I’ve always believed in the Loch Ness Monster. It doesn’t matter how many sightings have been proven to be hoaxes, I want to believe – and choose to believe – that in a body of water as vast as Loch Ness, there could be something magnificent lurking under there.
Big Foot, Kraken, Yetis, ALIENS – I have a lot of time for them. I do carry a heavy dose of scepticism with my will to believe – I’m well aware that since we’ve all become owners of camera equipped smart phones, sightings of all cryptids seem to have dwindled – but the world is huge and the range of living creatures is bonkers. Why couldn’t there be a mermaid out there? Or at the very least a coy panther living in Exmoor?
But let’s root ourselves firmly in proven reality for a minute, at TK Maxx in Wandsworth where I found myself buying this wonderful puffer jacket last week…
I’ve blogged about my intense admiration for puffers before, but this new one is particularly great. Really warm, proper fluffy down, a well thought out inside pocket, adjustable cuffs and hood – oh and it was just £24.99. I’m a bit in love. It’s also the perfect jacket for an adventure. THE PERFECT JACKET FOR FINDING THE LOCH NESS MONSTER.
I’d bought the jacket with this adventure in mind, as TK Maxx had invited me to celebrate their new Ridiculous Possibilities campaign in the best way: by making my own ridiculous adventure possible. I knew that I wanted to go to Scotland and search for Nessie, but I was pretty amazed when TK Maxx said that I could. (Proof that when you only spend £24.99 on your outfit there’s more cash leftover for FUN THINGS!).
And that’s how I found myself flying up to Scotland on Monday, new coat in tow and eyes on the prize. I was going to find the Loch Ness Monster.
I flew up to Inverness and picked up a hire car at the airport, heading straight for Drumnadrochit and The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. I wanted to be fully prepared for my Nessie search, so gathering all the facts was paramount.
What I hadn’t prepared myself for was the spectacularly pretty drive to get there. I’ve probably never driven anywhere quite so distracting. I was constantly pulling over to take photos (luckily there are designated lay-bys to do this) and whilst I was always surveying the loch to see if I could spot Nessie herself, I was equally enamoured by all the trees on the cliffs in their autumn colours. It was just the most stunning place.
I did eventually get to the exhibition centre though and having learned all there was to learn, I was ready to find my hotel, get some food and come up with a plan for finding Nessie in the morning.
I’d spent a lot of time on the Monday looking over the loch from the roadside viewing points, but I knew I needed to be down on the water properly if I really wanted to catch a glimpse of this elusive old girl. A boat was the only option and as the sun rose on Tuesday, I was waiting in the harbour ready to set sail.
Let me tell you right now, if I hadn’t had my jacket at this point I would have almost definitely had to give up my Nessie search. IT WAS FREEZING. It was the type of cold you feel right in your bones and even an emergency glove purchase wasn’t enough to save my hands from feeling like they might fall off. Thankfully I could do my jacket up to cover half my face, but my toes are still trying to remember what warmth feels like two days later.
I sailed to Urquhart Castle, constantly scanning the horizon for any Nessie-esque movements, and spent an hour exploring these ancient ruins before heading back on the boat. The castle’s history was fascinating and if I’d had more time I’d have definitely joined one of the guided tours, but I watched the film (really good by the way, make sure you do watch the film if you visit) and clambered around the old cellars, lookouts and prison cells, daydreaming about all the things this spot had seen over the past 1000 years.
It also made a great vantage point for looking for Nessie (oh trust me, I NEVER stopped looking for Nessie) and there were a number of times where I was convinced I’d seen *something* in the distance. Yes, it often turned out to be a swan or a wave…but some of my sightings weren’t so easily explained away.
Sailing back to the harbour, I was sad that my trip was already coming to an end. I never stopped looking for Nessie, staying on the top deck throughout despite the fact everyone inside was looking at me like I was completely mad (it really was freezing) but regardless of our shy monster, I just wanted to take in everything I was seeing. Words don’t do justice to a place as impressive as Loch Ness, it really is resplendent.
I’ll let you watch the vlog below to see my conclusions on all things Nessie (clickbait much?! In my defence, it is a beautiful video) but I will say now that it was an amazing trip and I will definitely be going back to explore more of the Scottish Highlands.
It was just SO good.
As a side note, I really do love the ethos behind this TK Maxx campaign. Yes I’ve worked with them on this post but I am SUCH a big TK Maxx fan and no week goes by where I haven’t bought something from there, whether it’s something as simple as a pair of tights or as unexpected as a bedside table when I’d intended to buy a birthday present. I love the ‘treasure hunt’ experience of finding something special (can you tell I’m the type of person who would like looking for Nessie?!) and even more so when I end up finding things I never would have thought to look for.
Thank you TK Maxx for making my Ridiculous Possibility of finding the Loch Ness Monster possible – and for the awesome jacket! I’ll remember this trip forever and you made nine year old me (and 29 year old me, who am I kidding?!) very happy.