Sunday, January 09, 2011


We were recently in Inverness. Now, I know Hogmanay is thought to be sacrosanct in Scotland by those South of the border, and the rest of the globe,  but not to the extent where a bus company, Stagecoach, can disconnect a whole city and then offer a Sunday service, (read highly limited into that) for the remainder of the period. Taxi services were on tariff three for two days, that means they could charge sky high sums for journeys on those days and a bank holiday tariff for the other days. Workers could not get into work without begging favours and lifts if they happened to live outwith reasonable walking distance from their places of employment. I heard of some workers being bused in by a taxi mini bus, paid for by their employers, if they lived a certain distance out of the city. Others had to pay excess taxi costs from low wages to get into work.

If you want to get around and about when staying in or near the city of Inverness, think twice before visiting the Scottish Highland capital during a holiday period without access to private means of transport. Its public transport services, in any case, are rather limited to its conurbations after about 6pm. If you're happy to be in the centre and take a tour when tours are functioning, you may be suitably catered for. 

In Summer 2009, I met an Australian couple who had arrived in Inverness by car. They were seeking a city visit hop-on-hop-off bus. It only runs on Wednesdays, the tourist office said, and this was a Friday. :roll:


keiko amano said...


Inverness sounds great. I think it forces busy travellers to relax and just walk. Where I am in the U.S. is like Inverness, so to speak, compared to Yokohama. It's good to be away from hustle and bustle of the city once in a while.

Today, I went to see a movie by bus to a next town. On the way there, I paid the driver only additional 50cents for transfer to come back, and on the way back, I was mostly alone with a Vietnamese driver. He said he spoke 5 languages. So, I tried to practice my Chinese. I like the pacing and openness here. But I get into trouble sometimes because the difference is great.

The movie I saw was "King's Speech." In the movie, a beautiful scenery of Scotland appeared. I was excited to see Scotland and skirts. And Colin Firth gave such a great performance. I enjoyed the movie.

ZACL said...

No, Keiko, Inverness is not like the place you describe. There is a centre that has all the entertainment facilities, cinemas, a theatre, a range of shopping and restaurants. There are conurbations around it. The majority of people do not live within walking distance of the centre and its facilities. The other very large majority of the Invernesian 'local' population is made up of people who are in semi-rural areas, and rural places that are supposed to connect into Inverness.

Taxis are prohibitively expensive as there are many miles/kilometres to be covered to go into the centre. If you add special holiday rates to the everyday taxi prices, the taxi fares are unaffordable for a small family or an individual.

People in this country do walk a lot. They make a point of going out exploring, as I do, and if there is not a lot of heavy domestic shopping to carry, a walk to the local shop/s is not a problem. We do have sidewalks (we call them pavements) which are used by people on foot, wheelchair users, dog walkers going off to a park or a river walk and people with kids in pushchairs out for a a breath of fresh air.

When I lived in a big city, I used to walk to and from the station during the week. Sometimes, I explored the city's nooks and crannies. I had other physical activities outside work. Even taking transport to a shopping centre, be it a street or a covered one, there was still plenty of walking to do when you got there.

Where I live, (not Inverness, though I know it) there is no cinema. We would like to see The King's Speech, however, we would have to travel a round trip of 240 miles to do so. With the current bad icy weather we would not consider making such a trip. We'll have to wait for the DVD of it to be released.

Thank you for your thoughts. I am happy you enjoyed the film.

keiko amano said...


I see. I'm sure the place is unique, and I don't know anything about Scotland. For San Dimas, it was semi rural to me although people called it a suburb. I moved here in 1979 from a busier town also in Southern California. There were strawberry fields near by, horse stables all over, and I learned years later that one of writers here used to own a large chicken firm very close to me. I used to drive, but since I sold my last car, I've been walking. Yes, I love exploring. I smell plants and admire the shapes and colors of leaves.