Friday, August 13, 2010

Aug. 11, 2010 The Highlands and Loch Ness

I caught the tour bus at 10:15 AM. It is actually raining today and I have made good use of Kathy's umbrella.
Our first stop was at the burial cairn of a woman from 4000 years ago. It is now located in a farmer's field. The pile of stones covers a tomb inside where the bones and belongings of a woman were found. The cairn is surrounded by eleven (not twelve) standing stones and on the winter solstice the sun rises to shine directly into the tomb.
Next, we went to the Loch Ness Center where we went through the standard tourist presentations about the history of Nessie, the Loch Ness sea monster. This, of course, was followed by the obligatory gift shop.
Our next stop was Urquart Castle. Originally founded by a pagan "Pict" group, it has been owned, expanded on, raided and destroyed by the Scots, British, and Jacobites. It was alternately inhabited by the Scots and Brits several times. Only ruins of the castle exist now - the last group having blown it up with gunpowder.
We were given two hours to eat lunch, visit the gift shop, watch a short movie and walk around the ruins. It was raining off and on and two hours was too much. By the time the boat came to pick us up, we were soaked.
We had a 1 1/2 hour boat ride along Loch Ness (no signs of Nessie) and back to Inverness.
Tomorrow - the long trip home.

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