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In search of Nessie

Loch Oich

semi-overcast 58 °F

Our anchorage for the night was right near the ancient Invargarry Castle. This morning in Loch Oich was all about watersports - paddleboarding, sailing and canoeing. The weather was great and we all had a great time. My brother and I opted for canoeing. This afternoon, we transited the Caledonian Canal to the Laggan Locks, where we are spending the night.

After raids by the Clan Mackenzie in 1602 which included the burning of Strome Castle, the MacDonalds of Glengarry fortified Creagan an Fhithich. The result was an imposing six storey L-plan tower house, although the exact form of the earlier castle is not known. According to clan tradition, the castle was built with stones passed hand to hand by a chain of clansmen from the mountain Ben Tee.
During the Civil War Oliver Cromwell's troops under General Monck burned the castle down in 1654. Repaired, it was held for King James VII of Scotland from 1688 until its surrender to the Government forces of William and Mary in 1692. It was then held by the Jacobites during the 1715 uprising, but taken for the government in 1716. During the 1745 uprising it was again held by Jacobites and visited twice by Bonnie Prince Charlie.
During the Jacobite risings of 1745 to 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart – "Bonnie Prince Charlie" – visited the Castle shortly after the raising of the Royal Standard at Glenfinnan and is said to have rested there after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden, in 1746.[2] The MacDonells were closely involved throughout the Jacobite risings, Lord MacDonnell being a Member of the Prince's Council.[3] In the aftermath of Culloden the castle was sacked and partially blown up by troops under the Duke of Cumberland as part of his systematic suppression of the Highlands. However the stout walls refused to yield and have survived the centuries to serve as a reminder to their history.


Posted by rpickett 16:27 Archived in Scotland Tagged loch oich Comments (0)

In search of Nessie

Ft. Augustus to Loch Oich

semi-overcast 61 °F

We spent the morning wandering around Ft. Augustus as the barge made its way up the step locks. Included was a cafe stop for a raisin scone and hot chocolate. After stopping for lunch after the Locks, five of us decided to make the 7 mile journey to our next stop by bicycle as the barge made its way to Loch Oich - our stop for the night.

The Gaelic name for the modern village is Cille Chuimein and until the early 18th century the settlement was called Kiliwhimin. It was renamed Fort Augustus after the Jacobite Rising of 1715. In the aftermath of the Jacobite rising in 1715, General Wade built a fort (taking from 1729 until 1742) which was named after the Duke of Cumberland. Wade had planned to build a town around the new barracks and call it Wadesburgh. The settlement grew, and eventually took the name of this fort. The fort was captured by the Jacobites in March 1746, just prior to the Battle of Culloden. In 1867, the fort was sold to the Lovat family, and in 1876 they passed the site and land to the Benedictine order. The monks established Fort Augustus Abbey and later a school.


Posted by rpickett 13:40 Archived in Scotland Tagged augustus ft. Comments (0)

In search of Nessie

Ros Crana

sunny 65 °F

Sailing aboard Ros Crana is an experience like no other - the perfect way to see The Great Glen - Ft. William to Inverness. Our crew was the Captain, Martin - the owner of Caledonian Discovery; David our chef; Rory our experience organizer and Lucy our Boatswain and Chief Engineer. With only 12 people on board and family style dining, you quickly become family, with many shared experiences around the world. Most were from the UK but we had one single lady from Australia and a couple from Denmark and us 'foreigners' from USA. The accommodations are cozy, but the showers are bigger than one the standard river cruise or oceancruise ship The menu is simple - big breakfast ordered the night before - soup and a hot dish for lunch with fresh baked bread - and an entree and desert for dinner. The bar is always open with soft and hard drinks, tea, coffee and 'biscuits'. Lots to do, superb scenery and great friends!


Posted by rpickett 17:20 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

In search of Nessie

Foyers to Ft. Augustus

semi-overcast 60 °F

We spent the morning in Foyers and hiked up the hill to Foyers Falls. The volume of the falls depends on how much water is being diverted to the nearby power plant, which was the case today as the falls were little more than a trickle. When we returned, several opted for a brief sail or canoe trip before lunch. After lunch we got underway and sailed to the end of Loch Ness to Ft. Augustus - a beautiful little village where we will spend the night.

Foyers is also the name of the river which runs nearby into the Loch, which has two waterfalls, one of 27 metres (89 ft) and the other 9 metres (30 ft), known as the Falls of Foyers.

Since the late 19th century, water courses near Foyers have been harnessed to provide hydroelectricity. British Aluminium Company built their first hydro-powered aluminium smelter at Foyers in 1896 - the first in the UK - and it operated until 1967, powered by water captured in Loch Mhòr. The power station element of the plant was then purchased by Scotland's Hydro Board and redeveloped as a pumped storage facility using a 5MW turbine. Subsequently, a new power station, with additional capacity of 300MW, was added, becoming fully operational in 1975. Foyers is the location of Boleskine House, two miles east of the main town, which was the home of author and occultist Aleister Crowley. The house was once owned by guitarist and Crowley collector Jimmy Page. Foyers was historically a strong Gaelic-speaking area, with 84.1% reporting as Gaelic-speaking in the 1881 census. However, only 4.9% of residents reported as Gaelic-speaking in the 2011 census. The flow over the falls has been much reduced since 1895 when North British Aluminium Company built an aluminium smelting plant on the shore of Loch Ness which was powered by electricity generated by the river. Artist Mary Rose Hill Burton, who was active in the unsuccessful resistance against the smelting plant, made many drawings and paintings of the falls before the plant was built, to capture the landscape in nature before it was lost. The plant shut in 1967 and in 1975 the site became part of the Foyers Pumped Storage Power Station on the banks of Loch Ness, the 300 MegaWatt pumped-storage hydroelectricity system uses Loch Mhòr as the upper reservoir.


Posted by rpickett 11:03 Archived in Scotland Tagged foyers Comments (0)

In search of Nessie

Loch Dochfour

semi-overcast 58 °F

We set off after breakfast entering a small Lake, Lock Dockfour. We transited into Loch Ness where five of us were zodiaced into shore for a 3.5 mile walk back to the ship. While we were walking, the barge sailed back to Loch Dockfour where others made use of the on board canoes. After lunch of soup, bread and a veggie haggis pastry, we formally entered into Loch Ness for our transit to Foyer where we are docked for the night. The highlight of the afternoon cruise was a sail-by of Urquhart Castle on Strone Point, one of the most visited ruins in Scotland.

The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. It was subsequently held as a royal castle and was raided on several occasions by the MacDonald Earls of Ross. The castle was granted to the Clan Grant in 1509, though conflict with the MacDonalds continued. Despite a series of further raids the castle was strengthened, only to be largely abandoned by the middle of the 17th century. Urquhart was partially destroyed in 1692 to prevent its use by Jacobite forces, and subsequently decayed. In the 20th century, it was placed in state care as a scheduled monument and opened to the public: it is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland and received 547,518 visitors in 2019.[1][2]

The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland in area.[3] It was approached from the west and defended by a ditch and drawbridge. The buildings of the castle were laid out around two main enclosures on the shore. The northern enclosure or Nether Bailey includes most of the more intact structures, including the gatehouse, and the five-story Grant Tower at the north end of the castle. The southern enclosure or Upper Bailey, sited on higher ground, comprises the scant remains of earlier buildings.


Posted by rpickett 16:10 Archived in Scotland Tagged loch dockfour Comments (0)

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