Wednesday 6 June 2018 Inverness
We drove into Inverness and checked in at Torvean Caravan Park which is situated at the beginning of the Caledonian Canal. We then caught the bus into town to find a place where we could watch the first State of Origin game. The first bar we came to, Platform Eight were able to telecast the game live, so we settled in for breakfast and something to drink and wait for the 11:15 start. The only other person watching the game turned out to be a guy from Canberra who grew up playing and following the same teams as Ian, moved to Queensland, was involved in rugby league development and is currently involved in writing the history of the Canberra Raiders. As we lived in Canberra for 4 years (1978- 1981), Ian and Gary spent most of the break time reminiscing about the good old days and the many friends they have in common. Even though Queensland lost it was still a great day. Who would think being halfway across the world we were able to watch this event!
We left the pub, walked around the streets of Inverness and caught the bus back to our campsite.
Thursday 7 June 2018 Inverness – Culloden Battlefield
Today we headed to the Culloden Battlefield which is 6 miles east of Inverness. This is where in 1746 the last pitched battle ever fought on British soil saw the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charles and the end of the Jacobite dream when over 1 500 Highlanders were slaughtered by government forces in just under an hour. The battle sounded the death knell for the old clan system and began the horrors of the Clearances which soon followed and resulted in thousands of Scots begin forced to emigrate all around the world including our ancestors to Australia.
The Visitors Centre is run by the National Trust (being members we not only receive free admission but free parking also) and included in the admission price is an audio guide. The museum depicts the Battle of Culloden including the lead up and the aftermath with perspectives from both sides (Jacobite and Government), a film which is projected on all four walls and gives the feeling that you are in the middle of the mayhem and artefacts that have been found on the site. We went on a guided tour of the battle ground which was great. The guide was very knowledgeable and passionate, and the mood is quite sombre. On the battlefield are red flags (British fighting for King George II) and blue flags (Jacobite fighting for Stuart) which denote the line where each side began the ensuing battle. There are also grave stones depicting the area where the Jacobite Clans are buried and the English. The site is very impressive and the visit was very sobering.
On our way home, we called in to see a second-hand men’s bike which was for sale and we bought it for £40. I sat in the backseat of the van holding the bike as we hadn’t organised the boot. No sooner had we arrived home the lady whom we purchased the bike from sent a text saying her friend had a lady’s bike for sale. After messages back and forth we are now the proud owners of a bike each!
Tonight, we caught up with our friends Carolyn and Nigel at Hootananny, a dinner and live music venue recommended by other friends, Greg and Renee, who we are catching up with in Ireland. It was a great night with three guys jamming on guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo.