Review of 2016 – The Highlights

Inverness City Centre lights reflected in the River Ness
Inverness City Centre

Well, 2016 is drawing to a close and we have met so many lovely guests over the course of the year. We have also been out and about sampling some of the best that Scotland has to offer, so here are some of our year’s highlights to tempt you to visit in 2017 maybe at a different time of year!

January to March

January through to March is our quietest time of year and we tend to use it for any redecoration or refurbishment that is needed. During 2016 we used this time to redecorate the dining room and also completely refurbish our super king room (which now looks fabulous – see Luxury New Superking Room). These winter months also deliver many clear, crisp days which are fantastic for getting outside and enjoying the scenery.

In 2016 we resolved to do a few walks in our quiet periods and we particularly enjoyed visiting  Ormond Castle on the Black Isle, Loch Ruthven (an RSPB reserve) on South Loch Ness, and a walk up into the hills above Daviot. 

We also enjoyed lovely walks around Culloden Woods where you can find a historic Clootie Well, the spectacular Loch Cluanie on the way to Glenshiel, and Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park. The gallery below highlights just a few of the places we visited between January and March.

 

Whilst summer may be our busiest period for events, we have several over the first three months of the year, and two superb winter events that are well worth attending are The Aviemore Dog Sled event held in January and in February the Snowman Rally. These are always exciting sporting events for spectators. Click on the images below to learn more about these events.

The Snowman Rally
The Snowman Rally
Aviemore Sled Dog Rally
Aviemore Sled Dog Rally

April to June

As winter slips away so the landscape changes and the days get ever longer. In April, before the season gets fully underway, we like to take a trip somewhere in Scotland to admire the spectacular beauty we have all around us. This year we took a trip to the West Coast, staying in Dornie which is probably best known for the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. This is a location we have visited many times before, but this was the first time we have actually got to visit inside the castle. It was also the first time we had been at the Castle at sunset and John managed to capture the image below. A large copy of this image now adorns our breakfast room and looks magnificent.

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst staying in Dornie we took a few day trips across to Skye and finally visited the Quiraing where John got some spectacular photographs. We would have liked to have stayed on Skye, but it’s very busy, even in April, so if you are planning a trip book well in advance otherwise accommodation can be very hard to find, or very expensive. Skye is a photographers paradise so do be prepared for lots of stops. Click on the image below to see more images of the Isle of Skye.

Fairy Pools
Click to Visit our Isle of Skye gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also took a trip to Atterdale Gardens, which were very beautiful and well worth a visit even though it was early in the season in terms of flowering plants.

Another major event for April is the Loch Ness Etape. This is a cycle race going right around the whole of the loch which starts and finishes in the city centre.

In May we visited the Gordon Castle Highland Games in Fochabers which is one of the first gathering and games of the year. This fun event is more than just a highland games with an excellent array of specialist vendors selling a wide variety of Scottish produce. 

July to September

By July we were in the full swing of the summer events, and Inverness was certainly busy with many activities taking place. Key events in July included the first ever Inverness Tipsy Tea Party held in aid of the Women’s Aid charity. Susan & her landlady friends decided this was an event not to be missed, so if you see lots of women in party dresses and decorated wellies next year you’ll know they decided to make this an annual fundraiser!

Highland Games are also in full swing throughout this period and key events include games in Inverness, Forres, Nairn, Dornoch and Drumnadrochit. 

As well as the Inverness Games, John also attended the Nairn Highland Games for the first time, which he thoroughly enjoyed. The Nairn games have a fantastic setting right beside the sea and it feels like a truly authentic gathering. We certainly recommend this one for our guests.

August is probably the busiest month of the year, yet we decided to take some time out ourselves to visit Edinburgh for the festivals and Royal Military Tattoo at the Castle. They say the population of Edinburgh doubles during August and it certainly seemed that way. It is a frantic and fantastic place to visit, but not the time to go if you aren’t interested in the festival events or would prefer it quieter.

We had a fantastic time in Edinburgh, but at the end of our short stay, we were looking forward to getting back to the relative calm of Inverness. Luckily for us, Edinburgh is an easy journey and we would make 2 more return visits before the end of 2016.

Below are some of our pictures from The Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

It was actually a year of two tattoos for us, as we also took our family to see the Highland Military Tattoo at Fort George in September. This is the second largest Tattoo in Scotland and the setting at Fort George is spectacular. It was a first Tattoo for our parents (all in their 80s) and everyone had a great time. The Highland Military Tattoo will be returning to Fort George in 2017 and we have no hesitation in recommending it as a must see event.

Choir at The Highland Tatoo
Military Wives Choir at The Highland Military Tattoo

 

Later in September we also hosted some of the wedding guests for our neighbours and had a novice marathon runner staying who was completing the wonderful  Loch Ness Marathon fir the first time. The marathon is one of the most scenic routes in the UK, starting in Whitebridge with the route winding through the countryside on the south side of Loch Ness, and finishing in Bught Park just over the River Ness. For those who feel a marathon is a bit too far, why not take part in either the 5k or 10k races. Here are just a few pictures to inspire the runners amongst you. If you took part in the 2016 event (particularly those in the 10k race), you may find your efforts captured below.

 We also had a brand new festival arrive in Inverness this year. Apparently, knitting is highly fashionable and this prompted the initiation of Knit Fest 2016. The popularity is definitely female biased, but we are told that men are by no means strangers to the knitting craze. We had a number of guests visiting to attend Knit Fest and judging by the feedback a great time was had by all. Loch Ness Knit Fest 2017 is already confirmed for October 2017 and we will be posting more details in due course.

October to December

The days may start to draw in, but the fun continues. Indeed, from September through to November saw Inverness and the highlands enjoying some of the most fantastic weather. It may have been a little chilly on some days, but there was no shortage of sunshine. With a few quieter days in the diary, John managed to get out more with the camera and here are a selection of the wonderful images he managed to get.

Rogie Falls
Trees in autumnal colours beside the river Ness
River Ness In Autumn Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loch Affric in early autumn colours
Loch Affric
The sun is setting over Loch Ness
Sunset at Loch Ness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another wonderful event in October is the Inverness Street Festival. Held over a 3 day period, Inverness plays host to a variety of fantastic street performers. Here are just a few images that show the wonderful talent on display. This is a completely free event and one of our personal favourites.

We also took another trip down to Edinburgh for the Botanic Lights Event at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, and also managed a short trip to Budapest.

This year we also went across to Forres for the first ever Colours of Cluny event, held in the forests around the tower. Similar to the Pitlochry Enchanted Forest event, we enjoyed both lighting displays and we were really lucky to have dry, clear nights for both displays.  Now we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas and Hogmanay at home, and plan to go down to the Red Hot Highland Fling to bring in the New Year.

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this skip through our highlights, and we’d like to thank everyone for their custom this year and would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

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Review of 2016 – The Highlights