Well, apparently the weather had been beautiful all week, but Saturday in Inverness was kind of dreich – dreech = dull, damp, miserable weather – so we hung out at home for the morning, eventually piling into the car, Sasha included, for the drive out past Nairn to Brodie for lunch. There’s a castle at Brodie - I saw it once years ago – but lunch was in the cafe of Brodie Countryfayre, a rather splendid retail outlet nearby, with its departments of luxury items from food to clothes and interior decor. The Cullen Skink wasn’t as good as it could have been! It was excellent potato soup but somehow the essential flavour of smoked haddock was missing. Rick Stein’s recipe is a good one, if you fancy tasting it yourself.
After lunch we drove through Nairn and headed for the beach so that Sasha could have a run-about. The sand looked lovely, soft, golden and inviting, but the rain had come on again and there was a strong chilling breeze.
I got out of the car to take a couple or so photographs, but was glad to be back out of the elements again. Despite our short acquaintance, Sasha had quite taken to me, and as Ray set off along the shore she stood quite still staring at me as if to say “Aren’t you coming too?” Not this time, chum!
The coast, east of Inverness, was well settled by folk who made their living from the sea. The men built their boats – some of my ancestors came from further along the coast and were involved in the boat building trade – and went to sea to “the fishing”. The women mended nets, collected bait, baited lines, smoked a portion of the fish their men brought home and sold it… all in addition to looking after the home and family . Above is a monument to the fishwives who carried the fish in wicker creels on their backs, selling round the doors of the local area.
Sasha having had her run, we continued on our way back towards Inverness, detouring once more to look at Fort George, built in the aftermath of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. It was really too late – and too wet and cold – to visit at that time and we couldn’t see over the walls or through the entrance gate so I contented myself with photos of the pepperpot turrets that quite took my fancy!
There are more pictures and descriptions of the place on the website you’ll find if you click “Fort George” above. It’s well worth a look. Our pepperpots were to be found on the upper right corner of the main fort photo. Janet says they have an annual fair at the fort which is a great event so maybe I’ll try and go up to see that sometime.
They were beautiful, flying over their grassy sea!
Back in Inverness, Ray wanted to show me the city’s answer to the Three Graces, a newly refurbished trio of statues, recently set on a new sandstone plinth in the gardens below the 19th century castle. To say he was not best pleased with them was an understatement! Faith, Hope and Charity had not been cleaned up as he thought they should be, and the sandstone plinth looked wrong with these three old girls standing atop it! Have to say I would have thought that some of the blackness could still have been removed, and I agree the plinth is not right. I think I would have had them each standing on their own smaller plinths at differing heights, like the 1st, 2nd and third prize winners’ podia at a sports stadium, though in a triangle formation. Oh, but who are we…….! The ladies stand facing the river Ness , so I took a photo looking downriver to the main road bridge.
The concrete block to the right of the two spires is a modern “shops and office block” in the centre of the Victorian city. In fact Inverness is a bit of a hotch potch of styles, which don’t really fit happily together. Apparently there have been ideas to regenerate the city centre, but there has never been a definitive plan, resulting in what seems to be a series of rather disastrous mistakes being made, with for example, a classic old library building lost behind the bus station, when there could have been a beautiful park to enhance the Georgian columns, and the bus station sited nearer the railway station… Ray says a recently refurbished shopping mall is to be rethought and probably pulled down to start all over again! Such a shame that it wasn’t all planned out at the beginning as an ongoing scheme. Anyway, that’s city planners for you!
Talk again soon.