Travel Tips for a Perfect Stay

Top Tips for your Scottish Highlands Adventure

Eilean Donan Castle - A favourite day out from our Inverness B&B

Of course, every good guide book has a section dedicated to useful hints and travel tips, and we are sure that they have plenty of advice about all sorts of things to help you during your stay. However, we have found that they usually miss out some of the most useful information that you really need to know. So, in an attempt to fill in some of the gaps, here are a few tips based on the experience with our guests at Inverglen Guest House. We hope this will help you during your travels in Scotland. If you think there are other things we should include in this guide then please let us know.

Travelling Around Scotland

If you are spending most of your time visiting the large cities or towns then it is perfectly possible to do so by public transport. Good links exist between major cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, and once there you will also find that getting around the city by public transport or taxi is relatively easy. However, if you intend to explore our wonderful countryside then you will either need a car or the services of a specialist tour provider.

Many people are worried about driving on the “wrong”  side of the road, but be assured that it is simple and you’ll be fine as long as you take it carefully. We only have 5 million people living in the country so away from the major cities, you will rarely be in heavy traffic.

Day tours to Skye with WOW Scotland - Highly recommended by Inverglen Guest House
Day tours to Skye with WOW Scotland

Don’t despair if the thought of driving is a little too much for you. There are many specialist tour operators who will gladly take you to all manner of places. These tours can range from pre-determined schedules right through to fully bespoke tours designed specifically for you. Why not check out some of our local operators on our website – http://www.inverglenguesthouse.co.uk/boat-trips-and-tours

Just a word of caution if you intend sampling some of our fine whisky or delicious beers – Scotland has strict drink drive laws and at the time of writing the legal limit is just 50mg in every 100ml of blood. This means even 1 drink can put you over the limit. Our advice is to not drink at all if you are driving.

A Sat Nav / GPS or Paper Map

So you decided to go with the car option. The first thing you may notice is that Scotland is bigger than most people realise, and many places are remote and sparsely populated. Consequently, it isn’t always possible to stop and ask someone for directions, and road signs may be in short supply. Luckily modern technology in the form of a Sat Nav or GPS can pinpoint your position to within a few meters, and keep you on the right track. However, they aren’t foolproof and you should treat their advice with a degree of caution. Also be aware that if your system works via the mobile phone network, you may find that some areas have less than perfect coverage.

In the UK we use Postcodes (see tip below) to pinpoint locations, and in main towns, a postcode will often be all you need for the Sat Nav. However, outside of the main population areas, you may find that the postal code is a little vague (possibly covering a large area rather than an exact location). Therefore always enter the full address if possible. We certainly recommend a Sat Nav or GPS for getting you from A to B, but you can’t beat a good old-fashioned paper road map for giving you the bigger picture.

If you only focus on the route from one place to another, you may well be missing some fantastic places that lie just a few miles off the direct route. If you would like some inspiration on places to visit why not take a look at our Things to Do Pages.

The locations pictured below are hidden gems that are so easily missed if you stick to just the main routes.

Bow Fiddle Rock
Bow Fiddle Rock
Buachaille Etive Mor
Buachaille Etive Mor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Post Code

If you are using a Sat Nav or GPS then you are going to become very familiar with postcodes as they are an integral part of finding a specific location. Every address in the UK has a Post Code.  These are specific to a small number of addresses and within large cities a full postcode will cover a relatively small area (just a few properties).  

Postcodes comprise a combination of letters and numbers – for example our postcode is IV2 3NW. The first part of the code “IV2” tells you two things. Firstly the IV letters refer to Inverness (as EH would be Edinburgh, and GA refers to Glasgow). The number then gives an indication of how close an address is to the main city. So, IV1 would be right in the very centre of Inverness, whereas IV2 is just a little further out. At the extreme end, for example, Portree on the Isle of Skye (over 100 road miles from Inverness) is IV51.

Whilst in most towns and cities a full postcode (comprising between 5 and 8 characters) will give you a very specific geographic location, in rural areas a single postcode may cover a much larger geographical area.

Route Planning

When planning your trips it is often advisable to consult with one of the online route planning services. Google maps is definitely worth looking at, as are the services provides by The AA and The RAC. Distances and journey times can be difficult to predict, especially in the more remote locations where roads may be single track requiring you to stop at regular intervals to allow vehicles coming in the opposite direction to pass.

Whilst the online resources attempt to give you an idea of how long a journey may take, the reality may prove a little different. Always expect the journey to take longer than you are told, and if it turns out to be quicker you have more time to enjoy being there.

Negotiating Roundabouts

For those not used to driving in the UK a roundabout can be very daunting. We have spent many a morning after breakfast trying to explain how they work. The basic rule is that you always stop before entering a roundabout and you always give way to traffic coming from your right. If in doubt wait until there is a good gap before entering the roundabout and always give a clear indication of where you intend to exit. If you spot your exit late, don’t try to turn off quickly, just go around again and get it at the second (or third) attempt.

If you want to get properly ready to drive in the UK you can familiarise yourself with the rules for driving by checking out the Highway Code

Have a Mobile Phone

In all but the remotest locations Scotland has good mobile phone coverage, and as public telephone kiosks are become rarer you will be grateful for the convenience. We recommend you bring your mobile/cell phone with you, or you can buy one when you are here – a basic pay as you go phone can be purchased for around £25.00  (or even less) and many shops sell “top up” vouchers for calls.

Pre-book the things on your ‘Must See’ List

Shinty MatchScotland in the height of summer can be incredibly busy. Major events like the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and T in the Park, to name but a few, need to be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Also don’t risk just turning up at the ferry port hoping to catch a ferry to one of our many islands as you may be disappointed! You should also think about pre-booking for key visitor attractions such as Edinburgh or Stirling Castles, or if you want to enjoy the 3D and interactive elements at the Battle of Bannockburn site. At the very least pre-booking can save you a lot of time otherwise spent waiting in line.

In Inverness it may be advisable to pre-book if you wish to take the popular train journey to Kyle of Lochalsh, or for a cruise on Loch Ness.

Why not check out some of the main events happening in and around Inverness and Loch Ness on our Events Page.

Highland Piper
Highland Piper
Highland Dancing
Highland Dancing Competition
Highland Games Event
Highland Games

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restaurants and food

The White House
The White House
Rocpool Restaurant
Rocpool Restaurant
Heathmount
Heathmount

In the major cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen you will find that there are many restaurants of all types that open all day and will continue late into the evening. However, in other places the choice of restaurants may be very limited and they are likely to stop serving at 9pm (or earlier).

If visiting Scotland in the winter months do check with your accommodation provider to see what the local restaurant situation is like. In some places you may have a very limited choice.

Inverness has a wide selection of excellent restaurants (check out our recommendations page – http://www.inverglenguesthouse.co.uk/local-restaurants-cafes-and-pubs ) but many of these stop serving at about 9pm. You will also find that some are closed on a Sunday and Monday. From about May through to October the most popular restaurants are very busy and reservations are essential.

Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015

Scotland has a truly wonderful larder of produce and you can be assured of some fantastic food and drink on your travels. Almost everyone knows about haggis (try it and you may be pleasantly surprised), and our salmon is world famous, but why not try Cullen Skink (a smoked fish chowder), Cranachan (a desert of oatmeal, raspberries, cream and whisky), or Crowdie (a delicious cream cheese). We have a fantastic range of  food and drink and we love helping you discover new things to delight your taste buds.

 

Check Opening Times

We may enjoy long summer evenings (it stays light up until almost midnight in the far north at the end of June), but many attractions still close at around 5pm. This comes as a surprise to many and means that they miss out seeing some of the best places. The long daylight hours can fool you into thinking it is earlier than it really is so keep an eye on your watch. Always check the opening times for key attractions you wish to visit.

Also check for seasonal opening variations. Some attractions may be closed over the winter months, and indeed one of the best castles near Inverness (Cawdor Castle) doesn’t open until May.

Visiting a Distillery

Scotland is world famous for its Whisky, and there are many distilleries you can visit to learn about the production process and also sample some of the produce. Not all distilleries offer tours, but many do and if this is something you wish to do then you will find plenty of choice within easy reach of Inverness. Whilst there are no distilleries within Inverness itself, within 25 miles there are 4 distilleries (Glen Ord, Tomatin, Dalmore and Benromach) all offering tours. If you are travelling north of Inverness, you may wish to check out Glenmorangie distillery in Tain, or just a little further north is Balblair distillery.

If you are looking for more choice then the epicentre of the Speyside whisky industry is around Dufftown which is just over 50 miles from Inverness and here you will find plenty of distilleries, large and small, all waiting to impress you with their amber nectar.During the summer months most distilleries are open from Monday to Saturday (many also open on Sunday). The first tours are usually around 10am with the last tours at around 4pm. Outside of Summer you may find much more restricted opening times, and many do not open at weekends.

Please remember that Scotland has strict drink drive laws and we recommend that you do not combine the two. There are many companies offering Whisky Tours so you can fully enjoy the experience without having to do the driving.

Seeing Dolphins, Red Deer, Red Squirrels & Other Wildlife

Moray Firth DolphinScotland is a haven for wildlife and there are several species that should be on the must see list. Scotland’s big 5 are, Golden Eagles, Red Squirrels, Red Deer, Otters and Harbour seals, all of which can be found in the Highlands.

Near Inverness on the Moray Firth we have a resident population of Bottlenose dolphins. These dolphins regularly appear near the city and land based dolphin watching at Chanonry Point is a popular pastime. The best chance of seeing the dolphins is on a turning tide as it moves from low tide. Just ask us and we’ll let you know the tide times.

Another popular species that can be seen in Scotland is the Osprey. This magnificent bird is a summer visitor to the UK and they can be regularly seen fishing in the local area. There is a specialist viewing point at Loch Garten where Ospreys can be seen nesting.

Of course there are lots of other animals for you to enjoy such as Red Kites, Basking Sharks, Pine Martins, Grouse, Scottish Wildcats (rarely seen), Roe and Sika Deer, Mountain Hares and many others. If visiting Loch Ness you may even be lucky enough to see our very own Nessie!

Live Music

Scotland has a rich tradition of music and you are never too far away from the skirl of the bagpipes. However, we have much more to offer and in Inverness there is a wide variety of live music with performances taking place on every night of the week.

Regular folk sessions take place at several pubs in the town centre and music is often a main attraction at Eden Court Theatre and The Ironworks.

How many photographs will I take?

Guest often ask us where they can buy additional memory cards for their cameras. We can only conclude that people under-estimate how many pictures they will take. Our advice is that you should plan on taking at least twice as many memory cards as you normally expect to need. Cards are fairly cheap these days but it is better to have spare capacity rather than run out of room just as the most spectacular scene opens up before you.

For inspiration on places to visit why not check out our webpage showcasing some of our wonderful wildlife and scenery. http://www.inverglenguesthouse.co.uk/highland-scenery

Favourite Photo Locations

As you may know, we also run photography workshops (single and multi day trips), and on our photography website we have started a blog giving details of our favourite photo locations. Why not visit our blog for a little inspiration as we add more locations – Inverglen Photography Blog

Enjoy every day! – This is our best piece of advice.
With so many things to see and do an early start and a well-planned route will ensure you have treasured memories and spectacular photographs!

We want all our guests to get the most out of their visit to Scotland. We really enjoy helping you  plan your day so just ask if there is anything you want to know.

Inverglen Guest House is the ideal base from which to explore the highlands of Scotland.
We look forward to welcoming you to our home, where we hope you will also feel like it is your home as well.

Moist Coconut Loaf Cake

Moist Coconut Loaf Cake

This cake has been a real hit with guests since Susan added it to her repertoire. It’s really moist rather than dry like some coconut cakes, and also, because John doesn’t like coconut, it lasts really well in a tin! As we’ve had so many recipe requests, this is the latest addition to our blog posts. We’d love to hear how you get on with the cake if you bake it at home, so please share your photos and thoughts with us on Facebook or by email. Enjoy! 

Recipe

175g softened butter

175mls coconut milk

290g sugar

3 eggs (beaten)

6 tablespoonfuls desiccated coconut

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping

4 tablespoons coconut milk

1 tablespoon desiccated coconut

 

Recipe

Preheat oven to Gas 3, 160C, 300F, and grease and line a loaf tin.

Make the cake batter by creaming together the butter and sugar, then gradually add the eggs until fully combined.

Mix together the dry ingredients, and add half the flour mix and half the coconut milk. Combine well, then add the remaining ingredients and fold in until fully combined.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin, level the surface, and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Place the cake tin onto a wire rack, and whilst the cake is still hot poke holes all over using a skewer, then pour over the coconut milk and coconut from the topping ingredients.

Allow to cool completely before removing from tin, and store cake in an airtight container.

Reflections on 2017 and Looking Forward to 2018

Corgarf Castle in the snow

Seasons Greetings from Inverglen Guest House

As 2017 draws to a close we would like to wish you all the best for the festive season and hope you have a wonderful 2018. We have also taken time to reflect on the year that has passed and look forward to all that 2018 has in store.

Once again Scotland proved a popular destination and we were extremely busy from late March through to the end of October with guests from all over the world. The Highlands of Scotland has much to offer and early indications are that 2018 will be busier than ever, so we are enjoying a couple of months of relative quiet before things take off again.

The popularity of Scotland will no doubt be further enhanced by the fact that in 2017 The Rough Guide declared Scotland to be the most beautiful country in the world – https://www.roughguides.com/gallery/most-beautiful-country-in-the-world/ (scroll to the bottom of the link to see Scotland at #1)

The Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards – 2017
Inverglen is the Most Hospitable Guest House / Bed & BreakfastHITA-Winner-logo-Winners-2017

HITA 2017 - Most Hospitable Guest House
HITA 2017 at Drumossie Hotel
Most Hospitable B&B / Guest House – Inverglen Guest House

In November 2017 Inverglen Guest House was announced as the winner of The Most Hospitable Guest House / Bed and Breakfast provider at the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. The judges were impressed by our authentic and genuinely warm hospitality backed up with a clear ethos and proven track record of exceptional care and hospitality.

We are genuinely delighted to win this award, especially having been a previous finalist, and knowing the exceptional standard of hospitality offered by our fellow finalists. We continue to strive for even better customer experiences and look forward to demonstrating this to all our guests in 2018 and beyond.

As winners for the Highlands and Islands region, we now go forward to the National Thistle Awards to be held in Edinburgh in March.

To find out more about these awards click here.

What does 2018 have in Store

There is a great sense of anticipation that Scotland will once again be a popular destination for tourists from around the world. One of our major draws is that the Highlands is still one of the most sparsely populated areas in Western Europe, but it does mean that in the height of summer, it can be extremely difficult to find accommodation in “hot spots” like Inverness and Skye. We do urge that you book early to avoid disappointment (already we have dates where we are sold out).

For those that do come there is plenty to do so hopefully the following will whet your appetite.

The North Coast 500 (NC500) – Perhaps the best scenic drive in the world

The popularity of the Scottish Highlands has always been centred around its wonderful landscape and rich history, and these themes continue to attract the visitors. The success of the North Coast 500 has prompted many visitors to extend their explorations and this 500-mile driving route runs all around the northernmost coast of mainland Scotland with Inverness acting as the start and finish point. This is indeed a spectacular route, but it does get very busy so do book accommodation well in advance.

Inverglen Guest House has been a popular place to stay for tourists undertaking this glorious road trip, with many choosing to stay with us before they start and after they finish. We fully expect the number of guests travelling this route to increase in 2018.

You can find out more about the NC500 at – https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/tours/driving-road-trips/north-coast-500/

One of the many majestic views on the NC500
Ardvreck Castle
Ardvreck Castle on Loch Assynt

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Isle of Skye – Spectacular Scenery but extremely busy

The Isle of Skye has continued to grow in popularity to the extent that finding accommodation on the Island in Summer can be almost impossible. In 2017 it even made national television news as the island was officially declared as “full” and authorities advised that people should not go unless they had accommodation already booked. One way to get around the accommodation problem on Skye is to plan day visits from further afield and there are many tour operators offering trips from Inverness. To find out about many of the tour operators in the Inverness area click here.

Despite being so busy, there is no doubting the wonderful scenery Skye has to offer.

 Outlander – Where history and fiction come together

Jacobite Charge

Another noticeable trend for 2017 was the increase in visitors inspired by the Outlander books and television series. The story of Claire and Jamie has caught the world’s imagination and Inverness provides the perfect base to explore where fact and fiction collide. Culloden Battlefield and the Clava Cairns (standing stones), which are both so central to the story, are just a few miles from Inverness. There are several Inverness based tour companies offering Outlander inspired days, but do book early as demand continues to outstrip supply.

For those seeking the full Outlander experience we particularly recommend Outlander: The Past Lives Experience. Available as a 1,2,4 or 6-day experience, this is one of the most comprehensive tour packages available and promises some truly unique experiences.

Photography Tours – A great way to capture lasting memories

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle
Buachaille Etive Mor
Buachaille Etive Mor
Glen Affric
Glen Affric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2017 we also started offering photography day tours (and half days) for up to three people. These tours suit photographers of all abilities, from beginner to enthusiast, and provide a great way to see the wonderful highland landscapes and capture some great images as treasured memories. These tours have very limited availability so early booking is essential for 2018.

For more details on our photography tours – click here

For those unable to take a tour, you can still grab some great images of the Scottish Highlands so why not visit our online store. Images for Sale

Scottish Food and Drink – One of life’s great pleasures

 

Taste our Best Award

Whilst our wonderful landscape and rich history continue to be the main reasons for visiting the highlands, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that Scotland has a growing reputation for excellent food and drink. Our climate and terrain are perfectly suited to producing great food and especially glorious seafood and quality beef, venison and lamb. Our Scottish berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries – to name but a few) are amongst the best in the world, and we have excellent restaurants producing innovative creations from these choice ingredients.

As seen in 2017, the restaurants of Inverness have been a major success, but do be aware that in summer (and at weekends throughout the year) they are extremely busy and advance reservations are definitely recommended. You can find some great suggestions for places to eat and drink in Inverness by clicking here.

When it comes to drink the Scots have long been producing great whisky, but there is a growing reputation for producing superb gin and excellent craft ales.

Whilst staying at Inverglen Guest House you can be assured of great food and we are Quality Assured under the Taste our Best scheme run by Visit Scotland.

The Heathmount

The Mustard Seed

Rocpool

 

 

 

A year of Great Events – Something for everyone

Loch Ness Marathon
Loch Ness Marathon
Highland Games Event
Highland Games

Whatever your reason for visiting you will find plenty to keep you entertained and Inverness and the surrounding area has a whole year of great events lined up for you. You can check out our events page for a fuller listing of the major events taking place, but here are just a few to whet your appetite:

 

 

 

 

Inverglen Named The Most Hospitable Guest House

Inverglen is a winner at the 2017 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards

 

HITA-Winner-logo-Winners-2017The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards is one of the most prestigious in Scotland and the 2017 Winners were announced at the Drumossie Hotel on Friday 3rd November.  55 finalists, including Inverglen Guest House, were vying for the coveted winners’ award.

These awards cover 16 categories which celebrate and recognise the best places to eat, drink and enjoy the scenery, hospitality, wildlife, history and culture of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. 

Inverglen Guest House was through to the final 4 in the category for Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House (having also been a finalist in 2015).

Given the tough competition, we were delighted to be named as winners of this fantastic award, topping off another wonderful year for Inverglen Guest House. We must also extend a big thank you to all our guests who have been so supportive of our business and who make our job a joy. For those of you returning to the Scotish Highlands we hope to see you again, and if you know someone else who is coming to the area then do let them know that they will be well looked after at Inverglen Guest House.

 

What were the Judges Looking for?

Scotland has a strong tradition of superb B&Bs and Guest Houses. In many areas, and especially in the Highlands and Islands, they are at the forefront of Scotland’s hospitality

HITA 2017 - Most Hospitable Guest House
HITA 2017 at Drumossie Hotel
Most Hospitable B&B / Guest House – Inverglen Guest House

reputation. They provide a personal and memorable experience for every guest that stays with them. The winner of this category is up against stiff competition with over 1,000 businesses operating in the region. The winner of this category will consistently demonstrate that they are going the extra mile to provide heart-warming levels of customer service to every guest who steps through the door.

 The judges further wanted to see a clear ethos, a proven track record and examples of exceptional customer care and hospitality in both qualitative and quantitative measures. 

Lemon, Almond & Blueberry Muffins

 

 

Inverglen Guest House was especially commended for having excellent customer engagement, especially via our website and social media. In particular, we have an active Facebook Page (please do like our page if you have not already done so) where we try to ensure guests have information to help them get the most from their stay with us.

Whilst not specifically mentioned, we are convinced that the judges will have noticed just how many guests comment on the wonderful cakes and muffins that Susan bakes. These have become so popular that we have even started to publish recipes on our website.

 

Aa winners we now go on to battle it out at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in March 2018.  For more information about the Scottish Thistle Awards, click here.

 

 

The full list of winners at the 2017 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards were:

Best Restaurant Experience
Links House at Royal Dornoch

Best Informal Eating Experience
Gordon Castle Walled Garden

Most Hospitable B&B / Guest House
Inverglen Guest House

Most Hospitable Hotel
The Torridon

Best Accommodation Provider
Portavadie

Best Accommodation Provider – Judges Commendation
Cuil Moss Cottage

Best Visitor Attraction
Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre

Best Visitor Attraction – Judges Commendation
Isle of Harris Distillers

Best Cultural Event or Festival
Hebridean Celtic Festival

Best Outdoor / Adventure Experience
Go to St Kilda

Best Sporting Event
Fort William UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Best Bar / Pub
Ferry Inn, Stromness

Innovation in Tourism
Ghillie Basan

Working Together for Tourism
The Malt Whisky Trail

Tourism and Hospitality Hero
Peter Cowe, Culloden Battlefield

Best Heritage Tourism Experience
Eilean Donan Castle

Highland Rising Star
Charlotte Poynton, The Three Chimneys

Highland Ambassador
Captain Iain Dunderdale

 

A Very Special Offer

Stay 3, 4 or 5 Nights and get the last night free

November Sunset over Loch Ness
November Sunset over Loch Ness

The nights may be drawing in as we head into Winter, but we have just the thing to raise your spirits. 

During November and December 2017 we have a very special offer running – book to stay for 3, 4  or 5 nights and get the last night free. Yes the last night is absolutely free, no cost, not a penny, completely without charge! You will still get our wonderful breakfasts, even on the free night, so why not take a few days to enjoy our Highland Hospitality.

Click here to get your free night – requires a minimum of a 3-night stay in November or December 2017. Conditions apply.

 

Christmas tree in Falcon Square Inverness
Christmas Shopping in Inverness

Inverness is a great place to visit in November and December. We have fantastic shops brimming with gifts and ideas for the festive season. We also have two fantastic Christmas Art, Craft and Food Fairs at Eden Court on 17,18 & 19 November, and again on 8,9 & 10 December. These events are run by Exclusively Highlands and are well worth a visit.

We also have a tremendous free fireworks display which will take place on Saturday 4th November. This is the biggest display in the highlands and includes 20 minutes of spectacular fireworks.

Inverness Farmers Market will also be up and running on 4th November and 2nd December, with an extra date also on 16th December.

November (8th – 19th) also sees the return of the Colours of Cluny event at Forres. After a successful inaugural event in 2016, the sound and light show will once again enhance the dramatic landscape of Forres’ Grant Park and Cluny Hill in a mixture of mesmerising sound and colourful light. 

You will also find a great variety of entertainment throughout November and December, with fantastic events at several locations including Eden Court Theatre and The Ironworks

Inverness & River Ness at Night
Inverness & River Ness at Night

All you have to do to get this wonderful deal is book using this link and as long as you book for 3, 4 or 5 nights and your stay is started and finished during November or December 2017 then the last night will be free of charge.

This free night offer is only available during November and December 2017 and must be booked using the links on our website. The free night will be automatically applied when you book for 3,4 or 5 nights. Do include all the nights you require as we cannot add the free night to a 2-night booking.

This offer is subject to availability and may not be available on all dates, or for all rooms, during the offer period.

 

Lemon, Almond & Blueberry Muffins

Lemon, Almond & Blueberry Muffins

Lemon, Almond & Blueberry Muffins

Delicious, light and fruity, these moist muffins are very easy to prepare and they taste delicious. I might try them with orange juice and zest one day, as I think the citrus flavour really adds something to the sweet blueberries and toasted almonds. Anyway, give them a try, and let me know what you think, and if you try any variations please share with me – I do love a little experiment in the kitchen!

 

Recipe

260g plain flour

160g caster sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¼ teaspoon salt

25g ground almonds

50g flaked almonds (plus extra to scatter on top)

Finely grated zest 1 lemon

Juice 1 lemon

1 large egg

125mls natural yoghurt

125mls milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

80mls vegetable oil

150g fresh or frozen blueberries

 

Method

Preheat oven to Gas 6, 200C, 400F, and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl beat together all the wet ingredients, then add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and stir through the mixture.

Spoon equally into the muffin cases, then sprinkle a few flaked almonds over the top of each muffin. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until well risen, lightly browned, and when a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. If you like a glazed muffin, mix together some butter, icing sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the muffins before serving – although they are delicious just as they are with just a little-dusted icing sugar.

A Very Special Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea with a View

 

Bunchrew House

A short drive from Inverness will bring you to the spectacular Bunchrew House situated right on the shore of The Beauly Firth.

The House originates from the 16th century and is a superb example of the architecture of the day. At over 400 years old, Bunchrew House is a clear reminder of the rich history of the Scottish Highlands.

These days the house is a hotel with a restaurant that is open to non-residents.

Another aspect of this grand house is that it has one of the best afternoon teas you’ll find anywhere. Indeed, it was a sunny afternoon in July that saw up decide to treat ourselves and while away a few hours in the simple pleasure of afternoon tea complete with delightful cakes, sandwiches and pies. We actually struck lucky, as at the time of our visit they were including a free glass of Prosseco which just added to the satisfaction.

As you can see from the pictures below, the lounge combines original features with sumptuous furnishings, giving you a real sense that this is a luxury to be savoured.

Susan at Bunchrew House

John at Bunchrew House
John has delusions of grandeur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The afternoon tea itself was absolutely fantastic, and you will certainly need to bring a healthy appetite. As well as a bottomless pot of Tea (or Coffee if preferred), and the complimentary glass of Presseco, we enjoyed a platter that included homemade mini rolls, savoury choux buns, mini pork and apple sausage rolls, homemade warm scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam and today’s delicate array of homemade cakes and patisseries.

If like us, you enjoy the occasional treat, then a visit to Bunchrew house for afternoon tea may be just the thing for you. Just a word of caution – it is very popular so advance booking may be needed.

John with Afternoon Tea
A fine spread

Choux Swans Afternoon Treats Heart Shaped Delight

Falls of Shin Reopened

New Visitor Centre at Falls of Shin

Falls of Shin Visitor Centre
The New Falls of Shin Visitor Centre

In May 2013, a fire swept through the Falls of Shin visitor centre completely destroying it. This was a major tragedy for the area as it was a significant attraction for tourists and provided a source of employment for the local community.

Four years after this devastating event, the new Falls of Shin Visitor Centre is now reopened. There is a superb restaurant serving delicious meals, snacks refreshments and cakes, as well as a gift shop that has an excellent range of quality products from local suppliers. There are also woodland walks, a play-park and viewing areas for the falls and, of course, the leaping Salmon as they head upstream to their spawning grounds.

The falls are an easy day trip from Inverness and can be combined with visits to several distilleries (The Dalmore, Glenmorangie and Balblair), potteries (Tain and ANTA) and artisan glass makers Glasstorm

More details about The Falls of Shin

 

 

 

Leaping Salmon at Falls of Shin
Leaping Salmon at Falls of Shin
Leaping Salmon at Falls of Shin
Leaping Salmon at Falls of Shin

Jacobite Uprisings

Scottish History – Jacobite Uprisings

Jacobite Charge

When visiting the Highlands of Scotland, and Inverness in particular, you can’t help but be aware of the various Jacobite uprisings. Although the uprising of 1745 is perhaps the best known, there were earlier uprisings, rebellions and battles in earlier years. The various conflicts follow on from the from the deposition of James II (or James VII as he was known in Scotland) in “The Glorious Revolution” of 1688 until the death of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1788.

The 1745 uprising is best remembered for it culminating in the Battle of Culloden, a sodden battlefield on the outskirts of Inverness, on 16 April 1746. This bloody conflict left over 1,200 dead in just one hour. It was the last battle to be fought on British soil.

The Risings of 1689 – 1690

Snow capped mountains beside Loch Cluanie
Loch Cluanie

 

The first risings broke out in 1689, when Viscount Dundee, an ardent supporter of James II, rallied troops and turned to military action against William and Mary’s government forces.

The most famous battle of this uprising was at Killiecrankie where the Government troops were routed by the Jacobite forces. Both sides suffered heavy losses and Viscount Dundee was killed. Despite the victory at Killiecrankie, the Highlanders were unable to capitalise on their success and were decisively defeated at Dunkeld just three weeks later.

The Risings of  1708, 1715 and 1719

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

In 1707, The Acts of Union were passed by the English and Scottish Parliaments. This allowed the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain on 1 May 1707. This union dismayed those who supported the Jacobite cause. Following the Acts of Union, James VIII/III made two attempts to claim the throne in 1708 and in 1715. 

The ‘Little Rising’ of 1719, saw a force of 300 Spanish soldiers land at Lochalsh. They joined fewer than a thousand Highlanders and based themselves at Eilean Donan Castle. The Spanish force was originally much larger, but many ships had been destroyed by a storm. Unfortunately, for them, Hanoverian ships shelled the castle and the only battle was at Glen Shiel where the Jacobites were defeated by a Government army led by General Joseph Wightman.

The Rising of 1745

Old Leanach Cottage - Culloden Battlefield
Old Leanach Cottage – Culloden Battlefield

Fans of Outlander (books by Diana Gabaldon, and recently a major TV series) will be familiar with this period of Scottish history. The stories revolve around the period leading up to the rising of 1745, and the recently shown series 2 has our heroes in France where they encounter Bonnie Prince Charlie seeking to raise funds for his uprising.

In reality, after failing to persuade the French government to commit to another invasion, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the ‘Young Pretender’, decided to fund his own rising. He sailed from France to Scotland, arriving on Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in July 1745 and then travelled across the Highlands, to assemble a Jacobite army.

Initially, the uprising met with considerable success. Most of its support was from the north-east and the Highland clans. The Jacobite army captured Edinburgh and managed to advance as far south as Derby in England. Prince Charles was hopeful that their success would encourage French support, but it never materialised, and the army retreated back to their stronghold in the Highlands and was finally defeated at Culloden Moor near Inverness in 1746.

The slideshow below consists of images from a Jacobite uprising re-enactment that took place at The Highland Folk Museum.

 

Inverness Highland Games & Gala Day 2017

Inverness Highland Games & Gala Day 2017

Highland Games Event
Highland Games

Two of the most popular events in the Highland calendar come to Inverness this weekend.

Saturday 15 July – Inverness Highland Games

The Inverness Highland Games will take place at Bught Park commencing at 11 am. Founded in 1822 the Inverness Highland Games is one of the most spectacular traditional gatherings staged in Scotland and is one of the highlights of any visit to the Highland capital city of Inverness.

Events include a full programme of running, jumping and throwing events, as well as Scottish Country Dancing and the spectacle of Massed Pipes and Drums. Of course, for may, the highlight will be the “Heavies” events including everyone’s favourite “Tossing the Caber”.

You can learn more about the Highland Games in our blog post – A Brief Introduction to the Highland Games

 

Sunday 16th July – Inverness Gala day

The major attraction for the 2017 Inverness Gala Day will see over 10,000 folk heading to Bught Parkto see the Bryan Adams concert. However, this is only part of what promises to be the Summer of 2017’s biggest party in the Highlands. 

The Gala Day opens with the Inverness Shinty Sixes in Bught Park Stadium from 11 am  (learn more about shinty in our blog post –  Highland Games & Other Sports)

 From 3 pm centre stage turns to the  Highland’s Strongest Man and Strongest Women events.

If you are feeling courageous you can take part in the Zip Slide over the River  Ness, or you can explore our Giant Craft Fair or Highland Games Traders village. Admission is free and everybody is welcome.

 

Inverglen Guest House wishes all those competing in the various events the best of luck, and are sure that many of our guests will be cheering you along.

 

A Monster Drama for Loch Ness

Drama comes to Loch Ness

Loch Ness has long been a must-see destination in the Scottish Highlands. Some visitors come for the gorgeous landscape, some come to explore the rich history, and some come to see if they can see (and photograph) the elusive Loch Ness Monster (or Nessie as she is affectionately known). Now there is another reason to come to Loch Ness – the hugely successful ITV television drama “The Loch” showcases the wonderful scenery of this Highland Gem as Fort Augustus (at the western end of Loch Ness) is used as the location for the fictional town of Lochnafoy.

The sun is setting over Loch Ness
Sunset at Loch Ness

If you want to see why the Scottish Highlands is a favourite with film and tv companies why not stay at Inverglen Guest House in Inverness. Thus provides the perfect base for exploring locations not only used in this latest TV drama, but also locations used in Outlander, Harry Potter, Skyfall, Rob Roy, Highlander, Game of Thrones, and much more.