and I

I like what I have seen of Aviemore so far, and it makes me think it would probably be a great place to settle for a little while, as there are plenty of places to walk around and explore. People are also quite nice; it reminded me a lot of Meribel in France, a mountain village targeting active visitors where I went to work for a summer season during my student years.

Meall a' Bruhachaille path
Meall a’ Bruhachaille path

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