Loch Ness through Glencoe


My whiskey-sampling duties notwithstanding, I rose full of purpose and much recovered from a somewhat dispirited finish to yesterday.

I even found it in my heart to like Basil Fawlty a bit.

The sonar boat tour of Loch Ness was fantastic, largely because our skipper John was intimately involved with the scientific explorations of the Loch and therefore a mine of information about the whole thing.

Loch Ness – part of a huge fault that effectively chopped the head off Britain and extends to Norway. Exacerbated by glacial action so that the loch floor is flat, albeit pretty consistently 230M deep. At an alarmingly close proximity to the edge (he took us there to show us, and of course being Scotland the lifejackets were all visible and in their original packaging in the hold) it is still deeper than the English Channel at around 25M deep.

They have taken core samples from the floor of the Loch which give amazing reports on the annual climatic conditions; eg, the industrial revolution is evident, and the subsequent clean years after it was cleaned up; and the Pacific Atomic Tests and Chernobyl……all set down in layers on the floor of Loch Ness.

As in … wow!

Very few fish live there, as the Loch Ness Monster eats all the food – or all the fish? Or perhaps it’s because the water is extremely brackish from tannin from the trees, and photosynthesis is curtailed severely, underwater visibility being 9M max, and food is minimal as a result, so fish stocks are way less than one would expect from a body of fresh water that is greater than the combined total of freshwater in the whole of Britain.

mimiSo we set off late after our Loch Ness experience (and after dallying at the gift store), and I just had to see Guisachan at Tomich, another of my grandmother’s childhood haunts; not Guisachan itself, home of Lord & Lady Tweedmouth, now a ruin, but adjacent Kerrow, home of Tweedmouth’s mother Lady Aberdeen who was my grandmother’s step grandmother. She was wonderful to my grandmother and her sister Lily, and kept ponies and treats to make their holidays special. It was lovely to see the home where Mimi spent many happy times.

We then rushed, somewhat, down the side of Loch Ness, nary a monster in sight, but many spectacular views and Highland colours that defy the apparent barrenness of the place. Miles and miles of seemingly wild and uninhabited land from Glencoe through its haunted glen on a cushion of sound from the Scottish songs on Robert’s new cd (as sung forever by Gran Grieve).

And evening at last at a place called Tyndrum, on the edge of civilisation, with crisp air, sweet water and gale-force winds promised for tomorrow.

©jane grieve

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