June 28: Loch Ness and Inveraray

The monster hunt has begun! We checked out of Inverness to drive to catch a ferry on Loch Ness. The lake is long and narrow with mountains on either side, much like our own Lake Champlain.  The dark, deep lake makes for the perfect environment to breed mysterious rumors of what lies beneath the surface. We learned that legends of a monster in the lake have been told since the 6th century. It was only in the 1930s that the story exploded with alleged sightings every few years. We kept our eyes peeled during our ferry ride for any sign of Nessie, but she didn’t make an appearance. Or maybe we just weren’t looking in the right place!

Our ferry docked at Urquhart Castle, a ruined fortress that once defended the people living by the loch. The vast stone structure had been an important stronghold, but it was also subject to many raids. The clan that held it last decided that they were sick of getting attacked, so they left the castle. For good measure, they lit a fuse and blew up the place. They must’ve thought something like, “If we can’t have it, nobody can!”

(Right: Linda and Dawn waving from the Urquhart Castle tower)

At this point in the day, it was getting quite hot — unseasonably warm for Scotland, as everyone keeps reminding us. We were glad to return to the bus to head to our next stop: Neptune’s Staircase. The Staircase is a series of locks on the Caledonian Canal in Fort William. It was a bit funny looking at the locks after looking at the lochs. (Hint: Clear your throat a little bit when saying the “ch” in “lochs.”)

During the remainder of our drive, we saw views of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK. We also stopped at Glen Coe and learned about its tragic history. On the bright side, it was the site of many films (Harry Potter, James Bond, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, and more). We also saw spectacular views of the Three Sisters, a set of three mountains. The three sisters on our tour just had to take a photo in front of the Three Sisters!

 

One bit of excitement today was when a couple from Arizona recognized us by the ferry. They had listened to us perform all the way back in Edinburgh and even bought a CD!

In the evening, we settled into our hotel in Inveraray, a quaint little town by Loch Fyne. Tomorrow we will sing at the local church and celebrate our last day together.

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