Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Thursday, August 24, 2006

Into the books: Day 5, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Haggis for lunch!

***No book links today***

We'd reached the northern limit of our vacation, so we left Inverness and headed south, driving along the western shore of the famous Loch Ness. Of course, we had to stop at the Loch Ness Tourist Center, where we were sucked into a tourist trap that managed to be corny, charming, and informative all at once. An extensive exhibit featuring models, movies, dioramas, sound and light, took us through the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. We started in the Dark Ages with St. Columba battling the beast, continued through the ages with numerous sightings and photos, and ended with dozens of boats loaded with computers and sonar spread across the Loch looking for Nessie. We found out that Nessie couldn't be a leftover dinosaur, since Loch Ness had formed after the age when Scotland was part of the tropics. Numerous other theories were also debunked.

Spoiler alert!! At the end of the show, the narrator put forth the theory that the Loch Ness Monster was probably an illusion, the result of odd shadows formed by conflicting currents in the loch. Some of the more solid sightings might have been caused by clueless sturgeons that swim too far upriver from the North Sea and get trapped in the Loch. Nessie a sturgeon! Geez. Talk about a let down! I don't care what they say, I'm sticking with the live monster theories. Here's a pic of the REAL Nessie:

Urquhart Castle, a beautiful ruin set on a small peninsula overlooking Loch Ness is a short drive from the Loch Ness Visitor Center. We had a great time climbing around the ruins and searching the loch for monsters. Here's a pic of Urquhart Castle with Loch Ness in the background:

We continued south, stopping in Ft. William for a late lunch, where I gathered up enough nerve to order Haggis. For any of you who don't know, the recipe for Haggis is enough to turn your stomach: grind up a sheep's lungs, heart, and liver and mix it with oatmeal, beef suet and spices. Shove the whole batch in a sheep's stomach and boil it until done. Thankfully, there was no sheep's stomach casing on my plate, just the Haggis innards. It tasted like a very peppery sausage. It was actually pretty good, as long as you didn't think too long and hard about what was in it.

Driving east from Ft. William, we passed through some mountainous moors (very pretty and desolate) and into the Trossachs, where we stopped for the night.

Next Up: Doune Castle (Monty Python was here!) and Gretna Green




Blogger Suzette said...

I just wanted to say thanks for all the pics and nits that go with them. One of my dreams is to go to Scotland and Ireland before I leave this Earth. AND no, I'm neither Irish or Scottish. I'm just extremely fascinated by these two places and I thank the many authors that write with these places in their stories for that fascination. I think you are blessed to have gone to such truly wonderful places!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Joy Nash said...


I'm so glad you like my little glimpse into Scotland so far! I'm not Scottish, either, but it's very easy to fall in love with this country. It is so beautiful and the history is so fascinating. And I could listen to the Scots' cool accent forever!


7:18 PM  

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