Day four started out brighter and earlier than any of the days thus far. We left Edinburgh at 6am to get back to Glasgow for 8AM which is when our day trip left. We talked outside to a winter wonderland. It snowed SO much. (If you look on facebook you will see a picture of me and Marlee after our walk to the train.) We started the day off once again frozen to the bone.
We arrived in Glasgow and were ready to go on an adventure in hopes of seeing Nessie. We went on a day tour by Rabbie's tours, they basically have a sixteen passenger bus and a tour guide who drives the bus. Our tour guide's name was John and he was full of knowledge and an accent we could understand! While other tours were canceling, John decided to trek through the storm for us to experience the highlands.
Our first stop was at Loch Lomond. For a second I thought I was back home and we were going to go ice fishing, but I was wrong! I forgot I was in SCOTLAND, silly me!!! Loch Lomond is the largest fresh water lake in Scotland and is over 600 feet deep in some areas. I can't even comprehend that depth. We stopped at a small village called Luss and got to walk around for a bit to explore the place. Loch Lomond is a very popular Loch in Scotland and there is an old song written about it-John played it for us and it is indeed very lovely.
Next along the road we got to see things such as the oldest pub in Scotland. It was built in the 17th century and John told us that if we were ever to stay in there that we should avoid room number 6 because it does not heat up and there are ghosts in there. (Good advice I reckon) We also got to see Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland and the most popular mountain to climb. John told us that he has seen a lot of people getting air lifted off of it since he started working with Rabbies. We traveled through Glen Coe, while traveling through you can see mountains on both sides. It's very majestic. Along the road we saw many stags. The stags (aka deer) were everywhere! At one look out point people had left carrots for the stag's to eat.
We stopped at the Invernochy Castle near Fort William. The castle is sited on the south bank of the River Lochy, at the strategically important entrance to the Great Glen, a key passage through the Scottish Highlands. We got to do some major climbing in this castle. At one point we were standing on top of the old castle - of course we were careful without travel insurance and all!
FINALLY, after stopped at all these small places and look out points we reached our destination, Loch Ness. Here our search began for the monster-we were CERTAIN to find her! Loch Ness was beautiful even though Nessie was too shy to make an appearance. We are pretty certain we saw a ripple in the water which was her greetings to us. There was a boat there that you can take onto the loch, but we didn't have time. Besides, we were unwilling to pay to get onto a boat! come on now!
On the way back we stopped at places such as look out places, war memorials and a small town called pitlochry. Pitlochry was a nice little resort village where we stopped to have some supper.
Overall, I would strongly recommend people to take a day tour by bus. The tour guide (John) was amazing. He knew so many different stories about the heritage and history of the highlands. He had a head set that he wore while driving and was able to tell us popular things to check out alongside the road. He is also a saint in our eyes because he introduced us to "Celtic Thunder" which translates in English as "Music sung by Angels." You should download some Celtic Thunder - our favorites are called Caledonia, Brothers In Arms and Castles in the Air. You could also Youtube them to see them perform. As soon as we got home we downloaded it all and now we can't get enough! It's beautiful!
After the big day trip (12 hours in total) we were hungry! We hit up a local establishment to try Haggis! An online dictionary defines Haggis as:" n.
A Scottish dish consisting of a mixture of the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal." Yup- sounds awful. We decided just to try a "wee" taste. I'm happy to report that is tasted great! It tasted very similar to a sausage before you case it. Momma used to fry up a piece of sausage without casing on it and I would compare this to Haggis. It is served with mash potatoes (tatties) and turnips (neeps) along with a gravy made out of scotch. Yummy! I would strongly recommend it for everyone!
We got back to our hostel so tired from all the traveling only to find a complete psycho path in there! We were in a hostel with 12 beds and for the most part all the people are always very normal and friendly. This woman was the exception to any and every rule there has ever been. Apparently her husband was cheating on her and left her and blah blah blah. She was drunk and staying in this hostel making phone calls which ended up with her yelling and screaming and crying. Finally we told her to pipe down and get out if she couldn't. She then went outside to have smoke and we locked up all of our stuff in the lockers. I guess one psycho in 4 months isn't too bad.
Things I've Learned....
1. "Wee" - wee can be substituted in any instance where you would use the word small or little. You can have a "wee loch" or a "wee taste" or a "wee break." John used it in every sentence. Kristin was so intrigued by this word that she too used it in every sentence that followed our tour.
2. "Loch" Loch means lake. In Scotland, there are a whole chain of Loch's that are connected by the Caledonian canal.
3. It's cold in Scotland. I can't stress that enough I'm sorry!