Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gotta Love Loch Ness Kitsch

Blaring bagpipes, whisky bars, ginger wigs, kilt towels, stuffed sea monsters: Loch Ness is not the place to go if you want a taste of authentic Scottish culture.

It is, however, a laugh and a half.

Claudia with a Nessie Beanie Baby

Loch Ness might be a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s also fun and interesting.  By volume, it’s the U.K.’s largest body of water; at over 1.5 million gallons of fresh water, it contains more water than all the freshwater lochs and lakes in England and Scotland combined!

And in case you haven’t heard, it may also contain some sort of beast.

Nessie was first sighted in 565 A.D.  Local legend says the monster came ashore to eat a local farmer, but was forced back into the water by Saint Columba.  1446 years later, many people are still convinced that the Loch Ness monster exists—thousands claimed to have spotted her. Some speak of the “water horse” of Scottish mythology, while others say the deep caverns beneath the water’s surface could house a prehistoric animal.

Millons of pounds have been spent to investigate this mystery, and the monster’s existence hasn’t been confirmed.  However, I think that this is a mystery each person should investigate for herself before dismissing.  This is why, on a trip to Loch Ness last year, I jumped in to “swim with the beast.”

More recently, my friend Stefan gave it a go.

Neither of us met Nessie, perhaps because we were distracted by the arctic temperature of the water.  Regardless, I have wonderful memories of the Loch, and would encourage anyone in Scotland to make a trip up there and dive on in!

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