Out catching a glimpse of Nessie – Part 4

Circumnavigating Loch Ness

After we added some ‘Skin so soft’ from AVON to our first aid kit in Fort Williams, the Monster was calling us!
On the way there we stopped at an amazing gorge.

This earthcache wasn’t that old yet. Published End of July. But quite obviously already the few cachers disturbed the locals, as there is a handwritten note at a tree from the hotel, that the entrance to the gorge is down the next lane.

Some parking coordinates wouldn’t be a bad idea, I’m sure. Otherwise the locals will wonder, why suddenly so many tourist find this gorge.
But it is certainly worth visiting!
I took loads of pictures, the water level seemed to be quite high and the falls were stunning. But more so the formations. Amazing, what water can do to stone…


Washed out holes

The waterfall

Looks like waves cut out of stone.

We had a great time there, my daughter went daringly down quite close to the water…
Cost me at least 3 more grey hairs, as she went past the fence and down for a better view for the falls. Why had I to give her a camera for her 14th birthday? Stupid idea.
But then, she was right, the view from her vantage point was much better. I shouldn’t tell her that, though, she might become even more daring.

Better view from a vantage point.

Pity, a fighter jet had to scream over the valley, just as we were on the bridge. Scared us senseless and my ears hurt for ages afterwards…

We then went on the Monster Drive. A series around Loch Ness, which recommended the circumnavigation anticlockwise. Which turned out a good way, so there were easy parking available and no dangerous road crossings.

My daughter has a new favourite animal, after we met with the typical species of the region:
Highland Cattle

The famous grouse? grouse

For me the east side of the Loch was nicer, not from the views, but the roads were narrower and less traffic. The west side with the A82 is much busier and more used by tourists and locals alike.
The Nessie Experience was there, as well as  Urquhart Castle, where we only stopped to find the cache, way to many people there for my taste.

Our first view of the South End of Loch Ness

Heather in bloom

So our first close encounter with Loch Ness was near a forest trail, where some of the trees got name plaques.
Always educational, as I’m mostly familiar with the Latin names, but not the English ones. Well, horticulturist, what would you expect?
We went down to the pebble beach, and my children threw stones in the water, but imagine:
Nessie wasn’t too happy about that. Whenever they had thrown stones, there would be waves crashing at the shore. Did they stop, the waves would even out and disappear. Did they throw stones again, the waves would come again.
I told them, Nessie isn’t amused getting hit with stones.
They nearly believed me.

But Teenagers aren’t easily fooled anymore, so they stopped trowing stones, and unfortunately the waves came after a short while again. Pity, it made such a great story!

Throwing stones at Nessie!

It wasn’t flat at all in the Highlands, well they’re not called Highland for nothing:



I especially liked the purple Heather. Here it is not really autumn yet, but it was much more the purple, green and tan colours than I’m used to.
Gives it a totally different feeling. And maybe that is it, what makes the Highlands in late summer so charming, different colours…

To find a spot for the night was much more difficult here in this area, most parking spots weren’t what I would like to use for overnight and those, who were not too bad, had signs: No overnight parking.
Ah well, we did manage to find a sheltered overgrown ruin with enough space to park out of the view from the road. As it was raining, we called it an early night.

In Inverness we went shopping for groceries, all those things we know and love and can’t get at home: Mr. Kiplings Cherry Bakewells, Walkers crisps, cheese and onion flavour for me, salt and vinegar for the kids. (Way to vinegary for me, yuck!), Rice Crispies, oxo cubes, Colman’s Mustard Powder…
A seagull stood on a car roof in the parking lot. When the owner of the car came back, it would just hop on the next car. Didn’t care about the people, and let us come quite close…
Seagull on car roof

We continued along the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness.
At an old graveyard I learned disturbing news:

head stone I found the grave of a hollywood star I greatly admire. Hugh Grant. Tells you something, I never even knew he was dead.
Pity, I enjoyed the movies he played in. I think my favourite is of the Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain. It was hilarious.
Who would have guessed him being buried in Scotland…

Some impressions of the Loch:
Island hopping

Red pebble beach

Scottish Sunshine over Loch Ness

At Dores Beach a bohemian lives in his MOT failed camper. He is one of the believers, who wait for an photo opportunity to capture Nessie on film.
His drift wood reminded me a bit of the Viking longships, though…

Yet another view, not only the scenery changed, but also the light and weather…

Is that it? Unlikely… mons
A tourist attraction at the Nessie Experience…

logging Even the benches are Nessie-shaped! Logging is easier on a handily placed bench…

As we were close to Fort Augustus, I came to a cache, where I could park about 1.5m beside it. A classical drive by, so to say. I parked right beside a wall, opened the door and got the cache from behind the wall.
After logging a car pulled up right behind me. There was enough space to keep a bit of a distance, but they stopped right behind me.
Out stepped someone with a GPSr in her hand and a smile on her face.
Turned out, they were looking for the same cache.

After a short chat with groovy gav, we continued our journey, only to meet them again in Fort Augustus.
While she went to buy some bread, he searched for the cache, which I just was logging. No question, I waited with rehiding, till he signed the logbook as well. I went on to the next cache and he looked for his wife.
And while my children and I still searched at this small wall for a micro, they came around the corner. His wife had asked him: What’s the hint? He: Find the German Lady!
Well, he knew, I’d be there before them!

We watched the ship lock in action, it’s quite fun, to watch two sailboats being lifted up a „staircase“…

Shiplift in action

But while we watched, the Scottish Sunshine came down with force, so we headed back towards Fort Williams, after having circumnavigated the Loch Ness.

We also managed to get a picture of the elusive whatever it is, lurking in the unfathomable depth of the largest sweet water body of the British Isles…