Invergordon & Lerwick are the next ports of call. Scotland continues to show us a wonderful time! Come with me to visit the Highlands on the Emerald Isles cruise on Viking Sky.
Invergordon, a town of about 4,000, is thoroughly genuine and blissfully short on jaded tourist glitz, just the way I like it!
Although it’s the most popular cruise ship port of call in Scotland, it might look a bit bleak as you pull up to the dock. Its main industry is repairing oil rigs so there’s little glamour to the waterfront. But the town’s natural deep harbor (carved by glaciers) makes it the ideal cruise portal to the Highlands.
From shore you can head out to see the Loch Ness monster (approximately one hour ride), Culloden Battlefield (40 minute ride), the town of Inverness (30 minute ride) or one of many castles or whisky distilleries nearby. Culloden is powerfully moving site of the final Jacobite rising, the last and most harrowing pitched battle to be fought on British soil. (You’re likely to find some homespun charm — visitors are often greeted with a handwritten sign at the little tourism kiosk: “Welcome! 100% guaranteed sighting of Nessie tomorrow!”)
Murals and More
Take a short walk into the town center and you’ll find impressive murals, overflowing flowerboxes, small shops, cafes, banks — and friendly people happy to have a “wee chat.” Don’t forgo a shore excursion to hang out there, but if you have an extra hour or so, you can enjoy the murals and poking around High Street.
Depicting the history of the town, “Invergordon off the Wall” (IOTW) is an eclectic group putting together the outdoor art gallery of murals. IOTW had a vision to increase foot traffic through the town by creating unique attractions and also to bring the community closer. Each mural was commissioned by a different local community group, all united in their enthusiasm to transform the town through the power of heritage. “Evolution” is the current project – a series of three exciting sculptures inspired by the community and being created by the nationally acclaimed artists. The intention of these projects is regeneration and cohesion of the community.
Churches are an important part of history for this area so be sure not to miss the spire of the Church of Scotland which dominates the skyline, Catholic and Episcopal churches & the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are all located along the High Street. The Polish and Royal British Legion War Memorials provide a lasting memory of the importance of the role the people of Invergordon played during past years of conflict.
Looking to get your FitBit steps in? Take a longer scenic walk along both the east shore towards Saltburn Beach & woodland and westwards towards Linear Park which offer views of the imposing oil rigs berthed in the Cromarty Firth, Donkey Bridge, Old Rosskeen Church cemetery and the Dalmore Distillery.
On To Lerwick We Go
As the main town in Shetland, Lerwick is a standalone gem. This seafaring settlement has grown slowly but surely and is now a bustling port for trade, business and visitors to the isles.
It hasn’t all been all easy sailing for Lerwick. The town has been burnt down twice in its history! With its proud maritime heritage, Lerwick offers visitors an intriguing insight into the ancient Norse roots of the islands.
The Town Hall possesses notoriety all its own. Lerwick’s Town Hall was designed to dominate the surrounding townscape from its setting on the ridge of the Hillhead. Since its opening in 1883, it has served the town in its dual role as a prime venue for social or cultural events and a seat of local government. When entering this free of charge venue, you will find beautiful portraits of persons important to the history of Scotland, and fabulous stain glass windows considered a gem of they region. The windows depict important people in the history of Shetland, Norway and Scotland. The Hamburg Window (left) was meant to tell one of the most interesting stories in the building.
Arriving in the main port of the Shetland Islands, you are probably thinking Shetland Wool, as well you should. Other international destinations are known for Fashion Week, but this region is known for its “Shetland Wool Week,” held every September. Lerwick is an old town with narrow streets and steep narrow alley ways, paths and old stone buildings with lots of interesting shops. Walking along Commercial Street, you will find several wool brokers where you can purchase beautifully colored yarns or ready-made wool items.
Whether you are lucky enough to spot the Loch Ness monster (let me know if you do!), wander through Culloden Battlefield, visit the Broch of Clickimin or Fort Charlotte, walk, bike or ride a motor coach or chose to skip the port towns and take a ferry tour or venture into the surrounding wilderness, you will surely feel the richness of this Scotland’s history as you visit Invergordon & Lerwick.
Hasta la bye bye!
Dee Serkin is a travel writer who specializes in destinations, culture, travel tips and advice. She is dedicated to inspiring travel in all and loves to share her adventures with others. Contact her at [email protected] or visit her site at https://travelovers.us