Monday, April 04, 2016

Beauty of the Corrieshalloch Gorge, near Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands

Ullapool is a famous stop in the Scottish Highlands, with a beautiful drive leading there. Even though it is a relatively small place, a number of people visit it; it is rich culturally and the views of the harbor are beautiful. But this post is not about Ullapool (will preserve that for some other time). This post is about a natural phenomenon, located just around 20 km south of Ullapool, the place being the Corrieshalloch Gorge and the related Falls of Measach.

Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland
Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland (More photos / Print photo)

Fence and Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland
Fence and Sign for the Corrieshalloch Gorge in Scotland (More Photos / Print of this image)
The formation of the gorge was due to the ice age around 12000 years ago (or to be more accurate, by the withdrawal of the ice), when the rapid melting of the ice caused erosion of the rocks and formed a deep gorge. It is also called a box gorge, since it is narrow and long, with a length of around 1.5 km and a depth of 60 meters. To make it more splendid, a deep gorge makes more fun when there is a water body falling at one end, and that is what happens here as well, with the river Droma falling a depth of 45 meters at one end of the Gorge, and this fall also causes further erosion.

The beauty of the water fall at the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach
Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach (More photos / Prints)

Falling water at the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach
Falling water at the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls of Measach (More photos / Prints)
This is not a waterfall where you can enjoy the depths of the water falling (even though by waterfall standards, the waterfall is not so majestic as the larger ones around the globe). The ravine has steep and sharp walls, and in terms of safety, getting to the bottom of the gorge is not allowed and there are no provisions to allow visitors to the bottom. The place is very rich in greenery, providing a wonderful place to come to. If there is no fear of heights, there is a small suspension bridge over the gorge that provides a great view of the sights, you can see the waterfall as well as the river flowing in a narrow channel way below.

Small wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge
Small wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge (More photos / Prints)

Wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge
Wooden bridge over the Corrieshalloch Gorge (More photos / Prints)
The place belongs to the National Trust of Scotland, and you can enter through the gate, with a honesty box encouraging you to pay 2 pounds for a visit. This gate is located on the south side of the Gorge, and with a car park where you can stop. Typically, a visit to the place should not take more than a hour to two hours at the actual location, unless you just want to stop and enjoy nature and the exquisite geological feature. 

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The beauty of Loch Ness in the Scottish highlands

When you hear of lakes in Scotland, they are referred to as 'Loch XYZ', such as Loch Ness or Loch Lomond. Why Loch ? Well, in the Scottish and Irish language, Loch is the word for lake, and apparently since it is not a big or fancy word, and something that is easy to pronounce, it is used widely. So, when you look at maps or local signs, they will refer to these lakes as Loch, and if you speak to people in the area, they are proud of these magnificent bodies of water and prefer to refer to them as Loch rather than as a lake.

Mist and cloud in the morning over Loch Ness in Scotland
Mist and cloud in the morning over Loch Ness in Scotland (More photos / Prints)
There are many such Lochs in the Scottish Highlands, and are important to the local economy. These water bodies are the anchor on which the tourism economy of the Scottish Highlands depends upon, and the number of tourists that come to this area for the beauty, the sceneries, the excellent weather, is very important for the economy of Scotland as a whole.

A Merganser drake in the water of the Loch Ness
A Merganser drake in the water of the Loch Ness (More photos / Prints)
These Lochs, atleast the most famous ones, are all sided to one side of a hill or mountain; these Lochs are not very broad (some can be less than a kilometer wide at some points), but can be very long. One of the most famous is Loch Ness. The reason it is so famous is because of the name, with sightings over the years of an apparent pre-historic monster called the Loch Ness monster or Nessie (the more affectionate name). This monster (of which presence there is no conclusive proof) apparently lives in Loch Ness, a Loch that is pretty large (it is not immediately much longer or wider than other lakes), but is pretty deep and as a result, the volume of water contained in Loch Ness is one of the largest in the whole of UK.

Man kayaking on the water of the Loch Ness
Man kayaking on the water of the Loch Ness (More Photos / Buy a print)

The surroundings of Loch Ness are very beautiful, with greenery, hills and some heritage monuments (the most prominent being the ruins of Urquhart Castle). There are many boating cruises on the Loch, and one can even take a kayak or similar boat onto the water and enjoy (there is of course no guarantee of what would happen if you come across the monster - if you survive and managed to take photos, you would get incredibly reach).

Man sitting on steps reading paper on shore of Loch Ness
Man sitting on steps reading paper on shore of Loch Ness (More photos / Buy print)

Because of the greenery around the Loch, the water of the Loch is very murky, which means that various expeditions in the past to try and determine the presence of the Loch Ness monster have come to naught. 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lovely eating options in The Highlands Club in Fort Augustus

What a place to have food. You are in the mood of some nice food and drinks, and a good environment along with friends would be great. What could be better than the surroundings of Loch Ness, one of the largest lakes in Scotland (it may not be the largest in terms of surface area, but due to it being the lake that has the maximum average depth, it has the maximum volume of water); of course, if 'Nessie', the reputed Loch Ness monster emerges from the lake, then probably its dinner would be us. A simple wooden table and chairs on a small strip of land that seems to project into the lake, at evening, what could be better. Enjoy the beer ! This is the Boathouse restaurant, located right on the shore of the lake, and almost at the point where the Caledonian Canal meets the Loch Ness.


Ashish Agarwal: Scotland &emdash; Wooden table and chairs at the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland
Table and chairs at the shore of Loch Ness in Fort Augusts (More photos and prints)
This is a more descriptive photo of the tables and chairs at the Boathouse Restaurant in Fort Augustus. In addition to the places to eat, the facility for boating on the Loch is also visible, with the Boathouse. In the Boathouse, there are boats and rubber dinghies that are available to use, and can be launched from here.


Ashish Agarwal: Scotland &emdash; Boat yard and tables on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland
Tables, Chairs and the Boathouse at the restaurant in the Highland Club (More photos and prints)

Another view of the chairs and umbrella covered tables at the Boathouse Restaurant in the Highland Club in Fort Augustus, with the projection of land on which these tables are placed being visible in this image. This is a lovely place to sit, with the water of the lake being on both sides of the projection, and the boathouse for launching boats, dinghies and kayaks into the lake.


Chairs and tables at the Boathouse Restaurant in For Augustus
Chairs and tables at the Boathouse Restaurant in For Augustus (More photos and prints)

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Monday, June 29, 2015

A Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus in the Scottish Highlands

If you were to go to the quaint Fort Augustus in the Scottish Highlands on the shore of Loch Ness, you would come across this beautiful building, a Benedictine Abbey. Imagine being able to live in this place, and yes, you can. This is a former Benedictine Abbey, which was an Abbey for more than a century but was finally shut down for lack of funds. The project for building such an Abbey was started in 1874, but it took some time for collecting the necessary funds, and the Abbey was finally completed in 1880. In 1882, it was removed from English control and was made independent, reporting directly to the Pope. The school here for older boys was the chief source of funds for the Abbey, but modernity brought problems. In 1993, due to modern standards, the school had to be shut down, and the immediate impact of lack of funds started to be felt. Over a period of time, the Abbey tried multiple ways to generate funds, but was never successful to generate the require funds. Finally, after some ventures, the abbey was sold and converted into The Highland Club, self-catering apartments. And these are truly lovely.


Repair work on one wing of the Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus
Repair work on one wing of the Abbey (More images and Prints)

View of one of the sections of the Abbey, and one of the entrances. The place looks incredible, with all the traditional architecture in place. Look at these windows, the exterior finish, and you might be taken back to the architecture shown in period shows and movies. It was a pleasure staying at this place.


Front view of one section of the Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus
Front view of one section of the Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus (Prints and more photos)

A more expanded view of this section of the former Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus. At the extreme bottom right, one can see a lady who is one of the guests here. The expanse of windows to the left of the photos actually shows a corridor in the place.


Expanded view of front section of Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus
Expanded view of front section of Benedictine Abbey in Fort Augustus (More photos and prints here)

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