Blimey we are two weeks in to 2017 already! How did that happen? I meant to tell you about our hogmanay in Inverness but have been quite busy with one thing and another!
We finally made it up to Inverness. Almost every time we travel north of Pitlochry we mention going up to explore the capital of the highlands and we chose hogmanay to do it.
Catching the train up from Perth was a genius idea (even if I do say so myself). When we booked back in August of last year of course we didn’t know what the weather was going to be like around the new year so it made sense to catch the train.
For starters we were able to have a couple of cheeky drinks on the journey up and both enjoy the scenery. Normally driving up on the A9 would have meant one of us would have had to concentrate on the road (and for obvious reasons not be drinking!)
The train station is in the city centre and was only a fifteen minute walk to our Premier Inn. Result!
We hadn’t booked anywhere for dinner and so we ate in the restaurant at the hotel. Nice menu, the staff were welcoming and pleasant and it had a nice atmosphere.
Venturing back out we followed groups of people, who were also well wrapped up, through the city, over the river Ness and to the Northern Meeting park. We were on our way to the Red Hot Highland Fling. A free event with live music and fireworks at midnight.
There was a great atmosphere as we approached and we could hear the live music had already started. Security on the gate were light hearted and friendly when checking bags too. Inside the meeting area were food vendors (burgers, chips etc, standard for soaking up beer!), a bar and the main stage.
Three different bands were playing during the evening – Elephant Sessions, Scooty and the Sky Hooks and Skerryvore. A brilliant selection of music all night and there a great selection of people there too – families, couples, groups of friends, older, younger, dressed up and wrapped up.
Midnight came and we enjoyed the countdown to the bells. I am not a fan of fireworks, for several reasons, but these were far enough away not to cause me any bother. We had a group sing-a-long to Auld lang syne and enjoyed a few more songs before leaving at twelve thirty. Walking back through the city people were wishing us happy new year too.
After all that excitement we were grateful for a warm and comfy room for some shut eye.
New Years Day
As the words happy new year echoed around the restaurant at breakfast it was easy to tell who had had the best night. They were slightly more sedate and in a delicate state! As someone who doesn’t drink much, this makes me chuckle. A LOT!
With no particular plan for the day we asked the man on reception for some ideas on where to go for a walk. We followed his route, made up a bit of our own and ended up walking about 10k. The river was running high and fast but there were plenty of people following the Great Glen route that runs alongside the river Ness and across bridges on to the islands. The Caledonian canal also flows through Inverness and so we walked along it for a while too.
By the time we made it back into the city centre we are thirsty and actually quite warm. The only place we found that was open was called the Filling Station near the train station. It was busy but they made room for us and we ordered milkshakes!
Back at the hotel we had pre-dinner drinks and then ate in the hotel restuarant again. Same friendly faces greeted us and that was nice. That feeling you get when you go into your local pub and the staff know you.
The day after new years day
We pretty much were at a loose end from checking out of the hotel until our 3pm train so we wandered the streets with our backpacks. There were a small amount of shops open so we did have a look round.
The train was heaving! Absolutely rammed. I don’t think I have seen so much luggage crammed overhead and on laps before (even when travelling in Nepal!). Thank goodness our seats were reserved! We spent the journey reading and just enjoying the ride.
I don’t think we have seen the best of Inverness but first impressions were great. It’s pretty, the people are friendly and helpful. We still have a lot more to explore and I think next time we go we will take our bikes too. But as it goes hogmanay in Inverness is definitely worth doing. The weather was kind to us and it didn’t rain nor was it too cold, if it had been any different this could have been a very different post.
I didn’t take my “big camera” out with me so all these images are taken on my phone but I do have a 360° video over on my YouTube channel.
Have you been to Inverness? Want to share your experience, please add your comments to the post.