Loch Ness view along trail to Urquhart Castle
Our first full day to delve into Scotland! Since we had retired Saturday night around Scotland time
after staying awake for about 40 hours, we arose a little late…but with no jet
lag issues. The day’s plan was simply to
rendezvous with Chip and his adopted family for dinner at the Dores Inn, so we
had the day to ourselves. Due to our
late start, we kicked things off by seeking lunch and enjoyed a wonderful meal
at the Mustard Seed…though I was flabbergasted that my request for water (I knew
that providing water was not a given, as I am accustomed to here in the States)
ended up on the tab and cost me $3 US!
The next challenge was getting to Loch Ness without a vehicle.
We had reserved a rental car to be picked up
on Monday, which left us without wheels for the weekend. We walked to Inverness Taxis, near the
Mustard Seed, and soon secured the services of Dougie, a local born and bred in
We asked Dougie to deliver us to Drumnadrochit, a village resting along
Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness
Dougie was a treat, readily replying to the barrage of questions Kim
& I posed around his biography and life in these environs. The sad fact revealed by our discourse was
that to get the Dores Inn would be a hefty taxi ride. Despite being a mere three miles from Drumnadrochit
as the crow flies…there are no bridges spanning Loch Ness and being on the
opposite side, it was forty miles away (and by the way, they measure in
distance by miles, not kilometers)!
However, Dougie deposited us and pledged faithfully to return at 5PM to
pick us up for a bonus fare to Dores.
Another shot from Urquhart…revealing the enormity of Loch Ness
We were now in one of the planned destinations of our junket. One of the hiking resources we consulted
pointed out that there was a trail from town to Urquhart Castle,
an ancient fortification constructed on the shores of Loch Ness. But of course we were reeled in by the
temptation by several tacky museums in town and plunked down eight pounds to
check out one of the ‘monster exhibits’.
It was a total rip off, a short walk past a bunch of childish displays about
Bigfoot, etc., that had nothing to do with Nessie. Of course we weren’t too disappointed….just
figured it was a Ness-esary evil!
Glad to be free of this monstrosity, we began our hike to
A meandering, pastoral path
that began along fields of cattle, we soon completed an ascent and began
descending into Loch Ness. Absolutely
stunning! A totally alien landscape that
was enticing…very green and exceptional to witness houses perched upon the wickedly
steep inclines down into this glacial lake.
Didn’t encounter any human beings, but quite a lot of cattle!
The path was easy and it didn’t take too long to acquire Urquhart
castle…and what a splendid treat! The
history of everything we read about in Scotland was replete with spilled
blood…Urquhart being no exception. But
after plodding through fields of cattle, it was interesting to stumble upon a herd
of human beings. After paying admission,
you wade into a beautiful theater that plays a short film around the history of
this much trampled fortification along the banks of Loch Ness.
After enjoying the clip we wandered about the
site and picked up several interesting tidbits around the history of the area.
After savoring this grand site we hiked back to Drumnadrochit with a
major disappointment. I had packed along
my lightweight LL Bean hiking boots (I used to live in Maine and once upon a
time worked at their store in Freeport) and put them on for the day’s hike,
even though the trail mostly ran along a road and wasn’t necessary. The soles actually dissolved during our trek
and fell off! Both boots! I was going to return them, but it only
dawned on me now several years later as I write this up that I simply deposited
them in a Scottish trash can without any quibbles.
Regardless, Kim and I made it back to town and had some tea at a
delightful café named Fiddlers.
arrived as promised and we had a new barrage of questions for him during our
long and pricey taxi ride to Dores. The
best response was that I had picked up some variance in how folks pronounced
these tedious town names and Dougie confirmed that there was no sacred pronunciation. So don’t be afraid to attempt one of the
perplexing village names…it shouldn’t be an embarrassment!
Dores Inn was a cool establishment. The diner was an old home and I was a bit
remiss we didn’t sit outside at one of the picnic tables affording a wonderful
view of Loch Ness. We all enjoyed
sumptuous meals with the Cabana’s (Chip’s host family) and Chip and Kim raved
about the sticky toffee pudding they had for dessert!