Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Loch Ness Monster

By Claire
We're really taking our time during our self-imposed vacation. We generally don't go anywhere until 10 am at the earliest. Today's plan was to go into town to top up our Vodafone dongle for the next month then head to Drumnadrochit, home of the Loch Ness monster.

We opted for the Loch Ness Centre, a more academic style of experiencing the TRUE STORY of all the sightings. I went in an unbeliever and came out an unbeliever. This place has done years of research and concluded that there aren't enough fish to feed a giant monster. It was interesting and I'm glad we did it but I'm not sure it was worth £5.50 each. [Chuck: It was not what I expected; but, I did enjoy it. I thought it was a well-done media experience and I especially enjoyed the presentation of continental drift and the explanation of how Scotland moved from the Equator to its present location over a very long time.]

This is the world's smallest submarine, used in the search. It was also used to tow Nessie into place for the movie The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

In the meantime, Chuck has gone completely Scottish.

Driving farther up the road another 5 miles or so, we came to Urquhart Castle, a ruin with a glorious view of virtually the entire lake. We watched a very well done video that covered 1,000 years in 8 minutes, then wandered among the buildings, taking in the gorgeous surroundings and the fresh, clean air. It really is beautiful here.

It is not known precisely when the castle was built, but records show the existence of a castle on this site from the early 1200s. St. Columba is believed to have dwelt on the upper hill area where the castle is located while evangelizing the Picts in the mid-500's. [These were Celtic tribes living in what was later to become eastern and northern Scotland from before the Roman conquest of Britain until the 10th century, when they merged with the Gaels--speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx.] Eventually, the castle's owners blew it up to keep the Jacobites from taking it.

Loch Ness--24 miles long, less than a mile wide, the third deepest in Europe, and containing more water than in all the fresh water bodies of England and Wales combined.

We're back home, doing what we do best: reading. We're both into Never Go Back, by Robert Goddard. It's a mystery that takes place in a Scottish Castle.

Scottish by birth, British by law,
Highlander by the grace of God. ~ Anonymous


darctur said...

Omigod, it's a year now and you're back home again?! Kudos for a wonderful travel log throughout. What a treasure this has been. Thanks for sharing, I hope it's brought you even closer together.

David Arctur

Chuck and Claire said...

Nope, we're still on the road. We meant "home" in Homer. We'll return to Davis August 30.
Chuck and Claire

darctur said...

Oh good. I've started to read from the beginning and saw your itinerary, thought maybe I'd missed something. Looks like all your planning has really paid off. :-)

May the road rise before you,
and the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your feet.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you ever in the palm of his hand.
- Irish blessing (never too late in the trip)