Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Inverness and Loch Ness

The next place we stopped as we continued up into the Highlands, was Inverness. Inverness Castle was one of the last, great, Jacobian strongholds. Scots are very much like us here in the South in alot of ways. It should come as no surprise as most Southerners can trace most of their heritage back to the Scots-Irish immigrants. They love to sing the hardship but glory of the "good ol' days." They are fiercely independent, and not afriad to fight for that independence. Many Scots, primarily in the Highlands, didn't feel as though joining with England had been a good idea. They felt as if the promised benefits had not come through, and besides they had not been for it or consulted about it in anyway. Their solution was to restore the Scotish monarchy, and campioned around Bonny Prince Charlie amongst other decidence of the Stuarts. Most of these princes had been born and raised overseas either in France or Italy, and some had no real feeling for their homeland. Bonny Prince Charlie was one of the notable exceptions. He was born in Scotland, though raised in France to protect him from the English, he was an ardent romantic for all things Scottish. Through a series of events, he landed in the Northwest area of Scotland, and the clans when called upon for honors sake ralleyed to his side. They fought and were little more than 50 miles from taking over London, when the cheifs refused to go further. They wanted an independent Scotland, not a Scottish king sitting in London on a Scottish and English throne. But it wasn't meant to be. The English went on the offensive as Charles pulled back through Scotland. Before long between the English and the infighting of the cheif and lairds (Scottish for lords) the army crumbled and Charles went into hiding. The famous Flora McDonald hid the king for a time. They gave him a place to sleep, and passed him off as her lady in waiting to get him to a ship off shore and back to France.This is the statue to Flora McDonald in front of Inverness Castle. Below, Inverness Castle. I wanted to include this shot of the castle to give you a perceptive of modern Scotland. This place really, is unreal. There is history but you have to walk through the city and turn a corner and there it is. To one side you are obviously in 2007, you turn and you could believe that you are in 1507. One last shot of Inverness Castle below, from the water.While in Inverness we went on a dolphine cruise up the bay. If you can imagine this is where the Vikings sailed in each and every year for nearly a hundred years. That is why Inverness is a strategic point. It was beautiful out on the water, but incredibly cold...
This is Mrs. Donna, she is Dr. B, our professor's wife. She has a degree in Biology and has done alot of work with Marine life and sheep. I know sort of an odd combination, but perfect for our trip. She was a little disappointed that this was the only dolphine we saw.What did we see when we rounded the bend, but our first Viking ship! Ok, so not so much viking as modern sail boat. However, we are close enough to Norway and the Scandinavian countries that every year they sail down the channel, and we were able to see the first one of the season! If you look you can barely see the Norweign Flag.
Next was Loch Ness where Winn found Nessy! The water is incredibly black there, you can't see a foot into it. It is 24 miles long 2.5 miles wide, and 300 meters deep. They said that you could put the entire world's population in there three times over, and "still have room for a few mysteries."

Patrick first tried to lure Nessy to the surface with breadsticks made at home and brought to Scotland. When that didn't work, he thought he would feed his dear brother Winn to Nessy. Low and behold it did work! Finally, we saw the castle that sits on Loch Ness, Castle Dumfry, and the Trebuchet that was built on the History channel program. It was really impressive!

1 comment:

strem said...

Beautiful scenery and pictures, Dani. I've learned so much from your trip posts.