After starting the day with a Scottish breakfast in the hotel, we headed out and caught a bus to Loch Ness. Scotland has a very nice bus system that can take you just about anywhere you want to go. Our ride took us through the countryside and along the lake until we arrived at Urquhart Castle.
The ruins of Urquhart Castle sit along the water with a view of almost the entire lake. The site offers a nice visitors center with artifacts and a film. The castle itself is basically an empty shell. Its previous owners blew it up to keep the Jacobites from taking it.
Brandon always enjoys castles. Notice the hood and rain jacket. While it was relatively nice today, the winds were fiercely blowing and we had occasional light rain showers.
The trebuchet, one of the most destructive weapons of English King Edward I.
Ok, doesn't it look like Brandon is peeing?! Well, he is pretending to. This is where the toilet was located. A stone seat and a hole in the floor that drained into the moat.
Loch Ness is a beautiful lake. The local tourist industry lives on the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. The Loch itself is pretty impressive: 24 miles long, less than a mile wide, the third-deepest in Europe, and containing more water than in all the freshwater bodies of England and Wales combined.
Castle tower near the water.
View looking towards Inverness.
Brandon climbs up higher on the castle ruins
Brandon trying to show how windy it is. Our jackets were like kites flapping wildly in the wind. The lake was covered in white caps.
We decided to walk into the nearby town of Drumnadrochit where the Loch Ness Visitor Center is located. It was a two mile walk through the countryside, along pastures full of sheep and wildflowers.
I know, why a beer bottle! Well, because it was strange to see Coors Light in Scotland.
We reached the town after a nice walk. Our first stop was lunch. We found a whiskey bar, Fiddlers, and sat down just as it began to rain. They offered some nice Scottish bar food. Katrina and I had the daily special of beef and gravy over toast with chips. Brandon chose pasta bolognese and was disappointed.
After lunch we walked over to the Loch Ness Center. This little museum is run by a biologist who spent 15 years researching the lake and the legend of the monster. The tour is a series of short films that explains the geological and historical environment that led to the monster stories.
Brandon tries Irn Bru (pronounced Iron Bru). Its a Scottish soda that outsells Coca Cola and Pepsi. It definitely has a unique taste - it has a bit of a cream soda flavor with a bubblegum aftertaste.
After our snack, we caught the bus back to Inverness. Once in town, we wandered around since we had a bit more sunshine today.
Luck of the "Scottish". We could see the whole rainbow over town, even a double rainbow for a few moments.
Another shot looking up the Ness River.
I spotted this window while walking around - apparently my Dad has become a barber.
And this sign - no jumping your motorcycle over cars!
Another view along the Ness River. I really like the Inverness waterfront. They have a lot of nice paths, beautiful architecture and many restaurants.
This evening we had dinner at Ralah, an Indian restaurant that our hotel recommended. It was pretty good. Not the best we have had, but we enjoyed it.
It's amazing how late it stays light here in Scotland. We are pretty far north and it is light until after 11pm and the sun comes up very early, about 5am or so.
Tomorrow we plan to visit the Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle.