We were lucky.
The first Locks were easy handling, as we were lucky to be almost alone. This gave us good time to get used to things. Usually the locks are full, and there can be 3 rows of boats inside at a time. With the turbulence as the water is let in (or out) you have to be quite vigilant not getting your boat scratched or banged up. Good large fenders and a fender plank is a must. Also plenty of solid rope.
Loch Ness is the largest fresh water lake in Britain It is only about 2 km wide but 36 km long, and as we all know, is inhabited by Nessie, the sea monster. It is a strange lake alright, very deep (240 m) with water so murky towards the bottom that it has not been possible yet to fully explore it. Scary, huh? Allegedly if a dead body is thrown into the lake it will not come back to the surface, but as my friend was unwilling to participate in an experiment I could not verify this.
The fact that all the evidence that has been produced so far turned out to be fake only seems to be a minor obstacle to the belief that Nessie exists and certainly does not stop the big Nessie-hype around the lake from growing. There is a Nessie-centre in Drumnadrochit with a Nessie exhibition and a mini-cinema which shows the “Loch Ness” movie with Ted Danson a couple of times each day. Or you can book a Loch Ness cruise on a ship fully equipped with underwater cameras and video recording equipment.
Oh, and do make sure you watch out for the campervan of Steve Feltham who in 1991 gave up his job and sold his house to become full-time Nessie hunter. He makes a living by making clay Nessie models and devotes the rest of his time to his “Nessie-sery Independent Research”.
And then again, you might just want to enjoy the beautiful landscape around the lake. There is a walkway from Drumnadrochit to Invermoriston that goes up into the mountains from where you will get the most stunning views down onto Loch Ness.
A curious sign
Still inside the chapel, that is nice but not particularly impressive, I found the way to take this curious picture.
This is a sign attached by the wall, at the left side of the altar.
In it there is written, very precisely and using an elaborated calligraphy, the correct disposition that the various platoons of the army should take while attending inside the chapel.
A clear sign of discipline. I have never been under the army, and these things always appear curious to me
Inverness Travel Tips - Loch Ness - Worth One Day
"Inverness Travel Tips - Highlands ... But A Mess!"
I like Inverness, now after years, and having lived there for a year. Yet I can still remember my disappointment - no "shock" at how dirty, drab and unattractive it was.
It has its really wonderful spots (the Ness Islands Walk with suspension footbridges joining wooded islands across the River Ness) but in general it is a bit of a let down.
Inverness is the main town supplying the Highland region, so has large industrial parks and a very practical feel, not beauty. This is compounded by its recent growth and by horrendous concrete architecture by the River.
Sad but true.
It is also busy with tourists, and the B&B, hotel and hostel trade is busy, so I have not detected "the laws of competition" bringing about value for money.
Use Inverness for what it is - a refueling and provisions stop and a base for resourcing better areas.
"Tourist Attractions ?"
Ignore the "castle" - it is new. The original castle has long gone. Good for photographs of the River - but have no misconceptions about castles - this is not one of them!
If you are to look at Loch Ness, drive on the "south side". Only drive the north side if motoring to Fort William or Skye. Even then, consider the quiet south side.
Culloden Battlefield. Very popular because of its significance, NOT because of beauty! Good cafe and visitor stuff there (National Trust of Scotland) but unless you are really into historical battles / tracing ancestors, its not that impressive.
The small (and free) museum behind the Tourist Infomation Office is worth an hour for sure - its a good, bite sized intro to Highland life and natural history.
If staying in Inverness, its worth checking out whats playing (independent film cinema and theatre / music etc) at the Eden Court Theatre. Also close by there is the good Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre with Climbing Wall.
A number of bars now have live bands - responding to the huge influx of tourists. Inverness is well provided by hostels, so is popular for a "night out" / heavy drinking.
"A Delightful Walk Around Inverness - 1 hour"
This is the best way to see Inverness, on foot:
From the Town Hall (look up at the lovely architecture and ignore the gaudy MacDonalds opposite) and nearby Tourist Information Centre (particularly friendly staff in this one) walk downhill to the River, but don't cross.
Turn left and walk upstream, with the water on your right hand side. Pass the white suspension bridge and continue to a second, smaller bridge, which then takes you via lovely wooded islands across the river.
Once across the river, turn right and head downstream (river still to your right). Again ignore the white suspension bridge. Optional stop in Eden Court to check out events for evening, and or a cup of tea!
Continue alongside river past the main bridge (traffic) and carry along until you reach another footbridge, which you cross to get back to City Centre.
Note: There are a number of tasty restaurants, tapas bars and a lovely second hand book store in an old church - with cafe, spiral stairs and wood burning stove).
*More about this in My Inverness Tips* and see Bluewoad.