It was the day to visit Nessie.
We decided to drive through Glen Coe, a region described by the book as “beautiful if the weather was nice, harrowing if it isn’t.” What a description! So many people advised us to go, it was a must.
It was stunning. I think it was more of a cloudy day so it had that sublime quality: beauty and terror. We drove on a road that took us between these giant hills/mountains covered in scrubs and very few trees. You felt the grandeur of nature. Later on, we realized that this was finally James Bond Country.
We wanted to go on a hike so we had set ourselves on a hike in the town of Glen Coe. We did see people wandering around as we drove but we decided to stick with the book. When we finally got to our destination, it was like we had arrived in a new world. We found ourselves in a beautiful forest. We decided to go on a short hike since we were there. It was a hike uphill between evergreens and trees of exploding colors and around a picturesque lake.
Next time, we are going to hike Glen Coe proper. It will be awesome.
Afterwards, we set out to find food but discovered that all the food places in Glen Coe village were closed. It was interesting to see that all the bed and breakfasts had signs saying “No vacancy.” I’m still not sure if that means that they are full or maybe closed for the season.
So off we went to our next destination to find food: Fort William. It’s a town next to a beautiful Loch. THe guidebook rightly said that it’s lovely town save the roadway in the way of the harbor. I totally understand. Unlike Chicago and its beaches on the other side of LSD, there’s nothing past the roadway but the water. No matter. We had a lovely meal of mussels and salmon at a restaurant overlooking the Loch. (It also had boat cruises that served food too). I was committed to trying the salmon since it seemed like a common feature on menus. I was hoping I would grow to like it in the way that I began to love lamb after Wales and green tea after Tokyo. But alas, I still really only like lox. Mussels were damn good. What I loved about the place was the fact that we could watch the waves in the lake. I kept thinking that I could see something in the water, but it just appeared to be the movement of the water.
This would be a great set up for our next leg.
We were off to Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness. (We were racing against time) What a beautiful ruined castle. Again, Robert the Bruce burned the castle when he recaptured it! We had a fun time running around it, trying to imagine the constructed spaces from the descriptions. This was more ruin than castle. Totally worth checking out. The castle happens to be next to the deepest point of Loch Ness, which is cool.
Then we ran to go to the Loch Ness Exhibition & Center to learn about Nessie and the myth. I thought it was well worth the trip. I expected a museum of cryptozoology but I feel that I got something better than that even. It was a series of seven or eight short films exploring the sightings and science. We learned about the legend itself, the sightings, optics, the technological advances, the ecosystem of the loch, and so much more. There was a final gallery where you can listen to people give accounts of their sightings and see articles about other lake creature. I won’t ruin the conclusion of the exhibition but I was satisfied.
Then we decided to wrap up our day by driving to Castle Dornoch in Dornoch. THis was as far North as we were going to go on this trip. We drove through Inverness, the capital of the highlands, and across a lone bridge with whipping waves beneath.
Our evening’s lodging was an actual castle, courtesy of our groomsmen. It was actually a bishop’s palace and we got to stay in the courtroom. Apt, methinks. It was everything we could have hoped for. When we were shown our room, it had a working fireplace! (though we learned that neither of us is capable of lighting a fire…) All the curtains and bedspread was in a beautiful green tartan and there was brandy. I’ve grown to appreciate brandy straight. The evening ended with a nice hearty dinner downstairs. It was a smashing good day!
That’s all for now!