15 June 2012, Gail’s trip log

We went looking for the Loch Ness monster today. We arrived at the port of Invergordon about 700 this morning – beautiful and green estuary that is the port for Inverness. We went to the meeting place and were off on our tour about 900. I was lucky and got the front seat – Dan sat farther back – and had a great view all day. We drove along the estuary and over the bridge and on through green countryside to our first stop – Urquardt Castle on Loch Ness. It was very crowded but our driver got our tickets and got us in the back way – so we avoided some of it. We first went to the loo and the gift shop and Dan got some postcards and fridge magnets, which turned out to be a good thing because when it was nearly the  time we needed to leave to go back to the bus the line at the gift shop to check out was very long. We walked down to the castle ruins right on Loch Ness and of course had someone take our picture. Dan bought coffee from a little stand and I sat while he climbed all over all the ruins and took pictures. After a bit I went back up to the visitors center and watched the 8 minute video about the history of the castle – and of course the Nessie legend. Back on the bus we were on our way to lunch at a hotel in Inverness. We were early so the driver drove around for a bit in the very pretty town right on the river with lovely old buildings and lots of churches. Lunch was almost the same as it was in Greenock – chicken with whiskey sauce, potatoes, vegetables, and dessert of the whipped cream with oats and raspberries. We had about 45 minutes to explore after lunch – Dan went and took some pictures and bought some postcards. At 230 we were off to our second stop of the day – Cawdor Castle. It is supposedly where the story in Macbeth happened, except that Macbeth lived 500 years before the castle was built. At any rate, it is fully restored and privately owned and currently occupied (in part of it we didn’t see). It is open to tours in the summer. It was, of course, very crowded, with narrow stairways so you had to go single file in and out of 8 or 9 beautiful rooms, including both a modern and the original (up to 1938) kitchens. It was interesting, but I was very glad to get out of there. Dan and I had gotten separated, so I just went back to the bus – he showed up a few minutes later with coffee for me. We got back to the ship at the same time as 8 other buses – there was a long line and it was cold and the wind was howling. We were very glad when we made it back on board so we could get warm. We had an early dinner and now watching a Nick Nolte movie: Warrior. Edinburgh tomorrow

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