The Scottish Dolphin Center, which sits on a little piece of land right at the mouth of the Spey river. We knew we were driving out to a tiny little village, and as we neared the end of the road and couldn’t see much of anything, we thought we might find just a sign, or maybe a little hut with some information and not much else.
Wow, what a surprise to find this!
Not only were we presented with the most beautiful scenery we could ever hope for, I got to dip my fingers into the North Sea for the first time in my life. I’ve now dipped at least one body part in five different oceans/seas. Look at me crossing things off my bucket list like mad.
And yes, the North Sea was as cold as I imagined. You won’t find me swimming in it any time soon. Brian? He’ll be happy to jump right in. I’ll wait in the car.
Right on this little bit of land near the river mouth is a deceivingly small little building that looks like a small cafe. It must be made of the same stuff as the Tardis though, because I swear it’s bigger on the inside. The real magic happens outside though.
First is this sculpture garden tucked away next to the car park. This larger piece is representative of the sea, complete with tree stump whale tale.
Then around the corner is the Ice House. We stumbled into a free tour, and got way more than we expected (again).
These ice houses were used to store the ice for packing the fish brought in by the fishermen from the nearby little village. We learned about their little boats, their sweeping nets, their long hooks which were used not to pull in fish, but to pull people out of the fast current if they fell in. As our guide told us, “Better to have a hook through your shoulder than to be swept out to sea.”
Inside were tools, boxes, photos, and lots of whale bones. The exploding whale stories were especially fun to hear.
Our guide couldn’t have been more than nineteen. One of the most knowledgeable and outgoing nineteen year olds I’ve ever met.
There was a short film after her tour, which had some great underwater footage of dolphins and whales.
The dogs on our tour agreed. Their eyes didn’t leave the screen until it was over.
The thing about ice houses? They’re cold!
I though it was a bit chilly outside, so I got really worried when our guide told us to bundle up because it was going to be even colder inside. She was right. My hands were frozen by the time we left the mostly underground buildings nearly an hour later. It was totally worth it though.
And I never thought it could happen in Scotland, but I warmed up when I went back outside.
“Outside” here almost always means colder.
So, if you ever find yourself in this corner of Scotland, just a little ways outside of Inverness, follow the signs to the dolphin center. They’ll be really happy to see you, and you’ll be glad you stopped by.
On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.