LOCH NESS & PARTS NORTH-ISH June 25

You know what’s pretty much awesome about visiting a country that has a ridiculous amount of coastline? They like to offer you seafood at any and all meals. I had scrambled eggs & smoked salmon for breakfast. NOM. NOM. NOM.

 

Being nomadic like we are, we crammed all our belongings back into the suitcases and then back into the car and headed out. The still-not-dry-from-kayak-flipping clothes were crammed into a plastic bag and unceremoniously deposited in the trunk. Fortunately we’d planned to stay in Inverness for two nights, so maybe, just maybe they’d dry out.

 

Chad put me in charge of being tour guide for our leisurely drive. Fortunately the Scots love a good memorial and seem to have a fondness for conveniently placed laybys. Combine the two and it’s perfect for caching and (partly) off the beaten path touring.

Our first stop was at a WWI Memorial. The cache was missing, but the statue – and we’d see several similar ones during our trip – was nice and quiet and reflective.

From there, we visited the well of 7 severed heads, oh the Highlands, it’s a little different up here.

Then there was the memorial marker for the bomber crashed into Loch Ness in 1940 & sank into oblivion for 40 or so years until someone stumbled upon it. And don’t forget the giant cairn for the fellow who was trying to break the water speed record and died when his jet boat broke up on the Loch. Plus Cherry Island, which involves the phrase “underwater antiquarian” and a priest borrowing a diving suit in August 1908.

We did do some normal monument visiting, such as Glennfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard for the first time. It was us, several tour buses full of folks, and a bunch of bikers. It was a little weird at first to see these huge groups of guys in leather biker gear being tourists. Not something we’re accustomed to at home, you know. We just so happened to see the Glennfinnan Viaduct – you know, the one the Hogwarts Express crosses. (We did not see the Hogwarts Express, but then again, we are muggles.)

The most striking though, of the places we stopped, was the Commando Memorial which stands to commemorate the British Commandos who trained in the area that that statue overlooks. The statue is one thing, but nearby was a circle with a one stone high wall. Around the inside were tributes to individual commandos by their family and friends. There were plaques, photos, notes, a cap, trinkets and the like. Just outside, the ring was surrounded by poppy wreaths. A few steps away was an area for ashes to be scattered. It was sobering and lovely all at the same time.

By the time we’d cached about halfway up the western side of Loch Ness we were famished. (Fortunately, Nessie was not.)

And as luck would have it, the weather was dry and sort of sunny. Perfect for taking a cruise on the Loch to see Urquhart Castle from the water.

It had been a weird sort of day – no forced marching, and only car caching – so we decided to take a stroll around Inverness and grab an early dinner at Hootenanny. The place was packed. We managed to get a table as long as we promised to be done eating by 9:30, which would not be a problem since it was only 6:30. I mean Chad’s a slow eater, but he isn’t that bad.

The live music didn’t start until 9:30, so we moved over to the bar area, and waited it out.

Totally worth it! The band was four young guys playing: fiddle, fife, guitar and drums. People kept streaming in until the place was so packed there was not even standing room only and I couldn’t see a thing. It was great!

Check out the full gallery below. Click to embiggen the images.

chris on June 25th 2015 in Geocaching, Travel

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