We had just one more day to take in the sights around Inverness and Loch Ness. I shouldn't admit this but I can remember back to the days when I didn't believe there was such a place as Loch Ness, I thought it was a mythical place, just part of the Monster story. Can't remember what I had for breakfast, mind.
A felt a little of the wonder I may have felt as a child when I had my first glimpse of the loch. It just didn't seem possible that millions of others had seen it before me.
If I'd been around 4,000 odd years ago and had to choose a spot for my castle where I could keep an eye on what was going on for miles around, I couldn't have found a better place than where Urquhart Castle stands. Quite a few others, over the years, have thought the same way. The current castle ruins which date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, are still impressive. Of course there has been considerable conflict and loss of blood but I'm sure, along the way, the castle inhabitants must have occasionally paused in their warring to appreciate the magnificent highlands scenery.
Walking from the visitors centre to the ruins you're reminded of the troubled times of the past by this massive catapult (the inscription said it was a Trebucket). Imagine that hurling rocks which would weigh around 11 kg (24 pounds) at unwelcome visitors!
Remains of the old gatehouse
A bonny guide explains the different weapons of warfare.
Lovely light, a reminder that it wasn't all about battles
I decided while we were there that I wanted to buy a picture book (for Aiden, my youngest grandson) about Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. You wouldn't think that would be difficult, would you? There were plenty but they were hard backed and heavy. I still had a month of traveling ahead of me and was determined to add as little as possible to the weight of my suitcase. Graham is always so accommodating, and at the third place he suggested I found what I wanted. The man who served me, upon hearing my accent asked the usual - Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going next? When I said we're going to Beauly next he pondered, "Beauly. Beauly is ... Beauly is ... Beauly is what it is." That left me wondering what the hell was wrong with Beauly. Don't know what that guy's problem was, I thought it was delightful!
Beauly means "beautiful place" and the locals certainly make every effort to make it so. I'd admired the window boxes and potted flowers in England and Ireland but Beauly put them all to shame.