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Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th October 2003. A weekend spent in glorious Scotland, around the Inverness area.

Friday 21:20 Not long after boarding the train at Euston, me and Chie tried to get a picture of both of us making use of the mirror.

Friday 21:21 Being in bunk beds reminded me of being a kid again.

Friday 21:26 I'd prepared a bit of a bento, and me and Chie sat on the top bunk, eating it accompanied by some sake. Here's some edamame.

Friday 21:27 Me looking a bit daft, with some edamame.

Friday 21:28 The old edamame moustache. Erm.

Friday 21:38 Our sake of choice. Well, the cheapest one I could find actually.

Friday 21:46 I seem to be acting out a role from a Shakesperian tragedy here, whilst filling inari sushi. Possibly the first time this has been done on a sleeper train to Scotland.

Friday 21:46 A close-up of the inari filling process. Although to blurred to really make out.

Friday 21:58 Chie eating inari sushi.

Saturday 07:09 Our first view of Scotland, through the window, around when we woke up. I think this is Aviemore station, some way south of Inverness.

Saturday 07:21 Looks like we're still waiting at Aviemore station (you can still see the footbridge through the window here). Chie here making use of the facilities.

Saturday 08:04 Taken on arrival at Inverness station. Hoorah!

Saturday 08:04 Just to make absolutely clear where we are...

Saturday 08:16 We took a very brief wander through the centre of Inverness to go and pick up our hire car. Here's one of the bridges over the river.

Saturday 11:22 Our first port of call after picking up the hire car was The Glenlivet distillery.

Saturday 12:38 Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures in the distillery itself. So we just have this picture taken in the tasting room. The tour and tasting was free, which was quite surprising, although we did of course buy a bottle on the way out.

Saturday 15:44 After the distillery we had a bit of a drive around, and then went to check in at our hotel, The Craigdarroch House, on the banks of Loch Ness.

Saturday 15:44 This seems to have broken.

Saturday 15:46 Me and Chie and the rather nice four poster bed.

Saturday 16:38 After a cup of tea, we decided to have a bit of a wander in the area around the hotel.

Saturday 16:46 We followed a path up the side of a hill pointing to some waterfalls.

Saturday 16:50 Chie at the top of what was actually a fairly steep drop.

Saturday 16:53 The hill in the distance there had a sprinkling of snow on it.

Saturday 17:00 Mainly a fence really. But a very nicely situated one.

Saturday 17:01 An interesting self timer shot, relying perhaps too heavily on a fence as a makeshift tripod.

Saturday 17:01 Cliffs in the distance.

Saturday 17:07 Chie seemingly taking a picture of a tree.

Saturday 17:07 Very Caledonian, don't you think?

Saturday 17:09 On the way back to the hotel, there was a rather pleasing lighting effect as a late afternoon sun shon through these trees...

Saturday 17:10 ...can't decide if I prefer the first or the second.

Saturday 17:33 After our walk, we got in the car again to have a bit of a drive along by the side of Loch Ness.

Saturday 17:34 The Loch again.

Saturday 17:37 Obligatory Japanese tourist pose. We spent the rest of the evening in the hotel, where I didn't get around to taking any pictures.

Sunday 09:03 On our way down to breakfast, I took this picture of the view from the front of the hotel.

Sunday 09:04 More or less the same view again, but with a bit of that nice red foliage that covered the front of the hotel in shot.

Sunday 09:16 Me eating porridge, first course of breakfast.

Sunday 09:27 Chie on her second course, a full Scottish (the same as a full English, but including haggis).

Sunday 10:39 After checking out, the view from the front porch of the hotel.

Sunday 10:40 The front of the hotel. The building is seemingly fairly modern, but all the decor inside was like an old fashioned country house. Very nice.

Sunday 10:52 Before leaving the area around the hotel, we thought we'd go and take another look at the nearby falls, this time from the other end.

Sunday 10:52 A nice scene which reminds me of jungle explorers.

Sunday 10:54 Chie on a bridge.

Sunday 10:55 Another self timer shot.

Sunday 10:55 Rocks, water, greenery etc.

Sunday 10:58 I think this must be the main Foyer Falls the signs are referring to. Quite dramatic actually.

Sunday 10:58 The falls again, but higher up.

Sunday 12:08 Now this here is Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness.

Sunday 12:13 Chie was sheltering from the wind in what I guess is an ex bit of wall, strangely mounted on its side here.

Sunday 12:14 The castle's prison.

Sunday 12:15 Chie sheltering from the wind again...

Sunday 12:16 A view through one of the windows (or whatever you call them in castle terminology).

Sunday 12:20 The tower bit at the Northern (?) edge of the castle.

Sunday 12:22 Chie, inside the tower bit perhaps.

Sunday 12:27 Self timer shot, which doesn't include much of the castle.

Sunday 12:27 Including some of the loch...

Sunday 12:27 Err same as the last one more or less.

Sunday 12:33 Chie in a different bit of the castle...

Sunday 12:33 ...closer up.

Sunday 12:36 I quite liked the view, and took two shots to be on the safe side...

Sunday 12:36 ...I think I prefer the second one here.

Sunday 12:36 Maybe trying to get some more of the sky in.

Sunday 12:38 The little boat we had considered taking a quick tour of the loch on (but couldn't be bothered in the end).

Sunday 12:40 This is also quite a nice view...

Sunday 12:40 again I took it twice to be on the safe side.

Sunday 12:42 Chie and a telescope thing.

Sunday 12:43 Me, Chie and a telescope thing.

Sunday 12:48 Taken at random as we were heading back into the warmth of the coffee shop.

Sunday 13:33 Of course, you can't go anywhere famous without bumping into some Japanese people! Whereas usually I just point at them and stare a bit, I thought for a change I ought to engage them in conversation.

Sunday 13:52 After leaving the castle, we decided to motor along the road on the west side of the loch, which took us past the more touristy bits...

Sunday 13:52 of course here's a carbon fibre loch ness monster...

Sunday 14:08 We stopped by the side of the loch to get a few more pictures...

Sunday 14:08 monsters spotted unfortunately...

Sunday 14:08 Chie and our hire car for the weekend.

Sunday 15:56 After leaving Loch Ness, we were at a bit of a loss for what to do, so decided to have a drive around North of Inverness. We eventually stopped at a bridge with a nice view, got out to take a couple of pictures, and then turned round and went back...

Sunday 15:56 this represents the Northernmost place both me and Chie have ever been to.

Sunday 16:30 Back in Inverness, where the car parks have a "lady drivers only" area. Presumably the walls are padded and there are brushes on hand to sweep up after minor accidents.

Sunday 16:40 A map of the centre of Inverness, which I thought might come in handy.

Sunday 17:55 The nice footbridge over the river in Inverness, which leads to what I think is the cathedral.

Sunday 19:53 After a typically Scottish dinner (pizza) we went back to the station to get back on the train.

Sunday 19:54 Chie through the window.

Sunday 19:55 ...and again. Goodbye Scotland then!