July 16, 2011

Roth and Ramberg learn a lesson


July 15th - Posted by Terri Roberts

Today we learned what it’s all about. Well, kind of.

We set out early in the morning (sadly, earlier than any coffee shop we passed) and drove from one end of the Loch to the other to meet a man named Rod.

Rod has spent more than thirty years sailing the Loch, mostly as a commercial captain ferrying tourists back and forth between Inverness and Urquhart Castle.

We got his name from Willie who if you haven’t been paying attention has played the role of a big cog in the Roth and Ramberg Loch Ness wheel.

We arrived at the dock, completely decaffeinated, and soon met up with Captain Rod. And no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t resist the one question Rod has probably heard 50 times a day for three straight decades: have you ever seen the monster?

He immediately set us straight by saying it’s not about the monster. It’s about the mystery. Though he had no trouble admitting that there’s probably ‘something’ out there (and he has the eyebrow raising sonar readings to prove it), it’s the mystery that everybody truly loves. That’s what captivates them. And in all his years sailing Loch Ness, no one has ever asked for their money back.

Suddenly, it was all making sense. Even we came here to see a monster. But just one week in, and we’re well past it. In fact, we could barely make room for monster hunting with such a jam packed schedule of getting to know the people, enjoying the scenery, and of course, tasting all that the Highlands have to offer.

From Rod we headed back to Foyers to meet Molly, a 17-year old redhead who loves fishing, her grandparents, and her Nikon D40. Molly’s spent most of her life growing up on the shores of the Loch (minus a one year stint living on a boat around the Isle of Skye with her mom and dad). Molly’s take on the monster is simple: a long time ago, there was probably something to it, but now it’s just legend. For the record, she finds the stuffed Nessies with the pink eyelashes pretty funny. And we do too.

We also visited with Graham and took a few more shots near the Foyers Falls, once a source of inspiration for Robert Burns. So we sampled some Haggis flavoured crisps in his honour.

After a lovely dinner at the Lovat, including a very fancy chicken and leek potpie, we hotfooted it back to our office in Drum (read Fiddler’s) for a nightcap. We ended up at Jon’s house where he was hosting a few of his friends in the malt whisky world, Ian and Rhianna.

Ian is a Scottish artist based in Germany who travels around painting distilleries. He must be considered the luckiest man in Scotland (at least one of the top five). Rhianna is a journalist from the Netherlands with a passion for whisky. She’s on a five month Scottish journey to uncover stories and single malts.

Neither had seen the monster. Even after a few drams.

With only two days to go, we’re just about there. Although we’re still missing a month or two of the calendar. Perhaps no one would actually ‘miss’ February. At least it’d be a shorter winter.

We’ll see what one more day around the Loch brings.