As promised, here’s part two. This part of the story involved an epic (well, maybe not as epic as you might think) search for the Loch Ness Monster and me almost dying on a hike in the woods. Sit back, relax, and get ready for the next adventure!
On Saturday evening, we found ourselves in Fort Augustus (like I mentioned in my last post). This, you guys, is where the magic happened. We arrived in the quaint town around 4 PM and quickly shuffled onto a boat to take a ride on the infamous Loch Ness.
Our boat tour took us as far into the Loch Ness we could go. Sitting on the top of the boat, it was amazing to take in the lake in all of it’s entirety. It’s as eerie, mysterious, and wonderful as you’d imagine it to be. It is also so, so much more than you’d imagine it to be.
Fun fact our tour guide shared with us: the Loch Ness contains more water than twice the volume of England and Wales combined.
Another fact about the Loch Ness, you see those mountains lining the lake? Well, the loch is as deep as those mountains are high. If neither of those two facts don’t amaze you, then I don’t know what does.
Eventually, the boat took nice little break in the middle of the lake, where we all got the opportunity to just sit and take it all in. My two friends and I remained on the top of the boat after everyone else decided to find their way back to the enclosed portion of the boat. Granted, it was getting progressively chillier as the evening went on, but how many times in your life are you going to be able to say that you were on the Loch Ness?
Did I see the famous Nessie (i.e the Loch Ness monster) while I was on the boat tour? Definitely not, but that doesn’t mean that the trip wasn’t amazing. I’ll find Nessie the next time I find myself on the Loch Ness.
After our boat tour ended, we then shuffled indoors to watch a traditional highlander performance. Was it fun? Yes. Am I going to get into the nitty gritty details of it all? No.
The highlight of the evening, however, was none of the above. The real highlight was when my two friends and I found ourselves sitting along the edge of the Loch Ness after dinner and watching the sun go down.
Sitting so close to arguably one of the most famous lakes in the world was one of the most serene things I have ever done. Once again, I felt as if I could have been anywhere in the world at that very moment, but when I realized where I actually was, everything got that much more magical and tranquil.
Watching the sun go down on the Loch Ness is one of the most peaceful things anyone could ever do. Up there, you discover a new kind of silence. You just hear the gentle sounds of the water lapping on the rocks that line the lake, birds chirping, and the few bats that fly by. My suggestion to you would be to visit the Loch Ness and experience that beauty for itself. It would be impossible for me to sit here and try to describe to you how amazing and peaceful it was because I wouldn’t be able to even scrape the surface on how beautiful it was in reality.
After our tranquil evening, the next morning we were back on the bus heading through the highlands once again. We drove through the town of Inverness, which according to our tour guide’s information for us Americans on the bus, is one of the most northern places we may have ever been.
After we passed through Inverness, we took a pit stop at The Hermitage. The best way to describe The Hermitage would be to tell you that it’s like walking into a fairy tale. You’d expect fairies and trolls to come out of hiding as you enter the woods.
A forest in Scotland, we hiked through The Hermitage to see one hell of a waterfall. As someone who rarely ever hikes (or ventures into forests for that matter), I had the best time on this particular hike. Did I trip a lot? Of course I did. Did I still have a fantastic time? Hell yeah.
When in Scotland, know that it rains (a lot) and know that you’re going to get a little bit (or a lot) muddy. Keeping those two things in mind, it’s impossible to not have a good time, even if you’re on a hike in the middle of the muddiest forest you’ve ever laid eyes on.
And so friends, that is my Scotland weekend in a nutshell. After greeting our share of friendly highland dogs that ran up to us and catching sight of pillow like clouds, the remainder of the trip had us on the bus back to Edinburgh to catch a 5:30 PM train. We spent close to six hours on the train, and I didn’t walk through my door until 12:15 AM on a Sunday night, and had to be up and out the door for work bright and early the next day.
Our journey home aside, the highlands have quickly become one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. I’ve seen many monuments and many natural wonders in my lifetime, but the highlands take the cake. Maybe it’s because I never imagined myself visiting the highlands, or because the entire trip left me awestruck. Either way, I loved the highlands and encourage any and everyone to take a trip up there one day. You won’t regret it.