Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Loch Ness and Castle Urquhart

Okay--here come the castles!

We flew into Inverness from London-from-Hannover when we arrived in Scotland on Saturday, 4/23, and drove the 23 miles along Loch Ness on our way to our Great Glen Water Park destination (which, I found out, is not on Loch Ness but on the adjoining and smaller Loch Oich--pronounced like oink without the n).

Yes, this is the Loch Ness where Nessie supposedly lives, making kewpie eyes at all us tourists who try to spy a glimpse of her. No wonder she lives there. The loch (loch = lake) is absolutely breath-takingly gorgeous. It's hard to believe it's a mile wide (talk about loss of depth-perception!). And DEEP! In a child's book we bought for Nicholas, it described the depth as deep enough for 3 Big Bens on top of each other, or 5 jumbo jets wingtip to wingtip (600-700 feet). Plenty of room for Nessie.

Not quite halfway along the loch is CASTLE URQUHART (pronounced urkurt but notice the 'hart') from the 13th century, jutting out into the loch in a come-see-me pose. Of the 5 bigger castles we roamed, this was one of our favorites, though more in ruins than the others. The history of each castle is so intriguing, expecially since it usually involves one main clan, of which this one is MacDonald. In this case, instead of allowing the Crown to overtake them, they just blew up their own castle. "If I can't have it, ain't nobody gonna have it" mentality. Arrgh!

Apart from all that (who am I to judge, since it's obviously more complicated than I'll ever know!), this is the first of the main castles we saw, before we arrived at our cabin. What a great way to start! As so often happens on these trips, what we see on the first day is worth the entire vacation.

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