U.K. Holiday: April 2017

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Friday, April 21 - Loch Ness Tour

This was our last real day of vacation even though we weren't actually leaving until Saturday. We had arranged another tour for the day but it didn't leave until 10:15. Still, we were up a little after 7:00, had breakfast just after 8:00 but in no hurry. By 9:15, we were out of the hotel on the way to the bus station to scout out airport bus for the next day. With 30 minutes before our tour started, we walked around a few blocks and looked at some shops.

Photos of the morning drive (13 images)

Our bus drove us up the banks of the River Ness, past the first gate of the Caledonian Canal, and through the town of Drumnadrochit. Then we turned West and into the countryside, ending up on a single track road leading to Carrimony Carins, a 4000 year old ancient burial site, a circular rock mound surrounded by standing stones. Strangely, this site only has 11 stones, whereas all the others have 12, and this one doesn't seem to have been used for any burials. Tour left at 10:15, drove through Inverness up the river Ness past a canal gate to the first loch, then Loch Ness. Turned to the West at Drumnadrochit and on into the countryside. The single track road to Corrimony Cairns, to an ancient (4000 year old) burial site (11 standing stones - the only one with 11, as all others have 12).

Photos of Urquhart Castle (38 images)

Back on the main road, we stopped in Drumnadrochit where the Loch Ness visitor's center is located. Going through the center is basically mandated, so we whizzed through it, complete with some videos about the mysteries of Loch Ness, to say we'd done it. Unfortunately, when we got back on the bus for our next stop our guide drove us through a lovely city square that we surely would have visited instead of spending our time at the center, but, oh well -- at least Neil had found the "right" t-shirt at the visitor's center.

We had quite a long time to visit the Urqhart Castle ruins and the surrounding grounds. The views of Loch Ness from the castle were stunning, and we had a full 2 hours, plenty of time for picture taking, roaming, climbing up the tower, and a snack lunch and coffee for each of us. And Ginger found a knight figurine, just what Neil had been looking for, for only £8.50!

Photos of the cruise on Loch Ness (15 images)

At the scheduled time, we headed down to the designated dock to get on our boat for our Loch Ness cruise: a 1-hour ride down the loch to the beginning of the River Ness. Our guide pointed out some sites and sang us some songs, mostly about clan battles.

Photos of the evening (2 images)

We got off the boat and right onto a tour bus for the short 10-min ride back to the city center. Done for the afternoon, we headed back to the hotel for a cup of tea and to copy photos and look up travel info for the next day. Dinner: short walk to Akz, a little place where Neil got a £3 8" pizza and Ginger got (you guessed it!) another kabab.