I Spy a Monster … or did I?

Whilst in Scotland and in Inverness we made the requisite trip down to Loch Ness to see if we could spy a monster. Yes, I must admit, Loch Ness is surely one of the worst tourist traps in the world, and going on a cruise to look for Nessie ranks right up there with “going to the top of the Eiffel Tower” as one of the most cliched things you can do … but it must be done. These places are tourist traps for a reason, after all, because the tourists love to do them!  So we played tourist for a day, and took the boat out on Loch Ness. We tried to something a bit different though, and rather than merely monster spotting we took the cruise to Castle Urquhart, a lovely ruin on the shore of Loch Ness.  Unfortunately, our “something a bit different” turned out to be the same thing that 4,276,294 other tourists wanted to do that day! Oh well.  It was very scenic, if you can see past all the annoying Americans.  🙂

This is the boat we took. It’s got a very shallow draft, so it can come right up to the shoreline. It’s also a catamaran, which I thought was interesting.


The guidebooks always describe Loch Ness as being “surrounded by the highlands” , but in my opinion these were pretty low and meagre. It did look like farther down the loch the mountains were more impressive …


Looking south on Loch Ness … it’s a really long lake, so it’s not surprising to think that a monster could hide in there for years and never be found. And no, that’s not Nessie on the far left of the pic, it’s just another boat.  🙂


Arriving at Urquhart Castle by water is a pretty impressive experience, even if the ruins leave a bit to be desired. They really are ruins … there is hardly anything left of the castle that once looked out over the water.


Looking up at the remains of the castle keep. Yes, there was a conga line of tourists, all eagerly waiting for their 20.3 seconds at the top.


Historic Scotland did a nice job with the preservation of the ruins, and they’ve made a valiant attempt to provide historical background. But the reality is that it was a pretty poor castle, in a pretty useless location … nothing big ever really happened here.


Overall, I would probably not recommend either the Loch cruise or the Castle to friends visiting Scotland. It was quite pricey (especially the taxi out to the boat’s departure point!), and there are more interesting sites to see.










Posted on 30/08/2012, in Castles & Cathedrals, Exploring the UK, travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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