Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Time warp driving. (You get that in the M5 too, though only in the sense that it goes so
fast there are times when you'd swear you've arrived before you set off.)
When I was a child and we drove this road we really did keep one eye on Loch Ness,
just in case we saw the monster. Well, simpler times. Back then you could still just about
believe that a few fuzzily photographed floating logs, grainy footage of boats' wakes, one
or two fairly obvious faked stills and the testament of a handful of people could add up
to evidence that there was some throwback to the age of the dinosaurs haunting the dark
depths of the great long loch.
Then people got serious about it and set up viewing platforms with multiple still and
film - later, video - cameras, sonar sensors and underwater microphones, and the sight-
ings stopped.
The Loch Ness monster seems to be one of those quantum creatures, maybe distantly
related to Schrodinger's Cat; its existence is only possible when there's nobody there to
observe it.
A friend of mine called Ron Binns once wrote a book called The Loch Ness Mystery
Solved , which basically went through all the evidence clear-eyed and unbiased and came
to the fairly inescapable conclusion the whole monster thing was a load of old Highland
bollocks, but because this wasn't what people particularly wanted to hear, you'll struggle
to find the topic in any loch-side tourist shop (though last time I was there they had a
copy in Lochaber High School Library, so it might have helped sow the seeds of a healthy
scepticism in a few young minds).
Our musical accompaniment for the week in the Jag is largely retro, majoring on
people like Graham Parker, John Mellencamp and Steve Gibbons, then at the chalet we
listen to music by the at-this-point-not-quite-dead-yet Warren Zevon. I've brought what
I thought was the best album of last year, By The Way by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers,
and albums by Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club and lots of 'The' bands, like The White
Stripes, The Hives, The Vines and The Strokes. I've also brought some Led Zep, Pixies,
Godspeed You Black Emperor! and early Ozrics, but most of these don't get played and
the ones that do don't really seem to meet with the positive reception I'd been hoping for.
Back to Inverness. We're only here because the self-catering chalet in Glenlivet we're
booked into for the rest of the week can't take us until tomorrow. I thought self-catering
would be a better idea for us three guys than a hotel, especially when Jim started talking
about the size of the sound system we'd need to take with us, however for this first night
we're staying at the Highland Hotel in the centre of Inverness. This used to be the Station
Hotel and Ann and I have stayed here a couple of times, once after a train journey from
Kyle of Lochalsh and once en route to Thurso by train, heading for Orkney. I'd hoped
to park the Jag in the wee square right outside the hotel entrance itself, but it's full and I
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