From the tiny port of Invergordon, the beautiful Scottish Highlands are yours to explore. Perhaps you will visit the nearby city of Inverness or try to catch a glimpse of the elusive monster in Loch Ness?
Most cruises disembark at Admiralty Pier, within 500mtrs of Invergordon High Street shops and services. The Invergordon Tourism Alliance (ITA) provides a Welcome Host Service opposite the pier gate on Shore Road.
Although you berth it is a long walk along a pontoon with nowhere to sit and another 5-10 mins into small town. Coaches and car hire are not allowed on the pontoon. No Shuttle Service
Close to Loch Ness if you are looking for an excursion and Inverness is 25 miles away.
In and around the town try the Invergordon murals. The murals are painted on the end walls of the houses and celebrated everything from ‘Century of Sport’ to ‘Volunteer Spirit’. The ones around the railway station are the ‘piece de resistance’, the whole of the station is a mural depicting ‘The long Goodbye’, a war time scene of soldiers leaving home. Street art at its best.
Invergordon Naval & Heritage Museum offers a fascinating visual tour of photographs and exhibits from yester-year.
For a private tour try: Nigel (www.shorexcursions.co.uk). He can put on a tour for the excellent price of £25pp in a six-seater people-carrier. You could even hire a car from Kens Garage (£60 per day which can be pre-booked in advance). The paperwork is all done via email before you sailed so on arrival you just needed to visit the office at the end of the pier, sign on the dotted line and pick up the car keys. Then you can spend a leisurely day driving around the whole of Loch Ness and stop off at Castle Urquart en route for some great views of the loch.
If you are thinking about an excursion then stay away from P&O excursion, Leisurely Loch Ness. Coach trip out through the countryside to Loch Ness and back, a short 3 ½ hr trip. This is a guided tour with a running commentary of the places you are passing through. On reaching Loch Ness you stop at a lake side hotel for photos. Here is a model Nessie, for the selfie and then a short walk down to the Loch to take your photos. The hotel also had a Tourist shop. From here you drive onto Beauly a small village for another stop, but except for the ruined church there is nothing here, and then back to the ship.
We did this tour and you know that feeling when something does not live up to expectations, well for both of us, and talking to others later, this was one of those occasions. Yes, the countryside is beautiful but the hotel is a tourist trap, we saw and bought cheaper stuff in Edinburgh, ie we bought a crystal Nessie for £12.99, reduced from £50, in Edinburgh, but here it was £18 for a plastic one. Then the Loch itself was a let-down, the views from the road are all masked by trees, when we went down to the Loch side there was a smell and the area resembled a building site. What we had preserved about Loch Ness and the views were not what we saw. We did stop after the hotel for a photo shoot of Urquhart Castle but the distance if you did not have a telephoto lens was too far. However, we were the only bus to stop out of the 3 that were on this morning excursion. The other sad thing was we drove passed the Nessie Experience Exhibition Centre, OK it may have been touristy but it would have been fun to look at and walk around. All in all for us a 3/10.
By Peter Dagnall
See our holiday photos click here.