March is shaping up nicely, I have lots planned and I'm looking forward to ticking them all off. I have a wonderful new nephew, Daniel. Congratulations to my sister Joanne, brother-in-law Martin and my gorgeous niece Olivia. It's like he's always been here, and yet it's very exciting all the same. Perfect addition to the family.
An impromptu night out last weekend with my friend Claire has to be noted too. We stumbled into the Garage...definitely something to do again before 30 - revisit student haunts.
So how do I beat that weekend? Well I race home from work on Friday, taxi to Queen Street and jump on the train to Inverness. Inverness is special for me, been with work several times and I just love it. I love the atmosphere, the compactness, the great independent restaurants, everyone is so friendly and it was a must for the list this year. The train ride up was a first mind you and it was relaxing enough after most train passengers disembarked at Perth, the carriage was quiet, and I could read and listen to my iPod to my heart's content.
I arrived at 9.30pm to be greeted by my parents, actually wanting to spend a weekend with your mum and dad...another sign of maturing age I'm sure. They'd travelled up Thursday. Anyway, I got to hotel room after a few night caps in Hootenanny's to 'John Somerville' ceilidh band. Seriously toe tapping smiley happy music - it was great way to start the weekend.
Once I settled in my room, I decided the only DVD worthy of watching was Loch Ness staring Ted Danson. If you've not seen it, it's not recommended. It's one of those I remember as a kid, it's a classic film, but it doesn't do well revisited as an adult. I have to admit though I loved the nostalgia of the movie and it got me super excited for Nessie hunting on the Saturday. Hence the title of the blog is one of the infamous lines from the film. There was something surreal watching about Nessie in the old hotel room in Inverness. Props go to my friend Graham, it was his idea to hold off watching until I was here. He has actually given me lots of great ideas and helped me chill. For I was a bit stressed at one point as to how I'd complete my task, but I know I'm certainly going to give it my best shot.
Saturday and there is no better set up than a full 'Scottish' fry up! We head to Drumnadrochit with a few stops on way for photo opportunities. In fact, that was our sighting of Nessie. It definitely isn't my mum holding a pre bought fridge magnet whilst I posed and Dad cleverly snapped. We arrived at the visitor centre and the exhibition took us around 45 minutes. It was all about the mystery of the loch and to ask ourselves whether 1000 credible witnesses were wrong and if the water kelpie really does exist?
Our day didn't stop there though, from the centre, we travelled to Corrimony Chambered Cain, it's a ruin of what was once a tomb. Obviously I had to climb through the small passageway to end up in what would have been the crypt. Pretty cool! From there, we continued the drive to reach the Plodda Falls, which are pretty impressive, It was a gentle trek down to see the waterfalls and the spray coming off the powerful 100ft drop was amazing. I do think there is something awe inspiring about water, maybe that's what gives Loch Ness its appeal - more water than the lakes of England and Wales put together, now that's a pub quiz question if ever I heard one! We returned to Inverness via Urghart castle. I was a little disappointed you couldn't get close without paying for the visitors centre and then tour. We didn't feel it was worthwhile. It just would have been nice to make it down to the water's edge.
Back to Inverness and a wee wander, a bit of rugby, a touch of relaxation and then ready for the evening. Dinner was in The Kitchen Brasserie by the River Ness, which was delicious. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal. We had a table in the upper level right by the window so it was a gorgeous view. After dinner we ventured to Johnny Foxes and Bar One to sample the nightlife. All in all a fantastic day out.
Sunday saw our journey home, through the narrow windy country roads on the other side of the loch with a stop off at Fort Augustus. Another photo opportunity at the locks and we were off again.
I had a fantastic weekend and I would like to say a huge thank you to my Mum and Dad for helping me tick off another place. Also Dad for all the chauffeuring about. As for Nessie...does she exist? All I will say is that I love Inverness and there is something very magical about the place even just walking around the River Ness with the castle looking down at you. I will be back again and again... I have no doubt. For I have a very large soft spot for this part of Scotland. Number four on my list is complete.