I do not know how much you knew about Scotland before I have taken you there. For me the first thought has always been "Nessie". Today I am happy to show you Loch Ness and its surroundings.
We will start with Culloden, where on 16 April 1764 the Jacobite Rising was broken by Duke Cumberland. The red flag indicates the line of the English forces.
The memorial cairn is pretty modest for Scottish standards.
The number of those who perished was so high that the "gallant Highlanders" are commemorated by the names of their clans only. Let's spend a minute of silence for the brave Frasers.
The Leanach cottage shown below makes you realise what farmhouses looked like back at that time. And yes, thatched roofed and turf-walled.
Today the only inhabitants of the moore are sheep ...
... and the Highland cows. The latter are easy to recognise by their shaggy coats and long horns.
The biggest town in the region is Inverness. It is considered as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Here comes the Town Hall.
Let's take the High Street.
The Castle of Inverness is supposed to have replaced the one where Macbeth lived. And yes, the
Shakespeare's play is inspired by historical facts.
In front of the castle there is a monument commemorating a Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald.
Alright, enough of history lessons. The river Ness will take us to the lake of the same name. A "loch" is a Scottish name for fjord-type lakes, typically long and deep.
We will start our visit to Loch Ness by having a look at the Urquhart Castle.
The castle has been standing in this place for half a millennium, passing from hands to hands and being raided regularly. As a result, not much has remained of its past glory.
Let's walk up the stairs and try to imagine what it felt like to live in a place with a view like this.
On the right hand side - Inverness.
On the left hand side - the water and the mountains.
The most important part of any visit to Loch Ness is of course a cruise on the lake, in the quest to catch (at least on a picture) the legendary Monster. The water is not very inviting - it is clean but surprisingly dark.
From water side, the Urquhart Castle seems even more ruined.
Probably you will not be surprised that I did not meet Nessie during our cruise. I am sure that she has never planned to become a celebrity and now she is hiding well. I could only pass my greetings to her statue next to the visitors center.
I propose we end this long and tiring day with a baked potato, accompanied by coleslaw. Warm, tasty and as Scottish as Nessie herself.