On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
The drive from Edinburgh to Loch Ness is utterly spectacular. You go from the Lowlands of Edinburgh into the Highlands (for those interested mainly up the A9). We stayed at the Highland Club, a wonderful former Monastery on the edge of the Loch in the Village of Fort Augustus, which is full of pubs, restaurants, shops and where the Loch meets the Caledonia Canal, which has a swinging bridge which leads to a series of Locks leading up the hill into the Canal which of course leads to another Loch further up north.
The Monastery was converted into a School in the 1960s and then in the 1990s when it was abandoned by the Monks it was bought and turned into tourist accommodation. It is quite delightful, with tennis courts, croquet lawn, cricket pitch, swimming pool (in the Chapel!) and all sorts of wildlife in the grounds.
The scale of the Locks (notice the change in spelling) fascinated my Husband. While we were there, there were a constant stream of vessels waiting their turn, either to come from the Canal into the Loch, or from the Loch into the canal. The main entry to the canal (and/or to the Loch) is a swinging road bridge, which of course holds up traffic on the road, dozens of times a day. The engineering which created this entire thing is still quite unbelievable.
We booked a cruise on the Loch as obviously it is the best way to see it. The staff on board are an absolutely stellar bunch of Scots lads who have an effortless charm and a wicked sense of humour. On board you get a wonderful view of the sonar of the boat and tales of the things they have spotted. (There is still an “unknown” beastie that was scanned on the sonar that, according to the Marine Biologists that they submitted it to, was at least 12 meters long, was moving, and was unidentifed).
Ooooooh Look! Of course, this is a clever ruse. On the boat, there are stickers placed on the windows, whereby you can stand, point your camera down against the window and get this shot. It is great fun!
Fascinating place. When I visited when I served in Scotland back in the late 80s, early 90s, there was nothing but the ruins. You would simply park your car and scramble down the edge of the Loch to paddle in the water. These days it is a large visitor centre, with walkways and all sorts of informational signs it is quite strange when I remember the old way.
As always our days ended with an evening in the pub. Either here at The Lock Inn or The Bothy. Good food, good wine and beer, and then a pleasant walk back to the clubto watch the ducks on the loch and the rabbits on the cricket field. Next stop Gretna!