Destination: Loch Ness, Inverness Scotland
Date: May 2013
Inverness is just a three and a-half hour drive up to the highlands from Edinburgh and it is worth the trip to try and take a peek at Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. After spending the night in another dependable, yet generic Premier Inn we set off to explore the legend of this loch.
Not knowing where to start I booked an excursion with Highland tours which ended up just being the booking agent for Jacobite Cruises. Had I known this I probably would have gone directly to the Jacobite Cruise website and saved myself a few $pounds$ I’m sure. We were told to meet our tour guide at the bus station on platform #1 but when we arrived at the bus station it became confusing if we were there for the Jacobite Cruise or if we were with a Highland tour. Thankfully I had our booking agents phone number and was able to contact our tour on the phone and find where we needed to meet. Of course by this time at 10:15am we had missed the point of departure and had to drive over to the Jacobite Cruise headquarters here in Inverness and finally got connected with our tour guide. Thankfully the kind woman, Molly, stayed on the phone with us directing us through every turn through Inverness to get us to their office. She was a saint!
Our excursion started off by taking a visit to Corrimony Cairn. This is the small “Stonehege” of Northern Scotland that dates back over 4,000 years to the Bronze Age. Basically it was a mound of rocks encircled by upright rocks that measured about four feet tall aligned in a circular pattern. Long ago this formation would show when the winter solstice would be which is exact opposite of Stonehege which shows the summer solstice. It wasn’t much located out in the middle of a cow field but it was interesting to think this formation had survived 4,000 years!
From Corrimony Cairn we were ready to start our Lock Ness experience. Our first stop was to the Loch Ness Center and Exhibition. Luckily our tour guide Kenny was full of facts of Scotland and could tell anyone on our little bus how their family name ties in with Scottish roots. Basically all twelve of us on the tour were related in some way or another according to Kenny.
When we arrived at the exhibition center Kenny ushered us in for our tour. The tour consisted of six rooms that show six different short films that first introduce us to Scotland, then to the legend of Nessie, who first saw Nessie, the proof that she is in the loch, proof she’s not in there, and all the recent scientific data that basically proves that all sightings of her are false and that there isn’t even a food source that is large enough to keep her fed! I found it interesting that this small town of Inverness that seems totally invested that the Loch Ness Monster is real would teach us how in fact it is impossible for her to be! Nonetheless they left us with a few cool stories and more unanswered than answered questions. I really enjoyed this exhibit and loved hearing all the facts that supported the data because I wanted to be a believer. For heavens sakes this is the deepest lake in all of the UK at 750 meters. How could they possibly know what is down there!
Onward we moved over to the famous Castle of Urquhart. This castle is located on Loch Ness at the deepest area of the lake so it makes for a good place to spot Nessie. Sightings here date back to the 6th century with people having recorded strange sightings of a monster even back then. Come on people she’s got to be real!!
The Castle of Urquhart has a similar history of most castles in Scotland. They are built, made strong, then lost, then regained, but this time the last occupants of the castle blew it up so it would not fall into the enemies hands. At this time it is just a shell on the water with a beautiful view. Having been there on a cold and very windy day it was hard for me to imagine any quality of life for the people who lived here back in the medieval times. There is nothing that would make me want to live in that day and age. It was so cold much colder than most places because the wet wind would blow straight through our clothes right down to the bone. It was chilling!!
One great little part of this castle is that is has a great gift shop and cafe and a movie that runs every half hour that shows the history of the caslte. It made for a great refuge from the wind and the cold.
Our adventure finally ended with our boat ride across Loch Ness. We had a chance to ride the waters and look closely as our boat floated back to the Jacobite tour office where our cars were parked. We kept our eyes firmly scanning the black waters of Loch Ness looking for her, but unfortunately she did not give us a show. If only I could have brought home some proof that Nessie was real! What do you think? You’ve got to take a visit to Loch Ness yourselves to determine if this legend is real….
We ended our day with one last meal in Inverness that was a total delight so I wanted to mention it. We stopped at a few places that were recommended on trip advisor only to be disappointed that many were closed on Monday nights. Since we were there on a Monday this was a big problem. Finally our Trip Advisor found us a place that was open called Aspendos. This was a Turkish Mediterannean restaurant that turned out to be a real treat. Since there were six in our party we decided to order family style and try a few different dishes. It was all supurb! I truly enjoyed everything that hit the pallet. The owner was kind, it may have been a little pricey but the food was divine. Just thought I’d throw that out there incase anyone is looking for a great meal in the Highlands!
Safe and Happy travels!!