Scotland Diaries - Part II

Hiking Loch Ness

lochness.jpgHere is the view of Loch Ness we woke to outside our window on Sunday morning.  Did you know Loch Ness is 700 feet deep and is the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain? I'd always pictured it as this medium-sized lake, but it's actually 23 miles long and 1 mile wide. So darnnit, Nessie could have been hiding anywhere.

 We were planning on driving to some hiking areas, but after breakfast we decided to take a "15-minute walk" down to the Loch. That turned into a 3-hour excursion as we found paths and trails and waterfalls. It rains almost daily in the Highlands but we had a full day of sun.

And the locals freaked out about it. Okay, yes, the sun was out. lochness2.jpgBut it was still a low 62 degrees with a biting wind. As you can see, I'm in a turtleneck and scarf and I took my windbreaker off for this picture. But when we went into town later that day, as I was digging for my gloves the locals were walking around in tank tops and shorts. 

After our hike we drove to Culloden Battlefield. I'd never heard of Culloden but it's a very important bit of history. Culloden is the site of the last major battle fought on mainland Britain. The battle of Culloden took place on April 16, 1746 and was a battle between armies of Prince Charles Edward Stuart--hoping to reclaim the British throne--and the Duke of Cumberland. Prince Charles' army was made up of Highlanders who'd been just slaying any army they were up against. They were a highly feared fighting force. But Cumberland was brutal in tactics that day and the Highlanders--the whole army of them--were slaughtered in less than an hour. It took us that long to walk around the field.

The battlefield exhibit is pretty lame, and there are signs everywhere encouraging people to help fund an upgrade to the site. They did have an excellent 15 minute informative film and--even better--a gnarled old Scottish man who clearly didn't suffer fools, dressed in full Scottish dress and bearing ancient arms. He gave a demonstration of how the Highlanders used to fight that was riveting. Well worth the admission price just to sit and listen to him.

Back to the hotel for dinner and reading and another day complete.