Thursday, March 21, 2013

Loch Ness, Part 2

Urquhart Castle is located here, about a third of the way down Loch Ness from its head near Inverness. As I was on Jacobite's Temptation tour - why it was called "temptation", I don't know - I enjoyed a half hour cruise on Loch Ness, followed about about an hour at Urquhart Castle.

Urquhart Castle dates back to the 500's, and whoever controlled Urquhart Castle was said to control the entire area. The Battle of Culloden took place nearby in 1746. Urquhart Castle was critical to the security and politics of the area until it was destroyed by Clan Grant in 1692 to prevent it falling into Jacobite hands. I got around to pretty much the entire castle, and took tons of pictures. I love visiting places like this, because it's fascinating to see how past military engineers have used the materials and terrain available to them to create defensible positions.

The last item before heading up to the visitor's center was a trebuchet. I'm pretty sure I saw something about how trebuchets were used against castle walls, when they were, in fact, intended to fling projectiles over castle walls. A buddy of mine wanted to build a full-sized trebuchet in three or four parts to assemble at our university for launching watermelons... That never actually happened, but he did build a little one out of balsa or something, and we used it to launch M&Ms or pennies or something. So, whenever I see anything related to a trebuchet, I think of my buddy, Super Dave.

After buying a bunch of post cards, and a couple of "FORIEGN STUFFFS" for a particular superheroine back home, I joined my tourmates for a short video in the visitors' center before heading up to the bus. Kenny (still with blue eyes) recited history like an encyclopedia as he drove us back to the Inverness high street. I killed about an hour, and then caught the 18:13 train back to Aberdeen, arriving at about 20:30 after having done some planning and some reading. After about half an hour of waiting for the bus, I finally made it back to my place.

It was a great day, with just a touch of adventure and just enough educational value. It was a good transition from spending far too long in Aberdeen without any excursions, into a new phase of stretching my legs to see more of what Scotland has to offer. More on that to come in the next few weeks.

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