18.05.2016 - 19.05.2016 12 °C
Yesterday morning we had another amazing breakfast - pancakes this time - and compared travel plans with our fellow guests, from Germany. We set off in the misty rain to Urquhart Castle (Historic Scotland strikes again) and there we were met by busload after busload of tourists, as well as boatloads of cruising tourists. It wasn't exactly ideal weather for cruising Loch Ness, so we didn't see many people sitting in the outdoor seating facilities onboard the vessel.
We met at the flagpole at 11.45am, as instructed, and awaited our guided tour. Another Englishman! Simon is getting exceptionally good at picking the Yorkshire accent now. We were hoping for another private tour, but just at the last minute, 14 Americans turned up and gatecrashed the tour. Ah well. Keith gave us some insight into the history of the castle, and we discovered that Simon comes from a mighty clan with a tendency to pilfer and pillage - those pesky McDonalds spent a lot of time being up to no good!
Once we were all Urquharted out, we returned to Inverness and parked the car (much more cheaply than we would have in England) to go for a stroll. In the space of an hour, we went past a castle, a cathedral, and crossed the River Ness, going via the Great Glen Way and the Ness Islands. And then ended up back in the main street of Inverness! Too easy. We scored a free drink (and the obvious accompaniment of free wifi) thanks to our Nectar points and sat and enjoyed the sweet warmth that only free hot chocolate can bring when it's raining outside. When the cafe finally closed, we had to progress to a pub for more warm-and-dry-ness. Simon had more cullen skink and heather honey beer, which meant he could go to sleep a happy man.
This morning we were away on schedule, heading south to Glasgow to return Feodor to his rightful owners, Europcar. Everything was going smoothly until, quite suddenly, it wasn't. Feodor started making an almighty squealing sound, so we pulled into a conveniently carpark at the House of Bruar. We called Europcar and the roadside assist team (after dealing with the problem that Simon had run out of phone credit) and messaged our Airbnb host to advise of the situation. We had an hour to wait for assistance, so we wandered the HoB... This was an experience in itself. No toilets, for a start - but cloakrooms! This shopping facility was tailored for a certain sort of somebody, that we were not. All the fanciness of the cloakrooms came with a downside though - gone were the engaged/vacant symbols that us peasants were accustomed to, as that would be far too ... Common. Oh no, none of that. Just fancy wooden doors which gave no indication if there was anyone doing their business behind them. Which meant you just had to wait until someone emerged from a 'cloak room' to know which one you could go into. Pfft. Fancy people are silly.
Our next source of entertainment was the old faithful deck of cards, but since 500 is a bit tricky to play within the confines of a Fiat 500, we played Fish. In Italian. And Spanish. As you do. This was obviously Simon's strength, because he beat me 2-0, and the third game was a draw. Never a dull moment when you are ninking!
When the assistance finally arrived, we were quickly able to be on our way again. I say 'quickly', because the extent of the mechanic skills required was flicking out a 'wee stone' that had lodged itself in the wheel, thus generating a horrendous noise. Right. Excellent. On our way again!
The rest of the day was blissfully uneventful - checked into our Airbnb, returned Feodor, walked back to the flat in the sniddling rain via Tesco for supplies and then settled in for a big night of Pointless, planning and pasta. Living life on the edge!