This northern city is a character of its own in the Outlander Novels by Diana Gabaldon, and her story centers nearby on the Culloden Moor where the story takes quite a turn.
I had wanted to see some of the spots mentioned in Outlander, since I had read the books twice through, and although a fan, not quite so nuts as some of the others I have encountered. Guess its part of that being a bit of an alternative tourist, not wanting to get lumped with other crazed Americans following their favorite books and series around.
Warning: While in the highlands, I have been near other American groups in pubs going off about the said series, and the natives shake heads or will outright say, “Not more of the Outlander“. I even had a cabby in this town go on about it. You may want to try actually talking to people about their country and what they do before launching into your obsession. You will then experience what you should in such a lovely country. That’s not to say that may Scots are not happy to watch and celebrate their country through this series, just that many of them are not that into it.
My purpose for coming was of course to see the famed Battle of Culloden Visitor Centre and learn about one of the most tragic battles ever fought. While I was in Scotland, it was just a few weeks from the Brexit ordeal. Scotland had wanted to stay in the EU. Scotland had unsuccessfully had a referendum over breaking with the UK just prior to my visit. So being there and listening to people talk about the changes they may or not want in their country was a reminder of how such a great country wants to be Scotland, be its own country.
Heads Up: Let the Scots initiate political talk
The river Ness filters out of the Loch and runs to the sea through Inverness. I walked it’s banks over two days, exploring and meeting some amazing dogs and people. Anglers come out to fish in the evening and there is amazing seafood fare. I had my first Cullen Skink at a restaurant on the shore, and yet more mushy peas. I discovered it wasn’t a lizard that they ate after all, but a rich fish soup. Then I walked up one side of the ness and down the other.
I took a day and headed out to the stones on a bus/hiking adventure. It was a hike to get there, nestled between farmlands. The site is amazing though and there are several round formations, some of which you can go to the center of and look out. I spent a lot of time looking and thinking about the endeavor. Why would people do this, to their gods? These were burial mounds constructed in around 2000 BC and are what is called passage graves, where you walk to the grave site through the stones. Spend at least an hour here and take time with each mound and the standing stones. You will feel the presence of people past.