I’m driving along the shore of Loch Ness, my eight year old daughter in the back of the car, when she suddenly yells out “Dinosaur!” I scan the surface of the loch but nothing is visible. “Where?” I demand but my daughter is now buried in her comic and further conversation is terminated.
That was over ten years ago now and she never did tell me what she saw. To understand why she didn’t respond you have to know that my daughter is autistic and only communicates when she feels like it. She has autism and we, the rest of the planet, suffer for it. I’ll never know what, if anything, she saw but the incident is even more intriguing when you realise that, at the time, she’d never heard of the Loch Ness monster.
We still visit the loch on a fairly regular basis. Our favourite trip is going down the south side of the loch to the small village of Dores. The south side of the loch has a fast modern road running down it and, apart from the villages of Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus has very little to recommend it.
For Granny walkers the Dores side of the loch is far more entertaining. Dores has a fine pub that serves good food so you can feed granny after her exertions beside the loch. From the car park by the Inn there is a shingle beach you can walk along and a nice little wood at the end. Great for kids and Grannies alike.
There is also a resident eccentric living in a broken down bus on the beach and spending his entire life scanning the horizon in search of the mythical beast of the loch. As well as doing this he makes and sells little models of the monster, although, as he’s never seen the beast, I don’t know how he knows what it looks like. This guy is happy to talk and even happier if you buy one his monsters. Regrettably, when you talk to him, he is disappointingly sane.
If you want to explore further you can drive on down the side of the loch and after a few miles you will pass the ex-residence of the other Beast of Loch Ness, occultist Aleister Crowley. This is Boleskine house, a place surrounded in folk lore, where visitors are certainly not welcome due to too many uninvited Crowley fans dropping in.
A couple of miles after that you’ll arrive at Foyers where you can admire the spectacular waterfall and water granny once more at the teashop. Dores and the loch side are a great day out for Grannies; you don’t even need good weather as there are lots of things to do where shelter is at hand.
My daughter and I go there frequently to enjoy the walk down the beach and an ice cream on the way home. I don’t like to mention to the monster hunter that my daughter has actually seen the creature in case it upsets him to think she’s seen it and is it keeping it all to her-self.