The Scottish Saltire

The Scottish Saltire

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'm Here...At Last!

I made it! That wild scheme I came up with two years ago is finally a reality. Nikki and I landed at Edinburgh Airport last Friday. From the airport we had to take a bus to the the train station to catch our train to Inverness. And to my surprise, who should be waiting at the Edinburgh train station for us? SHAUNA! She had flown in from India the night before to surprise me. Nikki was in on it so she knew to look for her sister when we got to the station. They had been planning this for a couple of weeks. Nik had even been in touch with the B&B in Inverness to let them know that there would be three of us but that it was a surprise to me.

I was a very happy mom as we all boarded the train for Inverness. I think my face was glued to the window for the entire three and a half hour ride. We checked into our B&B and then went in search of dinner. We found a really good restaurant in the town center called The Mustardseed. After dinner we went for a nice long walk along the River Ness and across to the little island in the middle of the river.

On Saturday we went out the the Culloden Battlefield. The National Trust for Scotland built a new Visitor's Center last year and the new exhibition on the events leading up to the battle, the battle itself, and the aftermath of the battle is much improved over the old one. We spent several hours there which concluded with a walk around the battlefield itself. Then it was back into town to head over to the pub to see Schiehallion play. Fabuluous! They played from 5pm-8pm at The Gellions and then from 9:30pm-12:30am at Hotanannys. We had a great time. I've played Schiehallion's CD so much since it came out and devoured all the YouTube videos but there is nothing like hearing the music live. Kenny has such an amazing voice and the kind of music he sings just feeds my soul. We met all the "regulars" and they welcomed me to Inverness with such genuine enthusiasm. Kenny offered to show me around after the girls left. On Sunday the girls and I took a historical tour of Inverness before landing at Finlay's (another pub!) to catch the band again. Knowing that Nikki and Shauna were leaving the next morning, Laura (one of the "regulars"), told the girls not to worry about their mom, that they would take good care of me!

The next morning Kenny picked me up and we went out to the Black Isle to watch the dolphins. They come in each day about noon to feed on the salmon. The dolphins must take Mondays off 'cause they didn't show that day but we had a lovely time anyway, sitting by the water, talking and watching the seals. After a few hours we drove back into town to look at one of Kenny's houses that he rents out on a shared basis. The house has 4 bedrooms but only one was occupied. I had been set on getting a single apartment but I figured it wouldn't hurt to look at what Kenny had to rent. The house is in a nice neighborhood called Hilton and there is a bustop just right around the corner. I decided to take it and Kenny came by the B&B for me and my suitcases yesterday, which we dropped off at the house before going out to lunch. My housemate is a really nice guy named Ian. We've had a few friendly conversations and he seems very laid back so I think it's going to work out fine. Kenny's uncle is up from Dumbarton for a week or so so there are actually 3 of us in the house at the moment.

I love Inverness. It's small enough that you really can't get too lost but it's a very lively town with a population of about 72,000 (minus all the tourists!). There is plenty of shopping and the pubs are always in full swing. Not to mention that it is in the heart of The Highlands. So much to see and do!

For someone who just landed I sure don't feel like a lone stranger in town. Between spending time with Kenny on Monday and Tuesday, having Ian and Chris at the house, and getting to know the regular Schiehallion crowd at the pubs I certainly haven't been lonely! It's off to the Gellions again tonight!

I have died and gone to heaven in the Scottish Highlands!

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