Monday, 22 January 2018

Retirement At Loch Ness?



There was a time when I had a monster hunter's dream and that was to one day retire to a house overlooking the shores of Loch Ness. The plan was simple enough. When my working days were over, I would downsize the three bedroom bungalow in Edinburgh for a cosier two bed affair on the southern shores of Loch Ness. But not any house would do, it had to have certain specifications. For one, it really did have to be beside Loch Ness and that excluded the main towns of Foyers and Dores. The little village of Inverfarigaig looked more promising, but a house that was that intimate with the loch is not so common.

Of course, it could not be that close to the loch else one bad stormy night could see the loch lapping at your back door. It some sense I felt like that old rascal, Aleister Crowley who scoured the same region with a specific tick list before he settled on Boleskine House! Once found and bought, I could settle into life servicing the various cameras and tests like some gardener tending his prize roses or some other utopian analogy.

So you see, I was formulating a plan until reality intruded. One of my older relatives would say how the "incomers" would come up for their first summer and be gone after their first winter. What that meant was the winters could be so bad that may wish you had never made the move in the first place. Allied to that was the very short days of sunlight just to make you that little bit more depressed as you tried to contemplate the beautiful snow laden scenes from your temporary prison.

I like to peruse the Loch Ness community facebook groups just to get the local news and views. If there is one subject that dominates such forums right now is the treacherous road conditions that prevail over a Highland winter. Such forums will have posts about this road being impassible and another being passable with care. People will also post for road reports before they attempt any travel.

Sure, the snow ploughs will (hopefully) come through after 9am and life is better if you can afford a 4x4 "chelsea tractor" and let's hope the snow isn't blown back onto the roads after the plough has done it work! Likewise, pray for an understanding boss in Inverness when you tell him you're blocked in again and won't be at work.

I guess those who made the effort to come up all the way from England will generally tough it out and think of those beautiful summers by way of compensation. As for me, I just wondered how folk who had retired cope with all this. Stuck in their houses and even more infirm on their feet on ice and snow. And if you have a sudden illness, how is that ambulance from Raigmore hospital going to get there? Do they have helicopters?




Oh well, perhaps it was best to retire to Loch Ness, but not that close. Perhaps Inverness, Nairn or Culloden? Only time will tell but for now I had a comical vision of Nessie gambolling on the snow choked roads, confident in the knowledge that no human can get near her by design or luck!


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com







29 comments:

  1. I've had a similar fantasy about retiring to Loch Ness, and I already had my home picked out - Boleskine House, of course! Sadly the fire has dashed that fantasy for good...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, a better choice for ghost hunters I would have thought!

      Delete
  2. Roland, I moved up here March 2003 from Nottingham and haven't had a seconds doubt. I am currently quite ill with what's being described as 'Aussie Flu', but the main A82 route seems mainly clear, so I'm not too bothered. Honestly, Drum can be a bit of a pain in the Summer, what with all the touroids but Winter?...I love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking more of the south shore, I presume the A82 is a better road even in winter?

      Delete
    2. Lol, I take your point, Roland...the dangers of texting when full of flu and whisky! To be honest I only ever venture to the south side in summer if my visitors want to go.

      Delete
    3. So, Riitta (and RP McMurphy) how is the demographics of the loch? Are there a high proportion of people who are not born there? Lots moving in from England, Glasgow, Edinburgh?

      Delete
  3. The answer is a lottery win. Summer property at Loch Ness, winter property further south. Just choose the correct six numbers, it can't be that difficult can it?! Heh heh!

    Being serious now, I had similar thoughts once about moving there. I probably wouldn't be able to afford it. And your description of the winters there makes me think it was a crazy idea anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wonder if building plots are available on the north shore , not many new houses on that road.

    GB, living anywhere in the rural highlands a wait for a doctor or ambulance will always be much longer than an urban area , don't let that mere detail put you off your dream of a lochside abode, go for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. New build plots are at a premium on both shores and tend getting planning permission tends to be a huge headache.

      The landowner above Dores tried to clear some trees recently and had objections from the other side of the loch at Abriachan as apparently it spoiled their panoramic. Go figure.

      Delete
    2. Hmmm, well. Is there a "Loch Ness" premium on house prices compared to say a few miles further inland?

      Delete
  5. Gee whizz guys - we're in the north of Scotland. You'd think it was Siberia the way you lot are talking :-)

    The winters here are really no more severe than anywhere else in Scotland. In fact we've had it easier than the central belt this last couple of weeks.

    The Foyers-Whitebridge road is a bad example is its an old road that climbs to about 350metres so of course when it snows it gets a fair covering.

    I live loch-side. Couldn't live anywhere else. Pretty much got everything I need - rural life but I'm 15 minutes into Inverness if I need any big town amenities.

    You should go for it Roland, you'd be made very welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In answer to the ambulance question - there's an air ambulance works out of Raigmore in Inverness.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Went up for new year a few years back! Stayed at fort augustus chalet park! It was minus summit silly with thick snow everywhere and snowed the whole time we wer there! It was beautiful and i loved it ..the only pain in the butt was the journey home which took 12 hours instead of the usual 7 lol.....Roy

    ReplyDelete
  8. I remember reading somewhere that snow and ice doesn't lie long in the environs of Loch Ness due to the loch's ability to be like a storage heater and keeps the temp a few degrees above what it should be.
    In fact, winter or summer, the water temperature never varies from a nippy 44 F.

    Why is the area so hostile to new house building I wonder ?

    The Youth Hostel at Altsigh has looked vacant for some time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's had a lick of paint recently so someone is clearly owning it. Not sure who though.

    The house building thing is a difficult one. One of those large building firms would dearly love a chunk of loch side real estate so they could park one of those identikit new build schemes on it. That would look totally out of place as they do in many rural areas.

    Other than that there's also the fact a lot of the land on both shores is owned by Forestry Commission - who tend not to be big on selling for building.

    It can be done. I know someone building above Foyers just now. That said, when plots are made available they tend to be top dollar. As an example those big houses up on the left as you come into Dores were around 200k for the plot alone before you even laid a brick.

    Dores is really popular because it's on the loch but only a short drive into Inverness. Foyers tends to put a lot of people off as it's that bit further and the road scares a lot of people off. Inverfarigaig's nice but very few houses and people tend to hang on to them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. South side is totally diffrent to the north side! Its like bin in two diffrent places if u see wat i mean.. i spend most of my time in fort augustus so dont get up the south side as much as id like! Maybe i shud make the effort when im up in March to spend more time on that side as it is beautiful...i love the high road by dores where u can look down on the loch and see it in all its beauty! And of course for a pit stop in the dores inn on my travels lol especially now they do tennents.! Roll on......Roy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any word back from your friend who saw the monster?

      Delete
    2. Soz GB ...only just seen this..no not spoke to him but im going back up the loch in march so i will mention it then!

      Delete
  11. Roland if you can find a place on the shore - DO IT!! Steve Feltham toughed out all those winters in his book mobile and loves the winters at the Loch. Sure some winters would be harsh but god damn it's Loch Ness, imagine having your morning coffee while taking in the beauty of the Loch. You would be right there, if I lived in Scotland I would do it in a heart beat.

    Good luck and I hope you really find a retirement home on the shore someday, I'm already jealous lol! Keep your camera close, binoculars ready, and your camera batteries charged.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Not sure bout retiring but the thought of ending up spending a lot of my time at loch ness has crossed my mind a few times...for me it wud be a log cabin overlookin the loch like the one i stay in at fort augustus!! When i venture out of fort i have often passed a cabin overlooking urquhart bay ..think it was called strone cabin or summit! Id often wondered about spending sum time there but on my last visit it was sadly in the middle of bin knocked down! Dont know wether another one was going up or not...maybe sumone cud enlighten me...cheers...Roy

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Roland, I've obtained a very large topographical map of the Loch and have been pinpointing the major sighting locations. Your article on the potential Spicer location is fascinating. I'm trying to pinpoint Arthur Grant's land sighting on the map. Do you have an upcoming blog article on this? - would be good to have a more or less pinpointed location. Would also be fascinated to read your thoughts on the Smith film, terrible resolution and all. Surely in all this time, someone has located the two schoolboys that were present, and questioned them - especially as they were both there for the final sighting of the object. Thanks! MD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MD, you have blocked users from seeing your blogger profile, can you enable this please else you will not be allowed to comment further. Just moderation poicy thanks.

      Delete
    2. I do have an upcoming article on the Arthur Grant case - it will be in my new book coming out soon. No plans to put it on the blog though.

      Delete
    3. P.S. I noticed my own blogger ID was hiding its profile - now fixed.

      Delete
    4. Like you, I did not know that was a box I had to check. Should be fixed now. Will look forward to details on the Grant sighting and also the book, which will distill a lot of the great info on this blog. Many thanks, Roland.

      Delete
    5. Thanks, MD. How many "pins" will go in the map?

      Delete
    6. My fantasy of course is to visit the loch, as retirement is looming. I would think the most interesting "pins" would be the major land sightings, which I might visit to get a sense of the space and position on the lochside. Then for now, the position of what I consider to be the valid photos and films: Gray, Smith, Hodges, Rines, Dinsdale, Raynor(though he now thinks it wasn't the LNM) - and throw in the sighting locations for Greta Finlay, Cameron and Fraser, Boyd and perhaps Marjorie Moir. Perhaps I'd best break the the trip into 3 visits! best, MD

      Delete
    7. Any links to the Smith and Hodges photos MD? I dinny ken them. Cheers.

      Delete
  14. Off subject but nice to see u have changed ur profile foto to the rines one! Good to know we changed ur opinion on this wen not so long ago u thought it was too light to be a nessie :-)

    ReplyDelete