Sailing through the countryside
At the top of the Muirtown Locks, we entered a longer stretch of canal. It was a totally new experience navigating on a narrow man made Canal. We of course had to use the engine, as there is no room for sailing other than on the lochs (lakes).
It was quite relaxing “driving” through the countryside and watch the scenery pass by.
There are Dolphin-cruises out in the Moray Firth that more or less give you a guarantee for sightings. When we came sailing in the Moray Firth in a gale force 9, we didn’t stand a chance seeing any. But as we came near the entrance to the Canal at about midnight, there they where! A group of 4 or 5 came dancing in the water to greet us. I learned later that this was the bottlenose dolphin.
Culloden Battlefield - Clan Grave Markers
On the Scottish side of the battlefield you can find the gravestones honouring the individual clans that took part and died in the battle. Again very poignant and much visited, the graves frequently still have fresh flowers.
Inverness, the home of Nessie
"Inverness from Edinburgh"
It was a 4-hour drive from Edinburgh area, but we enjoyed every bit of it. We traveled north on M90 to A9 and passed by Blair Atholl. It was most intriguing to see the lay of the land change as we passed into the Highlands.
Our first glimpse of Loch Ness was thrilling. I understand it is quite deep, which you can see reflected in the perfect stillness of the surface - at least it was perfectly calm when we were there! I hear tell it is also the longest one at 25miles!
"The Visitor Center"
We visited the gift shop north of Urquhart Castle visitors' center and saw the only Nessie there was to see there - there she was in all her concrete glory! The hotel was nice. We also stopped in the visitor's center to see the film and shop a little. We were disappointed by the high prices on the gifts. If you really are interested in the controversy surrounding the Loch Ness Monster, you may enjoy watching the short film there. You do have to pay, however, and you may think twice about that if you aren't caught up in the "is there really or is there not" fun.
Definitely worth a view, the visitors' center at the castle makes the rest of it more interesting. The castle itself is not as nice, say, as Stirling or Edinburgh because it is more of a ruin than a castle. The film in the visitors' center is quite good and gives you a thrilling history (drama re-enactment) of the castle. The castle and visitors' center has a 5-star rating and is a Historic Scotland property.