Edinburgh-Castle1

After a good night’s sleep, I regrettably checked out of my lovely hotel room, locked my bag in the trunk of my rental car and took the bus into the city to visit Edinburgh Castle. The line was unbelievably long and it was pissing down with rain, but I stuck out the wait. Edinburgh castle is an historic fortress overlooking the city of Edinburgh. The views alone were worth waiting in the rain for…

... or they would have been had the weather cooperated.

… but of course they would have been better on a sunny day.

As you can imagine, all indoor spaces were chockablock with people looking to escape the rain, which made photography difficult. I managed to snap more pictures of strangers heads than the buildings themselves. Oh well, gives me a good reason to make a return journey.

A sodden Edinburgh Castle

A sodden Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle 2

All dressed up despite the rain.

All dressed up in their finest despite the rain (I suspect some cold knees though).

Edinburgh Castle is home to the oldest surviving building in Scotland – St. Margaret’s Chapel. King David I built the chapel in about 1130AD and dedicated it to his saintly mother Margaret. It’s small and the outside doesn’t have many defining features, but inside there is a small alter and lovely stained glass windows.

St. Margaret's Chapel

St. Margaret’s Chapel

Small alter inside St. Margaret's Chapel

Small alter inside St. Margaret’s Chapel

While I was there, the gift shop had a whisky tasting, which gave a nice burst of warmth on the chilly morning. It was a honeyed whisky that I still think fondly of to this day. I’m now wishing I’d actually bought some (and I’m not normally even a whisky drinker!).

After leaving Edinburgh Castle, the rain thankfully cleared up, though the day was still crisp and the ground sodden. With only about an hour or two before I had to make my way back to the hotel to collect the car and make the drive to Inverness before nightfall, I rushed over to Holyrood Park to try and get a decent walk in. I knew I couldn’t do the place justice with such a short time, but I didn’t want to skip it altogether – who knew when I’d make it back?

Holyrood Park

The walk up to the park starts out paved and winds up beside the road, but the path quickly becomes much more rugged. I decided to walk up to the ruined St. Anthony’s Chapel which was the first landmark I could see. The rains had caused much of the walk to become muddy – one wrong foot and I’d be falling head-first into the sludge. Thankfully that didn’t happen, though my shoes were a little worse for wear afterwards. The view was worth the treacherous climb.

Don't slip!

Don’t slip!

The ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel

The ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel

Regretfully leaving the rest of the park for another time, I made my way towards The Royal Mile to catch the bus back to the hotel where the rental car was waiting. Pulling out my phone, I punched the address of my bed and breakfast in Inverness into Google Maps and headed out into traffic. The drive to Inverness was a pleasant one, with the 3.5-hour journey offering up stunning landscape views. Although I took the highways, they were a lot less populated than the ones in England. The drive saw me wind my way through Caingorms National Park and up into stunning snowcapped peaks.

Cairngorms National Park 2

Cairngorms National Park

I didn’t quite make it to Inverness before the sun set, so I spent a bit of time driving around quiet single-lane rural streets in the dark, getting a little lost (even with GPS) looking for my accommodation, the Inchyre Bed & Breakfast, but eventually found it. This was my first time in a B&B. It’s run by a lovely Scottish couple and felt very homely. I understand now why B&Bs are so popular in the UK. The room was warm, cozy and clean and had a small rectangular ensuite – it looked like they had sectioned off part of the room to create the bathroom, with a small shower, toilet and basin.

My cozy room at the Inchyre Bed & Breakfast

My cozy room at the Inchyre Bed & Breakfast

Tiny, but perfect. It really did feel like a home away from home, and that night I had the best nights sleep of the whole trip.