For those of you who have been following my trip to Scotland as described in my previous two posts, keep reading because today we will taking a closer look at my journey from the town of Wick to Inverness. This time I'll be using a bus instead of a train, just for a change. After providing you with a review of my room and a short walk around the town, I shall attempt to give you an idea of how it's like travelling by bus on this route, where you can find tickets and timetables as well as my personal verdict based on my own experience.
If you are looking for a welcoming, relaxing and centrally located accommodation in Wick, do check out the Harbour House Bed & Breakfast. . This 19th Century property was previously home to the harbour masters of Pulteney, and has now been converted into bed and breakfast accommodation in the heart of Wick. Each bedroom is individually designed with a modern décor and comes with a TV and DVD player. They come with an en suite bathroom, a hairdryer and tea/coffee-making facilities.
I chose the single room which come with a private bathroom. Harbour House is just 30 minutes’ drive from John o’ Groats, and 40 minutes from the castle and gardens of Mey. Guests can enjoy many activities in and around Wick from fishing to hiking, and the town is home to the Pulteney whisky distillery and a heritage museum.
The staff were very friendly and accommodating and the location was perfect. Close to the town for walking to pubs/restaurants etc. but not close enough to be disturbed by the noise. Linen was soft and comfy, had a great sleep - nice big telly with all free view channels. Tassimo coffee machine and a kettle along with a lovely basket with biscuits, coffee, tea, milk, butter and jam was a bonus. Oh and the view from my room overlooking the North Sea was excellent!
I can tell that the people at Harbour House take their breakfast very seriously. The breakfast was beautiful and it comes delivered to your room on a trolley at whatever time you wish and the Chef was bang on time. It comes served on a hotplate and is really nice. There is a wee table by the window so that you can eat it. Plates were clean, cutlery was solid and shiny. Normally a choice of a Continental or full cooked options are available, while for other meals there are several pubs and restaurants around town within a few minutes’ walk. Honestly, I can't find anything to fault it on.
For nearly 500 years, Wick used to be the administrative centre of Caithness, an area which lies on the east coast of Northern Scotland. The name comes from the Norse vik, meaning bay, and it was the Vikings who first used the mouth of the River Wick where it flows into Wick Bay as a harbour for their vessels.
Wick today still has the feel of a town that revolves around its harbour and its seafaring traditions, however, one would say that it's nothing compared to its heyday back in the mid-19th century when it used to be the busiest herring port in Europe. From the 1970s the gap left in the local economy since the departure of the herring was partially filled by the discovery of North Sea Oil.
Make sure you visit the Wick Heritage Museum, which gives visitors a feel of the town's past and, in particular, its herring years. Nearby is another important visitor attraction, Pulteney Distillery. Another thing to note is that here you can find Mackays Hotel, the end of the building stretches the full length of Ebenezer Place, which appears in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's shortest street at 2.06m or 6ft 9in in length!
The bus from Wick to Inverness
This bus service is operated by Stagecoach North Scotland and runs through Inverness-Thurso and Scrabster and has 88 stops. The trip from Wick to Inverness takes approximately 3.30-4 hours and you get to see a lot of the Scottish Highlands on the way. The bus comes with a W/C and free WiFI. The bus stop is located in MacLeay Lane. There is a cheap shop there where you can buy snacks from for your journey. Make sure you buy everything you need as there is no food on board the bus!
Tickets and timetable
You can buy your ticket on board, directly from the driver. A single ticket costs £21 while a return one costs £29.15 per adult.
For updated timetables check out this link.
By the time I arrived at Inverness I had already started realising that my first trip to Scotland was coming to an end. The next thing I knew was that I was on a train to Edinburgh and from there to London and back home (stay tuned for that in another blog). Yet, despite being tired from being on the move for at least four consecutive days, I wasn't really looking forward to it. I wanted to stay. And thats because, you see, to me, Scotland cannot be experienced in a single trip. It's a place where you are always dreaming of going back, it's something different.
The places I've seen on that trip are something unique; the little towns full of history, their friendly people and the amazing scenery all add up to what makes that country what it is; the most beautiful country on earth (source). If you'd like to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the modern urban life, just take the first train to Scotland and you won't be disappointed! I am definitely going back.
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