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A sighting of Nessie!

We just spent about 3 weeks in London, Cambridge, Fort Augustus, Oxford, and Inverness with most of the time in Fort Augustus.  It just happens to sit at the southern end of Loch Ness and we were on the search for Nessie every time we went out walking.  Finally, on a cold sunny day we decided to take the Loch Ness cruise and who did we see??

Nessie waves

Maybe this is Nessie hiding under the water!

Floating Nessie

Nessie, herself!  Isn’t she cute?? She was just floating next to the boat checking us all out.

A visit to the Highlands isn’t complete without a wee dram of whisky. Another sunny day took us driving south the Fort William for a tour of Ben Nevis Distillery.

ben nevis dist tasting

We shared 4 wee tastings. I like the whiskies that taste more like caramel than the smoky ones.

Ben Nevis sign

The distillery sits beneath Ben Nevis Mountain, the highest mountain in the UK.

Ben NEvis with snow

These distillery buildings were overlooked by Ben Nevis.

We were cold but the temps never didn’t fall below freezing during the day. That would make us way warmer than our east coast friends.  And the Gulfstream keeps snow away from the lower altitudes, most of the time. We had a bit of snow a few nights.

Mark Susan New Years Eve

Happy New Year! We bundled up for champagne and fireworks at midnight!

Highlands Club with snow

The grounds were barely covered one morning with snow – wet snow at that!

snow at night

Snowing at night

snow in the morning

Sunrise with snow. This was about 8:30 AM. Morning came late this far north and night came early – about 3:4- PM

Sink handles in the U.K. – clockwise or counter clockwise??

Have you ever thought about which way to turn the sink handle to turn on the water?  Probably not!  We just use muscle memory and turn them on.  Not so much in the U.K.!  We’ve run into sink handles everywhere – toilets, kitchen sinks,  bathroom sinks – naturally.  Some of the handles turn clockwise, some turn counter clockwise.  Some of the sinks even have the hot water handle turning one way and the cold water handle turning the opposite direction.

I’ve splashed myself a few times when turning the handle the wrong way!  It’s a mystery to me.

bathroom faucets

At least these 2 handles for HOT and COLD turn ON and OFF in the same directions.

backwards faucets

These two handles turn in opposite directions.

Hot water warning sign

Just in case you aren’t sure there’s hot water, you get a warning!

warning sign but no fixtures

A warning sign but no fixtures. This one was in a Men’s room Mark used.

Sun and blue sky in the Highlands!

We woke up this morning to discover blue sky in Scotland! After 13 days in the U.K., can you tell we get really excited about blue sky??  We had no other plans and have a rental car for Mark to drive on the left, so we hopped in the car and drove 33 miles to Fort William to check out the scenery.  We saw some pheasants along the road and lots of closed B&B’s and hotels.

sun on Loch Ness

Loch Ness in the sun!

 Canal and village Boxing Day

Fort Augustus village and the canal the runs through the middle. We want to see the locks in operation but there’s not much boat traffic in December!

view of the Highlands mountains

A view of the Highlands mountains with a bit of snow. Notice how green the grass is. We’re betting it never turns brown.

With a population of about 11,000, Fort William is the 2nd largest city in the Highlands.  The drive was beautiful and few of the mountains have snow on the top.

Boxing Day (December 26) is a holiday in the UK – no postal service or banks open. Not many shops were open either and some of the pubs and coffee shops were actually closed when we wandered down High Street. Thank heavens Tesco was open since we need some toilet paper and cheese and crackers.  The little store in Fort Augustus didn’t have toilet paper this morning!

BBC had an article about people not shopping at the Boxing Day Sales today. Since not many stores are open, what do they expect??  Clearly, after-Christmas sales are not a big deal here, at least on the 26th.  Maybe tomorrow!