Let me take you on a journey. A journey of history, myths, breathtaking scenery and monstrous legends…
Last weekend we found ourselves mini-breaking in Inverness and, naturally, exploring Loch Ness featured big on our itinerary. Now I bet the loch is beautiful any time of year (in fact we chatted to a local who had attended a launch in the summer and remembered the water as still as a mirror with the sunset melting away at 10pm) but autumn, well you know I love those autumn colours, and this part of the world right now will just blow your mind.
We boarded the Jacobite Rebellion cruise and settled into our tartan clad booth for the ride. This vessel has picture windows like a cinema and the movie is the loch – it is epic (if you thought, like I did, that this might be something like a ‘cruise’ you have suffered on European holiday in a rickety boat, you would be wrong – quite the opposite in fact – super modern, spacious and comfortable). What I had not anticipated was that the husband would be SO engrossed in the history, the facts and the stories regaled by our guide that it would be tricky prising him away and onto the upper, open air, deck to capture what turned out to be a rather fresh experience. Back downstairs a whisky and shortbread treat from the bar thawed us out in no time. And my supernerd was back in deep, enthralled by the on screen sonar scanning what lies beneath… meanwhile I was taking in the panoramic views which were nothing short of stunning.
And then there was the castle. Urquhart Castle is truly everything you would hope a Scottish castle would be – a crumbly giant with dungeons and flags and so much history you cannot help but be sucked into imaging the generations that lived and fought and defended the very spot you stand on. We had a full two hours to explore the castle, take the tour, climb the tower, soak in the scenery and warm up with a hot chocolate and a movie at the visitor centre before boarding our cruise for the final leg back over the loch, past the ancient Bona Lighthouse and down the Calendonian Canal.
Honestly, the whole experience was unlike anything I have ever done before. Maybe I see things with new eyes now I am older or maybe it is my passion for a pretty vista but Scotland really blew my mind that day. She is such a beauty.
So, did we see the monster? Honestly I forgot to look for her but, in a loch so big the water of all the lakes, lochs, and puddles in the whole of the UK would only half fill it (turns out I love a little fact too), perhaps it is no surprise. So we did what any respectable parents would and picked a stuffed tartan Nessie up at the shop for the baby when we disembarked at Dochgarroch Lock…
With thanks to Jacobite for sponsoring this post.