Inverness and Great Glen
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The Great Glen

Scotland's Great Glen is a natural split in the earth that divides the country in two. The city of Inverness is on the northwest end, and Fort William is on the southeast.

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walking tour
A walking tour is a fine way to absorb the central area of Inverness. Ours was conducted by a man in a kilt, which isn't as unusual as it sounds. It's not all that uncommon to see men and boys walking around in kilts. Sometimes it's because they're dressed up for something; sometimes they just feel like it.
The Hootananny is a bar, music venue, and restaurant in Inverness. There's music every night, with a strong focus on traditional Scottish fare (unlike the food, which is Thai.) We visited twice, once on a Saturday night to see a prominent local band, and on this night, where local musicians just come in to play for fun and perhaps a dram.
Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle isn't one of the many old castles we see in Scotland; it was built in the 1830s as an administrative center and still serves as the sheriff's court. But castles have stood on this site since 1057, when a castle nearby was razed to the ground after the murder of a king with a name somewhat like Duncan by a man named Macbeth. There's a Cawdor Castle in the vicinity, but that wasn't built until well after the legendary "double, double, toil and trouble." It's said that there have been sightings of the ghost of King Duncan walking along the banks of the River Ness in full regalia. I won't believe that until I hear it from Shakespeare.
Pipes and Drums
The castle also makes a grand backdrop for the local pipe and drum band, featuring traditional dance.
Kilravock Castle
Here's an actual castle, which happened to be the ancestral home of our visitors Jack and Sammie. Kilvarock Castle was the base of the Rose clan, and over the years hosted such luminaries as Robert Burns and most likely Charles Dickens. The castle also provided shelter for the Scottish hero Bonnie Prince Charlie before the decisive nearby battle of Culledon.
Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle was built in the thirteenth century and commands a strategic view over Loch Ness. A predecessor castle on the site might have been visited by St. Columba in the sixth century, where he is said to have converted a dying Pictish nobleman to Christianity. The castle changed hands many times over the centuries, and was destroyed in 1692 by the ruling Williamites so that it could not be used by the Jacobites.