Last night we all had a good sleep. Scott Boland knocked over the English before we were even awake.
In Grandma Nicholls fashion, Eloise was still up bright and early for her sub 0°C morning run, dragging Bill along behind. You could not see off the coast. In fact, if it was not for the lighthouse and hearing the waves crashing we would have forgotten we were on the coast.
We were able to have our first look at the Covesea Lighthouse. There was strong nostalgic Round The Twist vibes.
“1846, the Covesea Skerries Lighthouse was completed at a cost of £11,514 (equivalent to £1,139,938 as of 2020). The surrounding walls, because of their height, caused vortices in the yard area in strong winds. This interfered with lightkeepers lookout so the walls were lowered in 1907. In 1984, the lighthouse was automated being remotely monitored and controlled at the Northern Lighthouse Board’s offices in Edinburgh, but originally, the lens was rotated by a clockwork mechanism with gradually descending weights providing the energy. The original lens is on display at the Lossiemouth Fisheries and Community Museum. The light was extinguished on 2 March 2012 in effect replaced “by a North Cardinal navigational lit buoy fitted with X Band Radar Beacon at the north eastern extremity of the Halliman Skerries on 21 February 2012.””
It was then into the cars and through the fog to Duffus Castle, named after the big Duffus, Eloise.
“Duffus Castle, near Elgin, Moray, Scotland, was a motte-and-bailey castle and was in use from c. 1140 to 1705. During its occupation it underwent many alterations. The most fundamental was the destruction of the original wooden structure and its replacement with one of stone. At the time of its establishment, it was one of the most secure fortifications in Scotland. At the death of the 2nd Lord Duffus in 1705, the castle had become totally unsuitable as a dwelling and so was abandoned.”
On our way back to the Carpark we realised why Bill had led us here, the hot drinks went down a treat.
We parted ways and headed towards Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. On the way, Sophie pointed out an unusual looking rainbow around the sun. She convinced Liam to pull over and have a look at it. Turns out it was this strange Halo, slow news day.
We drove up to Inverness Castle which “largely been closed off to the general public for almost 200 years, but work has begun on opening it up to locals and visitors to the city” and eventually found a car park to check out the city.
“Inverness Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Caisteal Inbhir Nis) sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness in Inverness, Scotland. The red sandstone structure, displaying an early castellated style, is the work of a few 19th-century architects. William Burn (1789–1870) designed the Sheriff Court, Joseph Mitchell (1803–1883) the bastioned enclosing walls, and Thomas Brown II (1806–c. 1872) the District Court, originally built as a prison. It is built on the site of an 11th-century defensive structure. Until 30 March 2020, it housed Inverness Sheriff Court: this has now been moved to the Inverness Justice Centre.”
There were three types of shops in Inverness: outdoor adventure, traditional Scottish tartan clothing and souvenir shops. Even though we were in the capital of the Highlands there was no luck in finding Lachlan a snowsuit. He will just have to keep leaving the house with five layers on.
We walked across the underwhelming Ness Bridge and crossed River Ness. I bet you can all imagine what the souvenir shops were selling. We had to look inside The Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre for inspiration. We feel like the Fensom tartan is going backwards not forwards at this stage. There are a strict set of rules when it comes to tartan design. It is not just a matter of choosing colours and line thicknesses. Specific colours cannot be adjacent and blah blah blah. It has not fallen off the to-do list.
Inverness Castle looked slightly more interesting from the River Ness side. Lachlan was still not amused and had had one thing on his mind all afternoon. What is this green monster we keep seeing everywhere that my parents won’t let me nom?
We swung past Inverness Cathedral which was closed at the time. Everything has inconsistent opening hours this time of year. Although you would think a Cathedral would be open? After struggling to find anywhere for lunch on the Southside due to this weird cities layout we pushed on further south to the famous Loch Ness.
“Inverness (/ɪnvərˈnɛs/ (About this soundlisten); from the Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis [iɲɪɾʲˈniʃ], meaning “Mouth of the River Ness”; Scots: Innerness) is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands…. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom… The population of Inverness grew from 40,969 in 2001 to 46,969 in 2012, according to World Population Review… Inverness is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities… In 2014, a survey by a property website described Inverness as the happiest place in Scotland and the second-happiest in the UK”.
We began searching for the Loch Ness Monster. If anyone was going to find Nessie in the Loch, it was going to be the king of the lochs, Lachnado.
As we approached Loch Ness, Lachnado went for the unorthodox strategy of making lots of loud cackling noises. Nessie was not interested. Perhaps it was even too cold for Nessie today. After deploying Darryl with his sonar buoys we were still not having any luck.
“The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie (Scottish Gaelic: Uilebheist Loch Nis), is a creature in Scottish folklore that is said to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is often described as large, long-necked, and with one or more humps protruding from the water. Popular interest and belief in the creature has varied since it was brought to worldwide attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with a number of disputed photographs and sonar readings. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a phenomenon without biological basis, explaining sightings as hoaxes, wishful thinking, and the misidentification of mundane objects. The pseudoscience and subculture of cryptozoology has placed particular emphasis on the creature”.
It was getting dark quickly so we headed back to ye ol’ lighthouse which was still tricky to find because it does not actually work.
Highland Coos count = Big fat ZERO.