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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.
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SYS-CON Brazil News Desk wrote: The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
SYS-CON Italy News Desk wrote: The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
YV&C News Desk wrote: The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.


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Monster Hunting Yacht Charter
Loch Ness and the Highlands of Scotland



The Loch is popular with all kinds of visitors, and there is a wide range of charters and tours available.  Those looking to catch sight of the monster will be best placed on one of the organised tours which feature boats equipped with underwater sonar and sounding equipment; the peat suspended in the water makes visual observation useless, unless the creature decides to surface nearby.  The Loch Ness Monster was first recorded in 565, when it was driven off through the power of prayer by St. Columba who was in the region spreading Christianity to the largely-pagan Picts; there are different versions of the story but all culminate in the saint making the sign of the cross and invoking the name of the Lord to frighten off the beast.  A book dated 1520 apparently makes reference to the fact that “Fraser (of Glenvackie) killed the last known dragon in Scotland, but no-one has yet managed to slay the monster of Loch Ness lately seen”, though there are no other references until 1933 when the owners of the Drumnadrochit Hotel claimed to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging”; it may be argued that as hotel proprietors they stood to gain significantly from such a sighting, though their reluctance to discuss it would seem to undermine any concern of conspiracy.  It was this sighting which sparked off the international interest, and investigations by various august, and some rather less august, bodies which so far have turned up nothing but some clever frauds and some of the best-mapped loch-bed in the world.  Despite the lack of appearances “Nessie”, as the monster is affectionately known by the locals, continues to be enormously popular both locally and world-wide, and few people can walk past the loch without taking a moment to check for tell-tale breaks in the surface.



Aside from the organised monster-hunting tours it is also possible to charter research vessels equipped with the latest underwater-sensing equipment, but most people will be happier with a traditional cruiser such as those supplied by Caley Cruisers, who will hire you a comfortable craft for a trip the length of the Caledonian and back, as well as providing guidance and training (essential for some of us).  They are based in Inverness, at the top of the canal, and have a range of boats up to 10-berth, though you would want to be amongst very close friends to fill one.  If skippering, and crewing, your own boat sounds a lot like hard work, then you might prefer the Hotel Barge Scottish Highlander: fitted out more like a country house than a ship, her crew of 4 provides a full service to 8 passengers including gourmet food and visits to all the important sites around the Loch on a week’s tour, though the itinerary can be modified to suit you.  The more adventurous can charter a true sailing yacht such as the Eala Bhan (Gaelic for White Swan), a 50-ton wooden herring drifter which has been refitted to have 5 cabins into which 12 close friends can be squeezed, or fewer less-well-acquainted people can travel in comfort.  As a seagoing sailboat the Eala Bhan can leave the confines of the canals and lochs to explore the Scottish islands and coastline, so isn’t limited to in-land monster-hunting, and while being reliant on the wind might be considered a drawback, it’s rare the day when at least a stiff breeze can’t be relied upon.  Regardless of the kind of vessel you are standing on, the landscape is formidable and it’s easy to understand what successive armies since the Romans have found it all but impenetrable.

Right on the edge of Loch Ness is Urquhart Castle, and no spot better demonstrates the struggle between Scot and Englishman for control of the Highlands.  Originally built by Edward I after his victory over the Scots at Dunbar in 1296, it was used as a base from which to dominate the whole region with brutal efficiency.  When William Wallace rose against the English, the castle was attacked and fell; changing hands for the first time as the English were kicked out of Scotland.  Edward didn’t take this well, and with a massive army he laid siege to the castle and it was once again in English hands.  Over the next 400 years it repeatedly changed hands with the occupants hardly having time to hang the flags before it fell again.  All these successful attacks might give the impression of a badly fortified defence, but it was more the enormously important location: overlooking Loch Ness and able to control shipping on the loch, which made it such an important prize.  The last residents, English, finally blew the place up to avoid it falling into Scottish hands, though enough remains to make a picturesque ruin full of history and intrigue.  A superb exhibition covering the history of Loch Ness, and the castle, is located nearby and there are moorings right beside the castle.

While Culloden isn’t actually on the Loch itself, being slightly to the North on the other side of Inverness, no visit to Scotland is complete without seeing the site of the last battle on UK soil and the place where Bonny Prince Charlie’s hopes were finally laid to rest in 1746, even if the Prince himself escaped despite a 30,000 pound reward on his head.  The site has been re-created, making it painfully obvious that the Bonny Prince was no tactician as the legendary Highland Charge works best down open hillsides, not across swampy moors covered in knee-high gorse.  

There are numerous other sites along the sides of the loch, including stone-age ruins and natural wonders, and we haven’t even mentioned golf.  Every golf course around the world is recreating a patch of Scotland, the home of the game, and it is possible to see familiar forms in the landscape. Golf is taken very seriously in Scotland, and some of the courses can trace their history back hundreds of years; in many cases it is still possible to play a round if pre-booked.

For those not bringing their own yacht, Inverness is connected by air to the rest of the UK, including the major London airports, and for those wanting to travel in a bit more style the overnight sleeper train leaves London every evening and enables you to wake up, draw the curtains, and see the mountains sliding by, though the return journey can be depressing.  And if Loch Ness grabs you and won’t let go, then you can get a managed apartment from The Highland Club with views of the Loch and its own mooring, for your own monster hunting or just a bit of fishing.  Or you can do what I did and just give in to the call of the mountains, glens and lochs, making the Highlands of Scotland my home.   

•    Caley Cruses: www.caleycruisers.com
•    The Highland Club: www.thehighlandclub.co.uk
•    The Scottish Highlander: www.hotelbarges.co.uk/scotland/highlander
•    Eala Bha: www.highlandvoyages.co.uk

About Bill Ray
Bill Ray, former editor-in-chief (and continuing distinguished contributor to) Wireless Business & Technology magazine, has been developing wireless applications for over 20 ears on just about every platform available. Heavily involved in Java since its release, he developed some of the first cryptography applications for Java and was a founder of JCP Computer Services, a company later sold to Sun Microsystems. At Swisscom he was responsible for the first Java-capable DTV set-top box, and currently holds the position of head of Enabling Software at 02, a UK network operator.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.

The Highlands of Scotland might not be the most obvious place to take a yacht, but a combination of sea-canals and the largest body of water in the UK make it a surprisingly accessible destination for all but the largest yacht, with a history which still echoes today and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.


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