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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DAY 172 - Nessie the REAL LochNess Monster

Sept 7 - 80th Anniversary since the 1st Spotting

On April 14, 1933, a couple spotted something unusual as they drove past Loch Ness - sparking 80 years of speculation and mystery.  The  Mackay's saw "something resembling a whale" as they passed the freshwater loch on a nearby road. 

....and we actually saw Nessie!  So exciting!
"Watch your back!  She looks hungry!"

"You say there is a monster behind me?"

"Auugghh...she's after my hand!"
They described the creature as having a large body (about 4 feet  high and 25 feet long), and a long, narrow neck, slightly thicker than an elephant's trunk and as long as the 10–12-foot width of the road; the neck had undulations in it. They saw no limbs, possibly because of a dip in the road. It lurched across the road towards the loch 20 yards away, leaving only a trail of broken undergrowth in its wake.

Although it was a long drive by bus to get up into northern Scotland, the highlands were beautiful and it was fun seeing all the signs and going to the Loch Ness Museum and buying postcards for each of the grandchildren.

 In 1934, Dr. Wilson took a photo, which he later refused to put his name on, so the photo was called "The Sturgeon's Photo".  It was determined to be a fake, but still became very famous.
Is it the REAL Lochness monster or not?
To get to Inverness and the Loch Ness Monster, we left EARLY in the morning from Glascow, hopped on a bus, and off we went through the highlands.  It was about a  4 hour drive.  Following are some pictures as we drove along and the journey through the cities and countryside.

Some treats that we ate along the way.

Looks like heather growing on the hillside.

Inverness is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen at its north-eastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Moray Firth.

Although it started out as a bit gloomy and gray with lots of clouds, it began clearing up so we could see more scenery.  It was very beautiful, and although we didn't get to actually be in the Highlands much, the Lowlands were very nice, too.

Inverness and its immediate hinterland have a large number of originally Gaelic place names as the area was mostly Gaelic-speaking until the late 19th century. 

 More about some of the historical sites of this area on the next post. 

 A very touristy area with shops and food, plus a post office.

Finally - let's hop on another bus to get to the castle and the LochNess Monster!
 Urquhart Castle - The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification.   It was approached from the west and defended by a ditch and drawbridge. The buildings of the castle were laid out around two main enclosures on the shore.
This is as close as we got because it cost so much. ($15 each)

A close-up that I got off the internet.

Another one from the internet.
There were trees on the road, but there was ONE opening we could get a quick photo from the bus.
 Let's go to Nessieland - a museum and gift shop all about the Loch Ness Monster.

 We went into town...Inverness and went to dinner at a cute little Scottish pub restaurant.  I saw a guy in a booth dressed in his Highlands Scottish attire.  You know me, bold and not ashamed....I went over to ask for his photo.  His friend took my camera and shot, but then to my surprise the chap picked me up and told his friend to take another one.

Oh to be young again - ha!

"Oh my goodness - aren't I heavy?  You must be very strong!"
 Rich didn't want to miss out on the fun, so he grabbed the guy's hat and we started dancing.  Jane Morrow Spain would be so proud of me.  I still remember some of the steps from when I did a tap dance to a Highland Fling back in Junior High.  HA!
We're dancing the Highland Fling.

This was our dinner, but heck if I remember what it was - some kind of soup.
 We went back out on the town to tour around until our host came in on the train.  Tomorrow we'll meet Graeme whom we stayed with for 3 days.
This is NOT him.

A cathedral, but is it the Inverness St. Andrew Cathedral?

I want one of these trees in my backyard.

I love all the vines and ivy that grown on the houses.

Now we have the pleasure to stay with a bachelor guy in his home that he is remodeling.  Rich gets to assist him, too.  Join me tomorrow for another Scottish post.