Loch Ness

I’m walking along a small paved path, to one side a lightly wooded hill where horses graze lazily on long, green grass. To the other side lay a green meadow sloping gentle downward with small groups of sheep wandering about baahing quietly. Further down the path I can see a vast expanse of crystaline blue water, sheets of white and grey mist rolling across its surface and drifting skyward. It is serene and beautiful, relaxing beyond words. Other than the occasional sound of a vehicle as it passes by, you’re left with the gentle rustle of the wind and grass, the baying of distant animals, and the beauty of the sight before you. I am of course talking about Loch Ness, Scotland, easily one of the most peaceful and serene places I’ve visited…

Which leads to what happened next. This is where the distant figure walking down the path in my direction became clear, and the experience of walking alongside the Loch of legend took a further turn towards the unreal. A man, clearly drunk, wobbling to and fro as he stumbles down the lonesome pathway wearing what could only be described as full stereotypical Highland regalia, complete with kilt, codpiece and silly green beret (With one of those red puffs on the top no less!). Nearly falling over, he asks (In a ridiculously thick highland accent I might add!) where the nearest pub is. I shrug and honestly can’t give any reply other than the town of Drumnadrochit further down the path, where I’d caught a bus from Inverness to in order to get to Loch Ness in the first place. His responce, and I’m only guessing here because the Highland accent is not one easily deciphered by those unnused to it, is something along the lines of “That pisshole ain’t worth a damn.” and with a further ‘thanks’ he wanders off down the lonely pathway towards an uncertain future, where I like to imagine he finally found a drink and someone to share it with because, despite his drunkeness, he seemed a nice enough guy.

Now I can only presume he was a member of a wandering band of bagpipe players that got seperated from his companions through a strange and undoubtedly hilarious series of events which ultimately lead to him getting drunk in a pub in Drumnadrochit and later getting kicked out (Thus the hostility you see?) and that my encounter with him was only a tiny milestone in an epic journey that would span the breath and width of Scotland as he searched for both the perfect brew and to reunite with his bagpipe playing allies. Or he could just been some confused drunk idiot dressed like that on a bet who got lost from a tour group, but that’s somehow less epic and I prefer my take on his story! Whatever the reason it turned into one of the most odd and, to hell with wordiness, damn cool experiences ever. I mean seriously, wandering along Loch Ness and encountering a drunken scot wearing the full outfit right down to the knee-socks and shoes who’s asking where the nearest pub is? Damn, that’s the stuff you expect in a movie or two but not to actually have happen. It couldn’t have been any more Scottish unless there’d also been fluffy sheep grazing nearby, oh wait, THERE WAS! cooooool!

Needless to say by this point I really enjoyed visiting the Loch Ness area of northern Scotland. To get there I took the train to the town of Inverness, a nice enough place itself although most my time was spent elsewhere or sleeping. And from Inverness took a bus to the town of Drumnadochit, which isn’t really a town so much a collection of Loch Ness related shops, restaurants and pubs from what I saw, and from there you can follow a paved path the rest of the way to the Loch itself. There’s a tourism center (Close when I was there.) and some castle ruins (Also closed to the public while I was there, go figure.) at the end of that pathway, but the real pleasure I found was the simple joy of walking there. The scenery is beautiful beyond words, the grass was green, the weather perfect, it was all very relaxing and peaceful.

For the most part after visiting Loch Ness the next few days would be spent mostly sitting in trains staring at the view passing by and talking to my friend about various gooblygork and whozamawuzits out of boredom. The view was fantastic to be sure and Scotland is extremely pleasant, but after staring at the thousandth line of trees and shrubs that obscure your view, it tends to grow a bit wearisome. In the next two days I’d also briefly visit both Glasgow and Nottingham, but neither to the degree that I’d feel comfortable writing much about them seeing as I did little more than sleep there. Seemed nice enough however and I wouldn’t mind exploring them more thoroughly in the future, Nottingham especially seemed quite nice. But that’s for later, my next real stop would be Dover allllll the way in southern England (Now you know why I spent so much time on the train, getting from northern Scotland to Dover.) which turned out to be surprisingly interesting but which I’ll write about later.

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