Back in July we had a French friend of my daughter's staying with us. On her previous visits we've been very much Edinburgh based, so it was time for a quick tour of some of Scotland's other delights. Our first stop was Loch Ness and a spot of monster hunting. As you see above, we were lucky enough to spot the familiar long neck rising from the 755 feet deep waters. In the ladies' toilets of the The Loch Ness Exhibition, that is.
The exhibition is a tourist magnet. We arrived just after opening time, but already the car park was busy. The exhibition was more balanced than I had expected in its presentation of the 'mystery' of Loch Ness (conclusion: probably not enough of a food chain in the loch to support a beast of the size of the supposed dinosaur relic). But there was the inevitable, heart-sinking, no escape exit through the gift shop.
Outside however was a glimpse of the delightful passion with which people have pursued the monster. This little yellow submarine was used for research dives during the 1960s. It looks like something out of The Clangers, or The Wombles. When I took this shot I didn't notice the boat in the nearby field, perhaps because it's nothing unusual. In Scotland you quite often come across boats moored halfway up a hill, as we'll see later in this tour.
The Loch itself isn't one of the most scenic in Scotland. It's long, and very deep, and often gloomy, as it was on our visit. There are no towering peaks along its shores. Still, it does give the impression that something may lurk in its depths, and it does have an iconic ruined castle - Urquhart Castle - from which this next shot was taken. Note the restraining rail courtesy of Historic Scotland, lest any tourist should topple over into the waters below. I wonder what the clansmen would have made of safety rails?
On our visit the castle was bristling with tourists. Every shot of battlements and craggy walls that I took turned out also to include dayglo waterproof jackets from across the globe. There was one bit of military excitement. A couple of F-16 fighter jets roared down the loch, just captured in the shot below. I know they were F-16s because I was informed by an American tourist who had been in the US Air Force and was overcome by patriotism at the sight of these planes screaming up the loch. I imagine the clansmen would have traded the safety rails for a couple of F-16s.
Our base for our 24 hours at Loch Ness was Kilmore Farmhouse, a B&B at Drumnadrochit which I can thoroughly recommend.