One of the things Stefan insisted we do while in Scotland was go to Loch Ness and search for the Loch Ness Monster. He also didn’t want to drive, so I found us a tour that would combine Loch Ness with some other sights that I wanted to see while in Scotland. We used Scotline Tours and overall they were an affordable and well organized company. While large bus tours aren’t always ideal (people talk when the guide is talking, you don’t get to see as much, etc.) it was nice to relax and let someone else maneuver through the rain.
Our first stop on our tour was to a Scottish Woolen Mill. Here we caught our first glimpse of Highland Cows. They are so cute. We ended up seeing these cows everywhere on our tour. We also saw a ton of sheep. Our guide told us that for every person in Scotland there are 5 sheep! At the woolen mill I also bought some plaid scarves made in Scotland and some “Scottie Dogs” which are shortbread cookies.
Then we drove on to Glencoe. Glencoe is absolutely beautiful! Despite it still being cold in Scotland it was still so green. You may have heard of the Glencoe massacre that took place here in 1692 during the Jacobite uprising. Basically, the Clan Campbell murdered 38 members of the MacDonald Clan of Glencoe and then set their homes on fire. 40 women and children died because of exposure to the elements. You can read more about it here. To this day there are still establishments in the Glencoe area that won’t serve people with the last name Campbell. How they would ever know beats me. There is definitely still bad blood there.
After we explored Glencoe a little bit we stopped at the Commando Memorial. It is a memorial dedicated to the British Commando Forces from WWII who trained in Scotland. There is a nice statue and a memorial garden here. From this memorial you can also see Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Unfortunately, it was cloudy on the day we went, so we couldn’t see the top part of Ben Nevis.
Ben Nevis. The rest of it is high in the clouds.
After we left the Commando Memorial we made our way through the Scottish Highlands to Loch Ness. Our first stop was Urquhart Castle located on the banks of Loch Ness. We walked around the castle grounds for about an hour. We even caught a demonstration on how to use medieval weapons.
We then boarded a boat to take a cruise on Loch Ness and look for Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. I really didn’t know what to expect from Loch Ness. I don’t really remember ever hearing much about it except that there was a Loch Ness monster. Well, the water looks like Coca-Cola. It is extremely dark and when the boat makes wakes it looks like fizz rising to the top. Apparently the lake is not polluted it is just full of sediment which makes it murky and dark. That’s probably why they can’t catch Nessie, because the water is so dark.
This picture might look deceiving, but this was actually a fairly accurate picture of the color Loch Ness was on the day we visited.
We actually learned a lot about Loch Ness while cruising on it. They not only told us about where sightings of Nessie had taken place, but they showed us how they search for Nessie using their fancy equipment. We were also told about historical events taking place on and near Loch Ness. We cruised the entire length of Loch Ness and it was pretty neat. We also had Nessie’s Beer while on the boat. The beer was more clear than the lake water.
After Loch Ness we drove a different route through the Highlands on our way back to Edinburgh. We saw many highland cows, sheep and beautiful landscapes. We even saw the rail road bridge that was used to film the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies.