Cottage of the week – Kath’s diary at The Waterfront pt. 4

Here’s part 4 of Kath’s break at The Waterfront in Fort William.

Tuesday 27th September 2011

So today we had hoped to execute a long cycle ride… sadly my legs said otherwise and over breakfast we decided to postpone until tomorrow. OK, I persuaded Ian with my sad face… I am on holiday after all! Instead we jumped in the car and headed North along the A82 to Inverness for some city culture… and shopping! See what I did there?

The route was a scenic wonder taking us through dense dark pine forests and our first stop was Spean Bridge home of the Commandos Memorial. The huge 17 foot high memorial statue was designed by Scott Sutherland in 1949 and was dedicated to the Commandos by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 12 September 1952. UK Commandos and US Army Rangers all trained in the area around the village between 1942 and 1945. It’s obviously well visited as three coaches pulled up to stand and look in humbled silence whilst we were there.

 

From there we headed alongside Loch Lochy which is the route of The Great Glen Way towards Invergarry. This is where the impressive Bridge of Oich passes over The Caledonian Canal. We stopped for a look on which was one of many times we would criss cross over the canal on our way to Inverness.

Next on the list was Fort Augustus and passing over the canal swing bridge we hit the south side of the infamous Loch Ness. Of course I saw Nessie gliding along gracefully… sadly Ian blinked and missed her. Oh well Ian – you snooze, you loose!

Another well known village next… Drumnadrochit. I had thought it would be much bigger in fact it consisted of a café, a restaurant, gift shop and a ferry/cruise boardwalk. Still it was very pretty and the Nessie Cruises obviously attract as there were plenty of people around.

I hadn’t realised quite how vast Loch Ness actually was… it seemed to go on for miles (the guide book says approx 23 miles) and our route took us round most of it. It is absolutely stunning… wide, blue and Urquhart Castle is a joy to see, standing proud at it’s edge. We stopped to see this incredibly ancient ruin and I was stunned to find that radiocarbon dates obtained in 1983 from excavations within the castle were in the date range of 460-660 AD. How incredible is that? It certainly gets you thinking about times gone by and life pre our own family greats.

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