Not Narnia, But Better.
We arrived at Wester Bunoit Cottage on a very steep hill above Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness, not that far from the famous Urquhart Castle, that impossibly picturesque ruin you see in all the posters of Scortlund and tins of shortbread. The track to get here has some interesting, as in terrifying, bends, but only three gates, and as we round the final bend and final gate we find a white washed cottage hanging on the edge of a thousand foot cliff, with only a lot of sky between standing back a bit or your poor mortal remains being eaten by Nessie, should you topple over the edge after one too many wee drams, for purely medicinal purposes, of course. I get out of the car and can’t believe my eyes. This really is the most magical place I have ever, ever been. Loch Ness way below us, as still and clear as a bathroom mirror, reflects hundreds of colours of the autumn trees that line its banks as it stretches out the horizon in both directions, and, in the distance, Ben Nevis looms majestically out of shrouds of sunlit mist.
Considering I booked this place after trawling the internet my expectations weren’t that high, but Al and stand in complete silence for a few moments, stunned, not quite believing such a wonderful sight could possibly exist. Then we stand in silence for a lot more minutes, totally dumbfounded, like a couple of village idiots seeing a turnip for the first time.
Thankfully, Al finally breaks the mood, and in his best put-on Australian accent, which is necessary as in reality we are just a couple of pretend occa blokes, and says, ‘I think this calls for a beer.’ What he really says is, ‘I wish Helen and Jan could be with us to see this,’ which is really sweet, but then he really does call for the beer. As that would mean Jan and Helen missing An Evening with Michael Parkinson and the after-show party where they got to meet him up close, it may have been a bit of a decision for them. Parki vs a holiday in the most perfect spot on earth? With us?
We’d been shopping at Asda on the way here not that long before so the beer was still at reasonable temperature, thankfully, as we’re not English enough to drink it warm. And for one of the few times I thank God for inventing the internet. And Loch Ness, of course. And slightly warm beer. And not as many gates as he (she) could have on the way here.