arriving in Inverness
Inverness Travel Blog› entry 49 of 68 › view all entries
The Northwest Highlands are a wonderful tapestry of colorful scenery. Along the Kyle of Lochalsh railway line, flora of various shades accented the green-carpeted terrain. Until dozing off, I saw through my window European rowan trees bearing their clusters of orange pomes, white igneous rock highlighted with yellow moss, teal water of Loch Carron reflecting the afternoon sky, purple weeds smattered across the landscape, brown seaweed washed on shore, and black algae in strata along the water’s edge on land and island alike. I then slept for half of the trip.
From the station in Inverness, it was a short walk across the bridge and up a hill to the Bazpackers.
After soliciting some advice from the desk clerk at the hostel, I went out to experience my latest environment. A brief saunter down the road led me to Kiltmakers kilt shop where I browsed the Gaelic garments and cringed at the price tags. I then began the Ness Island walk along the picturesque banks of the River Ness. Through the heavy clouds and foliage canopy of the wooded islands, too dim was daylight to expose the 200-speed film in my camera.
There was so much to see from the trail. Unique vegetation all around the area intrigued me with stunning colors and configurations. While several plants were unlike those I knew from home, some were simply bizarre. To the west of the river on one stretch of my path, Scottish football matches served a forum for lively competition. At the upstream tip of the first river island, I sat and listened to the rushing sounds of the water and watched as it flowed over and around the rocks to form a glassy concave basin.
As 8:15 drew in the dusk, I carried on back through the wooded isle of giant conifers to the next across another footbridge. The gleam of yellow street lamps painted streaks across the silver waters and the tall trees became shadows. A final bridge deposited me on the east bank of the river where I followed the trail north.
Back in the hostel, I met my two Spanish flatmates and chatted with them briefly before seeking the receptionist for advice on where to find some nightlife. He was right on! While looking for the first pub he recommended, I encountered four party girls owning the street. Tugging my map with a grin on her face, Tracy asked teasingly, “Are you lost?” When I told her I was looking for Market Bar on Church Street, she lit up and they pulled me into their circle of fun, exclaiming, “That’s where we’re going!”
It immediately became a very flirty and playful adventure as Linda initiated a sporty game of “grabass.
Market Bar was cool, but too crowded to facilitate our high energy, so we took our celebration next to Johnny Foxes. Tracy, Donna, Rachel, Amy, Sam, and I immediately filed onto the dance floor. Upon request and to the jealous bewilderment of a local gent, I stood proudly between Amy and Rachel with one arm over each girl’s shoulder. The band covered American classic rock, including “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Johnny Be Good,” and “Twist and Shout,” which filled the tavern with energy. The thrill reached a climax when all danced a jig to a traditional Scottish ditty. Everyone in the place, drenched in sweat, twirled around locking elbows, and changing direction with each new partner. It was as exhilarating as a Fishbone mosh pit! It may have been the best experience I had had thus far.
Following the late last call, Donna, Tracy, Rachel, and I hopped into a minivan cab with two other guys they had befriended in the bar. We brought the party to Donna’s flat where another couple of guests arrived bringing vodka and soda to re-energize our dwindling enthusiasm. Since the taxi ride, Rachel had been growing aggravated with one of the guys from the bar, so overdrinking was not a wise move. On the table in the living room, he had found a half bottle of wine and swilled in seconds. Moments after the man passed out, Rachel found a razor in the WC. She shaved off his right eyebrow and colored it back in with the Sharpie I had happened to have in my pocket. Donna and the dude that brought the vodka then joined in the fun by shaving his chest and drawing indelible body art.
Wrestling with her sister, Donna smashed her nose on some furniture or the floor and Tracy disappeared. We fixed up Donna with ice to limit the swelling while Tracy hid in fear of retribution. Eventually I found her to settle her anxiety and got her to rejoin the party. Donna expressed no hard feelings before she and the still-conscious fellow from the bar went to bed. When Rachel and the other couple left, Tracy and I were sitting on one couch while the decorated drunk was out cold on the other and quiet graced the flat.
Tracy was a very sweet girl of 24 with wavy blonde hair, brown eyes, and a sexy figure. First just talking on the sofa, as our brains grew sober we soon began to kiss, but not long passed until she invited me upstairs to her bunk beds. By estimate, we went to sleep shortly after 4:00am.