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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)

In search of Nessie


sunny 64 °F

We boarded the Barge Ros Crana at 2:0pm and, after a quick indoctrination and safety brief we got underway to start our adventure towards Ft. William. The first evolution was to transit through four locks to raise us up about 60 meters to get to the level of Loch Ness. It was a beautiful afternoon and many Scots were out walking and taking pictures. After the Lock transit, we cruised for another short time to our moor for the night. We had a nice dinner with new friends, got a brief about our upcoming travels, and enjoyed the rising of the full moon.
Ros Crana was purchased by Caledonian Discovery in January 2012 and then converted to carry her first passengers in May 2013. She has the capacity to carry 12 passengers and up to 6 crew members. The main difference between Ros Crana and her sister barge Fingal is that Ros Crana has an upper deck galley and dining saloon with great views outside.

Length: 44 metres
Beam: 5 metres
Displacement: 200 tonnes with water ballast
Engine: Gardner 6LXB 180hp
Bow Thruster: DAF 1160 200hp
Cruising Speed: 6 knots
Construction: Riveted and welded steel
Originally built: 1962 Tielrode, Belgium
Rebuilt: 2012/13
Registration: Inverness
Capacity: 12 guests and up to 6 crew
Guest accommodation: 6 twin ensuite cabins, large dining and saloon area
Operating area: The Great Glen including the Caledonian Canal, Loch Linnhe from Corran Narrows to Loch Eil, Beauly Firth and Moray Firth to Chanonry Point.


Posted by rpickett 11:58 Archived in Scotland Tagged inverness Comments (0)

In search of Nessie


sunny 60 °F

After a late flight and missed connection, I met my brother in Inverness Scotland for the start of our trip to Ft. William along Loch Ness with Caledonian Discovery aboard the barge Ros Crana.

Inverness is the administrative centre for The Highland Council and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands. Historically it served as the county town of the county of Inverness-shire. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th-century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on the Aird, and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen (Gleann Mòr) at its northeastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Beauly Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim (King David I) in the 12th century. Inverness and Inverness-shire are closely linked to various influential clans, including Clan Mackintosh, Clan Fraser and Clan MacKenzie.


Posted by rpickett 12:27 Tagged inverness Comments (1)

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