Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Loch Ness

Today we left the far north of Scotland and made our way down to Inverness, the scenery along the way was breathtaking.

Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Balnuaran of Clava, there are three burial cairns at Balnuaran and they are part of a line of seven dotted along the south side of the valley of the River Nairn. These together form part of a group of some 45 very distinctive cairns in northern Inverness-shire, all called Clava Cairns after this location, which is where they were first studied. What sets them apart is their construction within a "kerb", a ring of large containing boulders. Clava Cairns come in two types, and both are represented in the group of three you find in the truly wonderful wooded setting at Balnuaran. The North East and South West Cairns are knows as passage graves. Here the inner chamber remains linked to the outside world by a passage. Both are no more than a metre or so in height, but when originally constructed the cairns are likely to have been around 3m or 10ft in height.  Both of the passage graves have a surrounding circle of widely spaced standing stones: though sadly the stone circle surrounding the South West Passage Grave has a road going through it, leaving one stone marooned on the far side of the road and another forming part of the fence. The central cairn at Balnuaran is of the second type of Clava Cairn, a ring cairn. This differs from the other two in having no passageway linking the central camber with the outside. Like the others it is surrounded by a ring of standing stones, nine in this case, of which some have been broken. One unusual feature is the way that the central cairn is linked to three of its enclosing circle of standing stones by lines of turf covered stones. No-one knows their purpose, and it might well be possible that they were added very much later than the date of construction of the cairns. Another later addition is likely to have been the much smaller ring of kerb stones on the north east side of the site not far from the central cairn.

North East Passage Grave built about 4,000 years ago

Central Ring Cairn

Kerb Cairn

South West Passage Grave

The setting mid winter sun comes directly into the chamber of both the cairns who face the same way

Cup Marks inscribed on the kerb stone of the cairn

The Culloden Viaduct, also known as the Nairn Viaduct or the Clava Viaduct is a railway viaduct on the Highland Main Line, to the east of the city of Inverness. It was opened in 1898 the 29 span viaduct crosses the wide valley of the River Naim. At 1800 ft (549 m) in length, it is the longest masonry viaduct in Scotland.
Loch Ness in the North of Scotland near Inverness is the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain. But it's not its size that makes it so famous, it's very special inhabitant - the Loch Ness Monster - or 'Nessie' as they affectionately call her. There have been sighting of the Loch Ness Monster as far back as the 6th century, but it’s the modern day sightings together with apparent photographic evidence that have really caught the world’s attention. The first recorded sighting of the monster was by St Columba in 565AD. It was not until 1933 that the monster became famous as the world newspapers reported the story. 

Loch Ness - Moralachd Loch Nis

Viperfish was launched and built by American inventor and submarine enthusiast Dan Scott Taylor in 1969 for the hunt for Nessie. It has been said that it inspired the Beatles song of the same name.
We then made our way to Inverness where we are staying this evening. A really lovely town with the River Ness running along side it with a circular walk crossing the river onto Ness Island and over to the other side.

St Andrews Cathedral Inverness construction began in 1866 and was complete by 1869, although a lack of funds precluded the building of the two giant spires of the original design.

One of the foot bridges crossing the River Ness

"Nessie" must have followed us on our walk

The Highland Council today however the Town House of the Royal Burgh of Inverness completed in 1836 
 Inverness Castle the original 12th century castle was of timber. In 1540 a stone fortification was constructed. In 1582 Alexander Gordon refused entry to Mary Queen of Scots. She captured the castle with the help of the MacKintoshes and Frasers. Alexander Gordon was duly hanged. In 1726 it was enlarged into a government fort, only to be blown up by the Jacobite army in 1746.

Inverness Castle 1834 today serves as the Sheriff Court House

I must mention also that I have now tried Haggis which was like cooked Quinoa which was very seasoned with pepper. It seems to be a favourite accompaniment to chicken.

1 comment:

Gabby Emmerton said...

I had no idea Scotland was so beautiful and interesting. I hope you survive the haggis