Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Big Trip North - Day 2

Today saw us up reasonably early, in time to enjoy a fried breakfast...we'd need it during the day in order to fortify us from the biting wind we'd soon experience, for today we ventured to Fort George and the museum of The Highlanders.
Barrie and Sandy feeling the cold...

The initial signs were not we arrived at the ticket office to be told "we've no power!". Yes, it seemed we arrived on the day they'd turned the power off to test it!

Fortunately some of the areas to visit didn't require power, so we trekked around the base, visiting the battlements, and looking for dolphins who didn't make any kind of appearance. By this time power had been restored so our visit wasn't wasted.
We visited the historic barrack room to see how soldiers lived in the Fort in the past, with different rooms representing different periods from history.

Other ranks barrack room from the late 1800s.

We then paid a visit to the Chapel, which contained a number of memorials ranging from the early 1800s to recent memorials commemmorating deaths in Afghanistan.

The front of the chapel. The drums belong to The Black Watch.

The Fort is an active army base, and The Black Watch are currently stationed there... you can't miss them as many soldiers pass you at various times of the day. We also couldn't escape the practising of bugle calls as well as gunfire from the nearby firing ranges.

Finally, we made our way to The Highlanders Museum...

The museum is on three floors, and contains numerous artifacts from several centuries of not just one, but two regiments - the Seaforth Highlanders and the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.

There is a lot to take in, so I would recommend if you plan to visit give yourself plenty of time to see it all. Photography is not permitted in the museum so unfortunately I can't show you any of the exhibits - take my word for it thouggh, there are countless fascinating items to see, including sixteen Victoria Crosses. This is also the first museum I've visited that has two Field Marshals batons - I don't think any other military museum in Scotland can match that, can they?

The museum staff were very friendly and welcoming..even down to finding us when Barrie had bought something and they not only didn't charge him, but didn't give him his purchase! They looked throughout the fort for us, and even left word at every possible location in the fort we could visit! Top marks for service!

The rest of the day saw Barrie and myself pay a visit to Leakey's bookshop, which is located in Church Street in Inverness. I love a good bookshop, and you can't do better than a converted church filled with books! If money had been no object...I'd have needed a wheelbarrow.

So, our final day tomorrow...and possibly our busiest. Two museums in two cities - can we make it in time to Aberdeen for the Gordon Highlanders museum AND the Black Watch Museum in Perth? If we do, it'll mean driving for a total of nearly six hours...

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