Inveraray was my last stop on my first trip towards the West Coast of Scotland. I'd spent the night before in Killin and asked the owners of the B&B where would be a good place to stop next. They suggested Inveraray, which was not even an hour ride away. I'd heard about the town, most notably because it has the Inveraray Historic Jail (tm). This was one of the types of tourist attractions that you started seeing brochures for as soon as you crossed the border into Scotland, so I figured it was going to be either really terrible or really good. Either way, I couldn't miss.
The drive out was pretty spectacular, and I was resting easy knowing that I'd just fueled up. Getting gas in Scotland, especially the Highlands and mountainous parts, isn't like getting gas in the good old US of A.
The Scots (and the rest of the UK for that matter) seem to have taken more of a conservative approach in their placement of gas stations, so you're not going to find a station on every corner. It's a nice change, but, at the same time, REALLY annoying, because you basically have to fill up whenever you see one.
So here I was, on the road, with some fairly warm weather, a full tank of gas and on my way to pay money to see a prison where people used to be punished. Even before I got to Inveraryay (Man - I have to keep looking to see how that's spelled and it's starting to make my head hurt. For the rest of this post, you'll have to bear with my spelling - just remember if it starts with "Inver" and ends with "y" I'm still talking about the same place) I was greeted with the site of Kilchurn Castle off to my right.
And that's the way it kind of is in Scotland - when you first see the castles, you want to stop and take pictures of every one. But, after a while, they start to become just part of the landscape.
"What's that? A castle from 1400? Lame. I don't stop for anything later than 1250 anymore."
I didn't even stop for Kilchurn Castle - mostly because I didn't see it until the last minute. That's a picture I took from Wikipedia.
I continued at this leisurely pace for a few more miles before I came to the town of Iver-whatever and the first time I'd seen the good old Atlantic since I'd sailed from Ireland back in December.
The town itself is nestled in the middle of a bay, surrounded on all sides by gentle, rolling hills. An old pier (like 1700s old, not 1950s old) projected out into the water with two ships nestled alongside.
Now here's is where it REALLY gets Scottish. As I stepped out of the car, I heard the sound of bagpipes. And not just in my head. No, there was a full fledged Scottish Pipe and Drum band rehearsing on the Iverererrerey common. I wonder if that's what the convicts used to hear before they were shipped off abroad? I was about to find out myself.