Rain overnight but the sun was shining this morning, The sky was overcast and threatening rain later in the day.
We spent a couple of hours wandering around the small town of Fort Augustus, taking in the sights of the boats accessing the locks of the Caledonian Canal through a swing bridge. The Caledonian Canal was built in the early 19th century to link the North Sea to the North Atlantic Ocean. The aim was to provide a passage for fishing boats. The canal is interesting in that only one third of it is man-made. The rest of the distance is achieved by using the lochs. These lochs lie in what is called the Great Glen, a geological fault line that separates the European and American plates. At the time, the locks built were the biggest of their time. A very nice town with souvenir and coffee shops, and a variety of other shops. The butcher shop sells coffee, and baked goods as well as the meats and haggis.
Heading north along Loch Ness, keeping an eye out for the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, just in case it was out and about in the overcast conditions. There is only one island in Loch Ness, there used to be two but when the Caledonian Canal was built, the water covered the smaller island. The remaining island, Cherry Island, is smaller that it used to be due to the raised water level. The island is actually man-made, a late prehistoric crannog, on which it is believed a small castle once existed.
Further north are the ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shore of the Loch. Certainly a beautiful spot to build your dream home. The ruins date from the 13th - 16 centuries and the castle, one of the largest in Scotland, was the site of many battles during the Wars of Independence. In 1690 the main gatehouse was blown up by departing soldiers and over the years, as usual, the stone of the castle was used in the construction of other buildings in the area.
In Drumnadrochit we toured the Loch Ness Centre which has an audio-visual display on the history, myths and hoaxes associated with the Loch Ness Monster. Many of you would remember the investigations of past years involving cameras, sonar and small submersibles. These were all outlined explaining why such an animal could not be in the loch.
Into Inverness just as a light shower of rain caught up to us. It didn't last long but things don't look too good for tomorrow as we look around the Inverness area.