CIE Tours Travel Blog
Discovering Inverness and Oban, Scotland
By: Courtney Buzzanca
Date: August 11, 2017
We departed for Inverness after a delightful two nights in Edinburgh. Everyone in the group was still reeling from experiencing the military Tattoo the previous evening. We were all eager to continue our Scottish escapades and journey further north.
On our way to Inverness, where we would be settling in for the night, we made a stop in St. Andrew's. Any golf lover must know the significance that St. Andrew's has with the sport. Even if you have little interest in golf, there is still a great deal to see in this small town on the water.
Guests enjoying a walking tour of the Abbey at St. Andrew's, Scotland
Our time in St. Andrew's was short, but there was some true beauty to see in those few hours. Our tour guide took us on a walking tour of the city and shared the history of St. Andrew's. After our free time to explore on our own, it was time to jet off to our final destination: Inverness!
We arrived at the Columba Hotel in Inverness just in time for dinner. I was amazed that even after 8:00 in the evening, the sun was still shining brightly! This allowed myself and all of the guests the
opportunity to explore this quaint city. Conveniently located across the way on the opposite side of River Ness was Inverness Castle. I initially was going to use headphones on a run around town, but Inverness provided its own soundtrack of bagpipes so I abandoned my phone in exchange for the sounds of bagpipes coming from the castle.
Inverness, Scotland around 9:30 at night with a bright sky
Our adventure continued the next day as we journeyed to Loch Ness for our boat cruise. On the way, we made a pit stop at Urquhart Castle. Our guide informed us that this castle tends to be the backdrop of interviews and documentaries about the Loch Ness Monster!
Urquhart Castle sitting next to Loch Ness in Scotland
Our anticipation was building as we drew closer to our main destination for the boat cruise. Would we see anything unexplained on the sonar? Any unidentifiable objects in the water? We were ready to make up our own minds regarding the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster.
Unfortunately, we did not end up seeing Nessie. She eluded us that day. Our cruise guide explained the history and mysterious sightings of Nessie throughout the years. Our guide has been touring on the Loch dozens of times and said he has seen nearly 70 unexplained objects on the cruise boat sonar. There such a fascinating story tied to Loch Ness which only made me more curious of its history and the likelihood of Nessie. Quite a once-in-a-lifetime experience to cruise Loch Ness.
Boat Cruise around Loch Ness
Our cruise guide sharing tales of the Loch Ness Monster to our guests
Our next stop was Oban, Scotland. First stop? Oban Distillery! Our whisky connoisseurs had been greatly looking forward to this pit stop. We took a tour of the distillery and were able to sample their whisky with a complimentary glass.
Our guests enjoying drinks at the Oban Distillery, Scotland
Our second day staying in the Oban area was spent on the Isle of Mull. We woke up to some rainy weather, but we were sent a good sign that it would be a spectacular day! Our ferry ride was a little more colorful than we were expecting.
Double rainbow during our ferry ride to the Isle of Mull, Scotland
On the Isle, we explored Duart Castle, which was the residence of the MacLean family. The MacLean Clan descendants are still around and scattered throughout the world. One of our very own tour guests ended up being connected to the MacLeans and was requested to sign a special book for any MacLean connections! We have since been calling him, "Lord Freddie."
Our guide, Martin,
at Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland
Tobermory, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Our day would not have been complete without dining and exploring the village of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. Some guests ventured into the distillery while others dined on freshly caught seafood. The colors of the buildings and small shops were a peaceful place for us to relax before making our way back to the hotel.
Tomorrow, our tour continues to the capital city of Northern Ireland: Belfast! Though it will be difficult to say, "Good-bye," to the scenery of our hotel, we are ready for the next country and new experiences we're bound to encounter.
CIE you there!