Posted on : 03-06-2016 12:46
Inverness, Loch Ness and its World Famous Local!
A look at the charm and beaulty of Inverness and its famous Loch & Monster written by Scotsman David Land.
As a Scotsman, I often get asked about the Loch Ness monster. It is just one of those iconic Scottish things, despite its elusive nature. If you go Edinburgh you will see the castle and I hope it knocks you out. Glasgow’s fabulous parks and museums are similarly solid and visible. Ben Nevis cannot be missed…Skye…The Braemar Games….The Palace of Holyrood – all of these are definitely there. But even if dear old Nessie is not there, she is still a 23 carat Scottish icon.
Before I get down to giving my views on the old girl, I would like to put in a word for both Inverness and Loch Ness.
Recently I made the journey, by bus, from Edinburgh to Inverness, a distance of about 120 miles. Even that was great. The views from the A9 road from Perth past Blair Athol to Aviemore on Speyside can be just gorgeous.
Then there is the trip through Rannoch Moor which has its own bleak charm and then on to Speyside – which is world class gorgeous as is Inverness itself.
Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands has a certain unique charm. I think the fact that the River Ness runs smack through the centre adds a great deal of charm. Any city is softened by a river and the walks along the banks of the River Ness are better than most.
On my brief visit to Inverness I enjoyed the fact that it is big enough to be interesting but not so large that it fatigues the tourist who prefers walking through towns to take in the views and the atmosphere and without a banal commentary from a tape on a tour bus.
Places of Interest
I cannot recall exactly why I chose the Moyness House B&B (www.moyness.co.uk), but I was glad I did. It ticked every box – a few minutes walk from the city centre, sparkling clean, welcoming host , and an excellent well-appointed room. The AA gives it 4 stars – I would have given it the full 10 – I could not fault anything about it at all (and I can be a fusspot on my day) and it was not expensive at all. It beat a standard budget inn into the proverbial cocked hat.
The Mustart Seed restaurant (www.mustardseedrestaurant.co.uk) supplied my evening meal and I loved this centrally located restaurant with great views. Great food, well cooked at a reasonable price – it was easy to see why this place was so popular even on a Tuesday out of season.
Urquhart Castle & Loch Ness
The next day I got the local bus from Inverness to Urquhart Castle, where you can get some stunning views of the loch. The trip was about 20 miles. When I arrived, as if by magic, a pleasure boat moved into view playing the Blue Bell Polka – a jaunty Scottish tune that got into the charts in 1956 – produced by none other than George Martin who then went on to sonic history with the Beatles. I really would recommend a boat trip on the Loch, you can;t really get much closer and Jacobite (www.jacobite.co.uk) offer a really good service.
Urquhart Castle is a popular attraction – it has a history going back 1,000 years or more, but it is a ruin and despite the attraction of the visitors centre which is informative, I think that the loch and surrounding mountains are the real stars of the local show. The castle is handsome and photogenic, but the interior was not hugely interesting to me.
I digress – back to Loch Ness. It is huge – 23 miles long and it cuts a swathe through the Great Glen which extends from Inverness in the east through to Fort William in the west. Its greatest depth is 230 metres gives it plenty of space to hide the odd prehistoric monster.
Back to where we came in – is Nessie the real deal? If she is there, she is certainly a shy one, having eluded a lot of scientific research. In the 1930s she appeared on a piece of home movie footage. This has subsequently been explained as a clever hoax, based on a toy boat pushing a model head, show from a fair distance.
The earliest recorded alleged sighting was a St. Columba by Adomnan. He was staying near the Loch when he noticed some locals burrying a man near the Loch. They explained to him that he had been swimming in the Loch when he was attacked by a ‘water beast’. St. Columba then got one of his followers to swim across the Loch to attract the attention of the monster. Apparently this worked and when the monster appeared he made the sign of the cross and told it to “Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once”. According to the story the monster fled back into the depths of the Loch.
One of the most talked about recent sightings is the Holmes video from 2007. The video shows something dark moving through the water. I personally think it looks like a seal or something similar. Take a look for yoursleves.
I suppose it is a bit like ghosts – either you believe in them or think it is a load of hokum or possibly you are a bit sceptical but might be convinced in the future.
For me, even if Nessie pops up and orders a cup of tea at the splendidly named Drumnadrochit village I would still maintain that for me the real magic remains in the loch and glen. That whole region is magical. Real magic.
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