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In April 2019, I got to do a wee day tour hosted by the Keltic Ginger. The Keltic Ginger is a tour guide in Scotland and offers a few unique touring opportunities. The tour was aimed at students, and this particular day, it covered Inverness, the Falls of Bruar, and Culloden Battlefield.
I loved this tour. I went on my own on a bus full of students, feeling like I was the oldest person there. But that did not detract at all from this trip.
What did detract a bit was that I hadn’t eaten breakfast. I’d had a sleepless night, hadn’t secured a ticket, and was rushing to get there for 8am. Obviously not the fault of the tour that I hadn’t had food. It’s my own mistake. But it comes back into play in the story when we make that first stop.
No matter what, I got on the bus. That’s the important part!
Gary is the tour guide for the Keltic Ginger Tours, and he is genuinely awesome. He had great energy and enthusiasm for guiding us through our journey. He shared tons of stories, and he kept things fun and exciting.
One of the things I enjoyed about his style of tour-guiding was that he kept things short and sweet when it came to history. I can enjoy delving into Scottish history at times, but it was nice that he summed things up. When on a tour, you might not want or need every minute detail of what’s going on; you might just want to look out the window, or nap until you get to the next stop.
In keeping it short and simple, Gary was able to hold the attention of everyone there, while still providing a lot of insight and education about the history of areas.
Further, Gary was just funny. He was cracking jokes the entire time, both with us as tourists and regarding the history lessons. It was great.
And of course it’s important that your tour guide know about the place where he/she is guiding you. I felt Gary did well in that, especially considering the length of the tour. The day was rough to space out, as we had very long stretches of just sitting on the bus.
The Bus Ride Itself
It is about a 4 hour drive from Glasgow, where the tour started, to Inverness. That is a long time to be stuck sitting on a bus, even if there are stops along the way. But they made it work.
We stopped at the Falls of Bruar and Culloden Battlefield before getting to Inverness. The stop at the Falls of Bruar was long enough for us climb to the falls. But after this stop, our stop at Culloden would only be a half hour.
Some might feel that is too short, but as our guide pointed out, it is just an empty field. Yes, one where a battle took place that now more people are aware of, thanks to Outlander. But in terms of looking around and seeing things, there’s not much there. Gary felt that our time would’ve been better spent in Inverness, since we did have a beautiful day.
I probably would’ve been more upset at this had I not visited Culloden a few years prior with my mom. It made sense to space out the trip in this way.
There were also fun little activities throughout the bus trip. We all got to write down our names and information, and also an interesting/funny fact about ourselves; the person with the best fact won a prize. There was also bus bingo, which featured little prizes as well, so it was a fun and engaging tour, even in spending so long on the bus.
The Inverness, Waterfalls, and Culloden Tour
Sadly, I lost most of the photos I took during this tour. We truly had a beautiful, sunny day and I still feel the loss of all those photos. Inverness looked so nice… but I had a mishap with iCloud and lost most of the photos from this trip. BUT I was able to download the few photos that I had added to my Instagram. So the gallery below isn’t completely empty!
This particular tour starts roughly at 8am, and ends at 8pm. A majority of this time is spent on a bus. As stated earlier, it does take 4ish hours to drive from Glasgow to Inverness; this means it’s 8 hours alone to get to and from each destination.
But for the sights, it’s worth it. Admittedly, I did not get to climb all the way up to the Falls at Bruar. I really needed breakfast by the time we got there, and Gary is very strict about getting back to the bus on time (don’t anger a ginger, guys). But the surrounding woods were so peaceful and serene; I could’ve spent the whole day there.
If you aren’t invested in Culloden’s history, but you want to walk around a little bit, then this tour works. There is a museum at Culloden that’s definitely worth a visit if you’re wanting more history. But in doing the Keltic Ginger tour, you will not have time to look through the museum. This is why I stress: if you just want an opportunity to look around the actual battlefield and the stone memorials and cairns, then this is a good tour for you to have that little visit.
Also, if you want an idea of what Culloden looks like present day, check out my entry on Culloden Today.
And if you’re looking to see Inverness, this is a good opportunity to walk through the whole city centre. In three hours, we had enough time to walk around the River Ness; up to the castle; hit Leakey’s Secondhand Bookshop (recommended); look around the town; and even sit down for a little drink before heading back to the bus.
I would totally recommend taking on one of the Keltic Ginger tours. I’d say they’d be fun for the whole family, but for your consideration: there was cursing/swearing. Remember this tour is targeted for university students! I personally have 0 issues with cursing, so it did not hinder my enjoyment in the slightest.
The Keltic Ginger has a variety of tours, so there are some unique stops. Check him out to see what other great tours he offers!