Friday, June 3, 2011

Loch Ness

Wow, I'm really burning through the Scotland pictures!  Hey, if I wake up and see I've got a bunch of comments, I figure it's time for another new post :)  As promised, today I have some castle pictures.  Behold, Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness:

Mostly ruins, but more extensive than Knaresborough Castle.  It was, once again, sprinkling when we got to the visitor's center, but cleared up a bit a few minutes later while we were waiting for the showing of the video about the castle.  Lee caught me in the gift shop before I could buy a Highland Coo hat and took me outside so we could get photos while it was still sunny.

You can see where my hair was wet from our previous stop and had started to dry a little funky.  See Nessie in the background?  Me neither ;)

Lee actually took a lot more pictures than this, but they rest are a lot like the ones I'm posting.  We went back inside and watched the really cool video on the history of the castle, and then hustled down to the dock for a short cruise on Loch Ness.

Here's the castle as seen from the water, and check out the clouds rolling in.  I swan they were chasing us!  I wish we'd gotten some pictures of the hill over to the right where the visitor center is located; I wanted a picture of the gorse growing there.  It's a type of bush with yellow flowers and the flowers smell just like Banana Boat suntan lotion.

This is my friend Renee, who told us about this trip in the first place :)  We were joking about how between the hats and sunglasses, we look like movie stars trying to be incognito.  You can call us Kate and Pippa.

See, I told you the clouds were chasing us!  I think it took maybe 20 or 30 minutes to get to the dock on the other side, and by the time we got there it was starting to sprinkle and the water was getting pretty rough.  We were supposed to stay on the boat for the return trip to Urquhart, but Jennifer (one of the guides) decided there was no way she was going to stay on the boat with the water as choppy as it was, and so Lee and I got off with her and one other member of our group.  Lucky we did, too, as we got to go shopping in a big souvenir shop while the rest of the group was on the boat getting seasick.  Lee got a couple of bottles of Scotch ("Scotch is a drink and a sticky tape, not a person!" from Mike Myers' "If it's not Scottish, it's crrrap!" SNL skits back in the day) and a really neat shirt, and I got a little stuffed Nessie toy and a Nessie charm for my charm bracelet.  Alex, our van driver, came to pick us up and found us all in the cafe enjoying a nice little snack (Lee's carrot cake was better than my scone, yum).  The only downside to getting off the boat when we did is that by the time we got back to Urquhart, we were too late to go down to the castle to see the inside of it (it had cleared back up again at that point, Scottish weather seems to be even more indecisive than Texas weather).

After we rendezvoused with the rest of our group (several of whom looked a good deal greener than they had before the return trip on the boat), we drove back to Drumnadrochit, the closest town to the castle and home of a LOT of Nessie-related souvenir shops and such.  And one pretend Nessie.

Looks like some pretty nasty water she's swimming in there.  This isn't the actual loch, it's a little pond off to the side of one of the souvenir shops.  Lee and I looked around a bit but didn't buy anything else since we'd already gotten stuff at the other shop while everyone else was getting seasick, but we did go check out a heraldry shop and looked up our last name.  To our dismay, our coat of arms features three GOATS, which immediately made me think of Aberforth Dumbledore getting in trouble for performing illegal charms on goats.  The lady at the shop said she thought it was "cute", heh.  Lee asked if I was going to revert to my maiden name, since THAT coat of arms has three perfectly respectable moons on it.  Maybe we should make up our own coat of arms with a couple of hairy black dogs on it.  That would be better than goats. *grumbles*

I think this place had a huge Nessie exhibit but was trying to present evidence in a scientific rather than sensational fashion.  We didn't check it out though, we had more fun trying on Nessie hats instead.


Giffysk8s said...

First and foremost: shall I call you Kate or Pippa? I presume that Pippa had the new fabulous-every-girl-simply-must-have-one Pippa purse (that is the media every single day) well hidden beneath her waterproof clothes! LOL But then again, you are married to Prince Charming, so Kate is probably the name you prefer. To call you Pippa and him William would be creepy. :)

The very first photo is so cool! I like the profile shot and the colors. I like the one of the pretend Nessie, too. The reflections in the water are awesome!

Why would you have wanted to cover up your Hadrian Special with a hat? Aren't you hoping to start the new 'do rage in Europe?

I'm glad you got off the boat! It would not do at all for Kate & Pippa to be seen feeding the fish over the back of the boat. Or to be looking like Elphaba twins. :)

I totally laughed when you talked about Mike Myers on SNL "back in the day." For me, SNL "back in the day" means Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and John Belushi! See how much OLDER than you I am?

And if you're going to get a coat of arms with three things on it, I would think you'd go for something Harry Potterish like Fluffy (same colors as B&V, but not as sweet except for when he/she/it was sleeping). Of course, that means you'd have to get a third black lab.

Sorry you didn't get to see Nessie. :(

CCsMom said...

Wow, these pictures are awesome. I am so enjoying my tour through Scotland!!! Gotta go to work. At least it's FRIDAY. Woo Hoo! Love you!

Renee said...

Hi Pippa - Your pictures are awesome. I can feel the cold and rain again just looking at them LOL. Love Kate