Travel Journal March 22, 1999
The monster is safely under loch and quay.


If the day is pleasant, wander around Loch Ness a while and look for Nessie. There are dozens of villages along the banks of the lake to explore, and it's a very picaresque place even in poor weather. - Richard Foss

Well, the day wasn't pleasant, but I got up bright and early and went down to the Tourist Information Center, and bought a ticket for a day tour of Loch Ness.

The guide was an elderly Scottish gentleman who was quite a character, and who was able to greet both the Japanese and Spanish tourists in their native language.

The first stop was the James Pringle Weavers of Edinburgh. This is a factory where they make tartans.

Then we drove out the the loch itself.

Loch Ness is not the largest loch, in terms of surface area. Nor is it the deepest (Loch Ness is 800 feet deep, Loch Morar is over 1000). However, Loch Ness has the largest volume of water of any of the Lochs. In fact, it has more water in it than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined.

The water is cold, maintaining a temperature between 5 and 6 degrees centigrade all year long. If you were dropped into the center of the lake without protective thermal clothing, you'd last about 15 minutes.

No trip to Loch Ness would be complete without a stop at Urquhart castle. (Once again, the "Great British Heritage Pass" did the trick.)

Here's a photo of me taken by a Japanese tourist who was on the same tour. I was rather cold at that moment.

Next, we drove to the town of Drummadocht, which is the home of both the Official Loch Ness Monster Centre (which is no more official than any other), and the Original Loch Ness Monster Centre (which opened after the other one did.) I also noticed that the Original centre was branching out - next door was a building purporting to be the "Bonnie Prince Charlie Heritage Centre" and the "Braveheart centre". My only concern was whether I was going to use the "official" toilets or the "original" toilets.

Later we stopped near the cabin where Peter Pan was written; Unfortunately, it was raining pretty hard and no-one really wanted to walk up the road a few hundred yards to see it. Instead, I took some pictures of the trees which were interesting.

Later that evening I went to a pub and got into a strange conversation with a trio of thick-accented laborers. Then I went to a restaurant and had Haggis for the first time. Interesting, not unpleasant, but a bit on the lardy side; not the kind of thing I would want very often.