M is for Monster

Will we or won’t we see the Loch Ness Monster? That is the question.

This morning I donned my ‘Highland Fling’ shirt that Katharine bought me and headed off to Loch Ness. We drove round to Urquhart Castle, which had a fantastic view of the Loch. After Dad and Adrian were happy with their photos, we headed back to the Loch Ness exhibition/visitor centre. We each bought some souvenirs, had a photo with Nessie, and then piled back in the car. At that point it starting raining lightly, but it didn’t last long, before we were back to perfect sunshine again – we really have been extremely lucky with the weather.

Our next stop was Fort Augustus. The highlight of the town is the series of Locks – 7 in a row to be precise. We got there just in time to see them loading some boats into the first lock to start the process. For those of you who don’t know what a lock is I’ll explain. Once the boats were in the first section they closed the ‘gate’ behind them. They then opened the bottom part of the second ‘gate’ to let some water in. This raised the water level, and hence the boats as well. Once the water levels were equal they opened the second ‘gate’, pulled the boats through, closed the second ‘gate’ and started the process all over again. This took about 15-20 minutes, so to get through this section of the river would take a couple of hours. While this was going on, there was a piper playing, mainly to earn some money from the tourists who come to see the locks. Mum and I had a photo with him, and got rid of all our change – how convenient.

From there we headed to Aviemore and found an interesting little restaurant/bar where we had lunch. There wasn’t anything else interesting so we ate and went straight on to Cairn Gorm (the 6th highest mountain in Scotland). It is there that they have the UK’s highest funicular railway, taking you to 1097m (3598ft) above sea level and just below the summit of Cairn Gorm. After the 8 minute journey to the top, we spent a bit of time (with extra jumpers on) at the viewing terrace, before taking the train back down again.

Our final destination was Ravenscourt House Hotel at Grantown-on-Spey. We checked into our room and then went for a walk through the forest to the river. Our room is the family room so has 2 joining rooms – one with a queen bed, and the other with 2 singles. Unusually though, the en suite is off the second room, so you have to walk through the other room to go to the toilet. It is a very quaint little place though. We did our usual routine of having showers, going for dinner (downstairs in the restaurant), writing blogs and sorting through photos.

We didn’t see Nessie, but it was still a lovely day.

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