Carol and I married in Scotland on April 1st 2017, so every year when we start considering our options for this year’s wedding anniversary trip, a revisit is always an option. This year we did it. Well, kinda 😊
We drove to Inverness, breaking up the journey with an overnight stay in Manchester. It was that night that COVID restrictions were first put in place. In a large hotel, very close to Old Trafford football stadium and the Bridgewater Canal, we appeared to be the only people staying there. A full English breakfast and a relaxing sit down with a coffee were no longer options. Now it was a very small buffet with a brown paper bag you could pack and take back to your room.
The 6 hour drive from Manchester to Inverness was uneventful, if anything, the roads were noticeably quieter than expected, we even found time to revisit Gretna Green and evoke happy memories of our wedding day.
It wasn’t until we approached the city limits of Inverness that we started looking for accommodation, and based on availability, price and location, we chose The Kemps Guest House and arrived about 15 minutes after making our booking. The hosts were very welcoming, due to COVID, bookings had been a little sparse of late so they enjoyed seeing actual customers! I assumed when I arrived that I was talking to Mr Kemp, but that wasn’t the case. The host couple had only relatively recently purchased the property, sinking their life savings into this new venture, and at this point had not changed the name from the previous owners. We had a trip out in evening to have a look at a very deserted Inverness.
Any trip to this part of the world is all about nature, including of course the home of the legendary Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. We made this our priority to see if we could spot Nessie!
As spectacular as it was Nessie was in hiding (which was no great surprise). Instead we headed onwards to the Falls of Foyers, a waterfall on the River Foyers which feeds into Loch Ness. This one was left to me due to the amount of stairs involved but it was worth a visit.
Heading out of Inverness, just a 40 minute drive away, was Cromarty we had only ever heard of as part of a shipping forecast. As we were near we decided to go and see what was there and had a lovely afternoon just chilling with a picnic.
A place that was recommended to us for a visit was Fairy Glen falls, an easy walk with 2 waterfalls. Located in Rosmarkie we had a lovely slow walk along the riverside and managed to see the waterfalls. In covid times this was a popular spot for dog walkers and families just wanting to get out and stretch their legs and it was lovely.
Well we had left on Friday, and had intended to stay in Scotland for a fortnight. Our car was fully loaded, including a tent and all our camping equipment, intending to isolate in the wild wherever we could pitch up. Unfortunately the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, put paid to our plans by announcing a nationwide lockdown at 8pm on Monday 23rd March. We were never going to make it home to Woking from Inverness had we started off immediately, so we stayed one last night and set off early the next day for a 9 hour drive home.
The curtailment of our trip was a huge disappointment, albeit for entirely necessary reasons, but in a very short time we had achieved what we needed, a break away, a revisit of our wedding location, and some fantastic peaceful time in nature away from the madness going on in the world at the time.
Why are posting now you wonder? because we did it! we managed to resume our trip and had an amazing time. Please read our next blog posts which will highlight our more successful and magical times in Scotland.
Carol & Nigel xx