I was up pretty early and I tried to catch up the journaling of our trip. Yes, I do a detailed itinerary so I know what each day will bring. I can make decisions about what to do or not do when the time comes. I then journal the day’s activities: where we went, what we saw, how I felt, what we ate. I have learned that it is so easy to forget. I like to do it when it is fresh in my mind. I then review it later and add to it. I do go back and use parts of it for my stories on my blogs and to refresh my memory.
Remember that we had to park our car in the car park at the end of the block. Well it had rules and we needed get our car out about 9:05 am this day. We decided to just leave and head to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.
It was about 30 minutes away so it was not too far. We had a lovely full breakfast in a little bit of a rush and headed out in the rain to our car. It was quiet on the streets of Inverness because it was Sunday morning.
We crossed the bridge over the River Ness and proceeded down A82 but lost the Navigation at a couple of roundabouts. The road was narrow at the north end of Loch Ness and the route had some bad spots on the left side. It was very foggy over Loch Ness and rainy. You could see mountain tops peaking above the thick fog. I had confidence it would get nicer by the afternoon. There was very little traffic so that was good.
We arrived at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition and pulled into the parking lot. The centre is housed in a former old brick hotel. http://www.lochness.com/
The tour meandered into and out of separate rooms where they told the story of Loch Ness,
They reviewed the ancient history of Scotland and continental drift. They talked about the sightings of the monster and gave a timeline of those events and what was seen. They tried to explain what might have really happened. They talked about the sonar mapping of the Loch. The Loch structure and base has been totally mapped. They discussed that large sea creatures could not live in the Loch without food and Loch Ness does not have enough food to support the type of creature people are seeing. They talked about the wave action of the warm and cooler water causing shifts in the surface of the Loch that might cause ripples creating effects. One sighting might have been a bird others might have been debree or a giant sturgeon. It was a good presentation and I enjoyed it.
I have the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition brochure and we also have the Loch Ness, by Adrian Shine, Loch Ness Project guide-book. Both are very interesting. I was very pleased with myself for knowing quite a bit about the Loch Ness Monster. I believe I have seen PBS Specials on the Loch Ness Monster and maybe other specials over the years. I like legends.
There is the scientific exhibit and then there is Nessieland. We did not make it to Nessieland. After studying the website. I can see that we would have needed a full day to do that. It is also in another location and separate from the exhibit we visited. It is more for children but I am sure we would have managed: https://www.nessieland.co.uk/
They also have cruises on the Loch. The shuttle was leaving off tourists who had taken the cruise and they were laughing and talking and saying it was a good tour and they were glad they had gone on it.
After you finish with the presentation in the centre you end up in the gift shop. Of course I studied it all very carefully – twice. Here I am attempting to take a selfie of me and a stuffed Nessie toy. I am so bad at selfies. You can see my eyes are wrong and I had the wrong setting with the postage stamp thing. AUGH!
I purchased a T-Shirt with Loch Ness on it. I do collect them when I travel. Alan found a mug with a Scottish Coo on it and he wanted me to see it. So we headed into the store called the Whiskey Store. It is a nice mug, sturdy. It says that it is dishwasher safe but I am not sure about microwaves?
While he was buying the mug I asked the sales ladies several questions. The name of the town is Drumnadrochit. The sales ladies tried to help me to pronounce it. The trick is to say it very fast Drum na dro chit. Somehow Alan was talking about driving and how hard it was and I said my job was watching the left side of the road. Well many people in the shop laughed. Yeah, I am a funny kid.
Alan suggested that we get a snack and some coffee so we went over to the cafeteria. He tried what was a nut bar. I had sponge cake that was very sweet. The coffee was wonderful and I told them it was. The Scots are not really into coffee. We like the French Roast which is a rich coffee and it makes it hard to adjust to other flavors. We dallied there at the nice cafe and then Alan decided that we should do Urquhart Castle in the nice weather. I was right, it had cleared up. He wanted to explore Lochend because he liked the picture that I put on my Facebook of Loch Ness. We had a plan.
Urquhart Castle (pronounced – Urket) is not far from the town. It is further south on Loch Ness. We found parking in the tight parking lot. It was getting very busy with lots of people. We purchased our tickets and a guide-book. It is a bit confusing but you go down the elevator to the lower floor to access the gift and coffee shop, their small museum display and the exit to the castle grounds.
The small museum display was about castle life. It explained the different jobs that were needed to run the castle, such as: feed the people, dress the lord and lady and help with travel arrangements if needed, care for the animals, defend the castle, and just run things. It was quite complicated. This is a little bit of a funny description of castle life https://www.ranker.com/list/what-life-was-like-in-medieval-castles/shanell-mouland
They had a short film that told of the conquering of the castle over many years. The MacDonald’s and the Lord of the Isle’s were involved on many occasions taking cattle and basically causing lots of problems till the owner Lord Grant decided to just destroy the castle. The dates of raids by MacDonalds start in 1395 and go to 1545 the last raid. Click the photo and read the reader board it is very interesting.
We spent quite some time walking the ruins. Alan helped me with some of the stairs for they didn’t have hand rails. The weather was perfect having cleared up considerably. https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/urquhart-castle/
There was supposed to be a free tour but we waited and nothing happened till I saw this man in a tri-cornered hat setting up his presentation. He did a wonderful talk about weaponry and how it was used. It was also a bit gruesome.
He had a Quaich cup which he explained. This is called a friendship cup. When someone comes to your home you present this cup. First you hold it and drink from it to show your guest that it is not poisoned. Holding the cup requires using both hands making you vulnerable to the other person and a possible attack. Then you hand it to them and they drink exposing themselves. It is a sign of trust.
Here is a gallery of photos of Urquhart Castle Ruins. You will need to be at this blog online to view it. If you are getting an email the link might not open up.
The day turned out lovely, sunny with clouds. Here are some views of Loch Ness. Sorry no Nessie sightings today.
We left the castle and headed up to the small village at the north end of Loch Ness called Lochend. We missed the turn so we sought out the Jacobite Cruise sign where we had been told there were some Highland Cows. Well, it is not as romantic as pictures of them out in the wilds of Scotland. They were totally uninterested in us. There was a sign asking to not disturb them.
We pulled off parked and just enjoyed the animals in the field. These were real highland cows lying about chewing their cud. There were about 4 of them in a field by the car park. Yes we got butt ends.
We tried again for the Lochend and Alan turned off a little too soon onto a road that was very rough and undeveloped. He drove up to a gate which ended our little adventure. It wasn’t till later that I realized that he had taken the correct road to what he had seen in the photo I had found of the Loch. It was not developed like we had thought it was. Apparently there had been some plans to fix it up but so far it was not happening. The gate we had seen meant we could have walked out onto the area. Be careful the road down into this is very rutted and scary when turning off the highway.
Alan decided that he wanted to go and talk to the man who was really into Nessie. This man had a trailer parked near the Dores Inn. http://www.thedoresinn.co.uk/
The Dores Inn was on the east side of the lake. We drove down a lovely tree-lined road with beautiful green fields on both sides. The Dores Inn is located at the northend of Loch Ness on the east side. We managed to get a table. I had fish and chips and Alan had some Beef dinner with potatoes and gravy. We sat in the restaurant area and not outside in the wind.
The man who Alan wanted to see was not at his trailer. It was in the corner of the parking for the Dores Inn. This man is really into Nessy. http://www.nessiehunter.co.uk/
This is at the northeast end of Loch Ness. The water was lapping the shore and as you looked out on the Loch you saw gray water and waves. It was like a big sea. The wind was trying to whip me about, even thought it was sunny with clouds. It was not really picnic weather.
We headed back to Inverness and the Ardconnell House. The Navigation system got hung up again at this roundabout which apparently is new. We lost it and we ended up heading back and retracing our steps. In any event, we made it back to Ardconnell Street and the car park. This car park is in a location for the main part of the city of Inverness and is highly prized. I was a bit worried we might have trouble finding a space but there were some tucked in the back area.
Since we had dinner at the Dorne Inn we were ready to just relax and prepare for leaving Inverness the next day. I needed to get ready for my visit to the Highland Archive at the south end area of Inverness.