We had all said our farewells; everyone had left, even Andy in Mary Doune, though I think he might just have been going to another mooring. There would be another party of guests to take over to Doune in the afternoon. So then it was just Norma and me left, making arrangements to meet at Glenfinnan for a cuppie, before we parted, she for home and me to Janet’s mum’s near Fort William. We took the coast road this time, the old road with passing places, that twists its way through little villages and settlements near to the sea. This was the main road till not that many years ago. The new road by-passes these lovely places but they are still busy with holiday makers in August. August! I think the world and his wife – and children and dog – are in Scotland in August!!! There were certainly plenty of them at Glenfinnan too, when we tried to park up to go into the coffee shop! Not a space was left in the carpark, and there was a crowd standing at the far end, looking over to the long curving concrete viaduct crossing the valley. We decided there must be a steam train due, as that attracts visitors like I seem to attract midges, so we had to drive on, and knowing there wouldn’t be another tea shop to stop at, we said our goodbyes then.
It wasn’t far to Janet’s mum’s place - she’s not far off the main road either – but when I got there, Janet and Ray had arrived but there was no sign of Mum! She’d gone to the shop to buy her newspaper, and met friends along the way, as we found out later. We had lunch, sat in the garden for a while, looking at the huge lump of a mountain that is Ben Nevis, between the roofs in front of us. The Ben is Britain’s – not just Scotland’s - highest mountain at 4408 ft – what is that in metres? About 1400, I think. I know, I know, a mere pimple beside other world highests, but the Ben is ours and we’re proud of her! It’s not often you get such a clear view, but that day it was glorious. We heard the steam train go by too, so think it must have been on its return journey from Mallaig, though it did seem rather early.
Later we played Scrabble. Can’t remember who won. I think it was joint between Janet and her hubbie. However eventually we got back on the road, bound ultimately for Inverness, but with a few stops along the way. Near Spean Bridge (Spee-un) is the very imposing memorial to the Commandos who trained around the area during WW2. This photo is for George, who was one of them.
Just to the south of the village of Drumnadrochit is the ruined Urquhart Castle (Urkurt), on a promontory out into the loch. Built probably around the 13th century it has been a ruin since the end of the 17th, when supporters of William of Orange destroyed it to prevent it becoming a Jacobite stronghold. However a settlement existed on this spot from about the 6th century, and was probably where St Columba stayed when he came north to visit the Highland king Brude – the first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness monster was by Columba. This photo was taken by Ruslan Vladimirovich Albitsky aka Pauk (on Flickr), but titivated a little by me!
Then we stopped in Drumnadrochit itself for tea in a pub there. (The very pub, by draco2008)~ Druim na drochaid is the Gaelic origin and is thought to mean the “ridge of the bridge”. It’s an attractive small village with pretty houses and cottages built round two sides of the village Green, and is well known for its exhibition on the Loch Ness Monster! Don’t laugh! Nessie does exist…. and I, like St Columba and others, have seen her!!
So, supper over and the light going, on we drove, along the lochside – no Nessie appearances that night - to the Highland Capital, where a nice glass of chilled white wine at Janet’s and Ray’s ended the evening perfectly! So what was in store for the next day? You’ll have to wait and see!
Talk again soon.