Sunday, March 4, 2012

Scotland in Five Days: Day Three

Culloden House

Day Three: You rise late at Cameron House, and partake of a generous breakfast buffet. Which includes - though you don’t really need this - ‘breakfast haggis’. The eggs are delicious. They come from Mrs. McDougall’s hens, according to the provenance on the menu.

Set out then for the little train station in Balloch, and catch the waiting local train back to Glasgow. At Queen Street Station, where you now know your way around, join your principal conveyance of the day, the train to Inverness.

Four hour journey compressed to 3.45 mins for you to sample.

This is a four hour journey, and you will find it is a very picturesque ride. The farmland gives way to snow-topped mountains, wide glens and rushing rivers. There are even one or two handsome stone railway viaducts to cross. Fortifying yourself with snacks from the passing snack trolley, and practicing your Scottish with the attendants, the journey passes pleasantly. You wish you had planned to get off in Aviemore, because it seems to be in some beautiful country. You make a note for a return visit. The only teensy annoyance is the constant loud commentary from an unknown travelling companion across the aisle, who has a very carrying voice and , to judge by what you can’t help but hear, an exceedingly boring life. Still, the thick Scottish brogue in which it is all delivered gives you a chance to work on your Scottish comprehension.

Snowdrops at Culloden

Arrive mid-afternoon at Inverness. heaving a sigh of relief that you no longer have to listen to The Voice, you take a ten minute taxi ride to Culloden House. In, of course, Culloden, which lies on the  outskirts of Inverness, and is the site of Culloden Field which saw the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Prince slept at Culloden House in the days before the battle. It is a fine Georgian mansion, on a site which has been occupied by a house of some sort or other since the 13th century. You spacious suite, secured at bargain winter rates, is in the east wing, overlooking the expansive front drive. After the long train ride, you decide to enjoy what Culloden House has to offer, and spend some time sitting in front of a cheerful fire in the sitting room. Dinner in the in-house restaurant, with tartan table runners, is enlivened by the appearance of a piper, who duly pipes in guests arriving for a business dinner meeting.

Culloden House

The Dining Room, Culloden House
Your choice?


After dinner you fall asleep in front of the fire again, whisky in hand.

In the morning, after yet another Full Scottish, you take some time to see Inverness. A friendly taxi driver turns out to be a part-time tour guide, and gives you a short ride around the town, pointing out Inverness Castle and the fast-flowing Ness River. Here there are bargains to be had at the Pringle shop - half-price cashmere. Spring must be on its way. Then you stock up with a few bottles of single malt to take home. It is soon time to take a taxi back to Culloden House. You depart at noon. be continued.

Inverness Castle


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