Our AirBnB was just a few minutes walk into town, so we walked in for dinner, and then spent more time walking about the next day. The city center is small and easy to get around. The Inverness castle, which is right in the city center, is a functioning civic building, so is not open to the public (except for a tower you can climb for the views, which was not open the day we were there).
From Inverness, we set two distilleries as targets, which gave us the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas, which were lovely. We drove to the Glen Ord distillery, about 30 minutes northwest of Inverness (and where Ken took a tour and enjoyed a sample, £6), and then to the Tomatin distillery, about 20 minutes southeast of Inverness (missed the last tour of the day, so just a taste at this one). Though the grounds are enormous at Tomatin, and include massive stone warehouses and residences for many of the workers, they make only one product, and all of it is exported to Asia.
What a treat! We ended our stay in Inverness with a surprise outing to see Scottish Opera’s La Traviata. We met the company’s stage manager at our AirBnB home, where he was staying as well for the short run in this city. We chatted a bit and then he offered company tickets to us for £10 each. We paid him, he purchased the tickets and they were waiting for us at the box office. It was a terrific performance, which we both really enjoyed. When opportunity knocks….
Next up was a drive from Inverness to Edinburgh to return the rental car, and then a 40-minute train ride to Glasgow where we met up with cousin Aileen, this time as planned (see Scotland: Edinburgh). We drove down the west side of Loch Ness, adding a bit of time to our trip, but also adding gorgeous scenery, and the chance to see Nessie (sadly, the latter did not happen).
We did manage to fit in a quick stop at one more distillery, Dalwhinnie, but not for a tour. Instead, we took advantage of the driver’s pack that many of them offer, so Ken has some tastings to do (complete with paired chocolates and a glass) on his own one evening (£12 for the selection he purchased). They offer a free tour, and then you pay for tastings.
Train from Edinburgh to Glasgow, booked only 3 weeks ahead with Two Together discount card: £16.90 for both of us.