On the back of my recent article about retiring to Loch Ness, a reader emailed to inform me that his house was up for sale in Drumnadrochit. You can get all the details here. Of course, you may ask, having spoke of the attractions of living by Loch Ness, why this person is leaving. He has told me in his own words with a summary of his time at the town and loch.
AFTER TEN years of living the dream, we have decided to leave our Loch Ness-side village and return to our south England roots. Why? Because every single one of our family lives down there, and we don’t want our young daughters growing up without knowing them. And we miss them ourselves.
Drumnadrochit, some 14 miles south of Inverness, is the traditional centre of all things Nessie. It hosts the two major exhibitions – the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, and Nessieland – and boasts gift shops and places to eat. But it is much more than a tourist centre. There is a Primary School and a High School (both well-regarded), a childcare centre, an after-school club, a community centre where senior citizens get together and enjoy good food, a library… essentially, everything a good village should have, and more.
Some people have sincerely-held doubts about living here. Well, speaking from a decade of experience, I can only say that we have led an enjoyable, trouble-free life here, and would probably continue to do if our family had joined us. Tourists? Not a problem. Yes, they visit Drumnadrochit during the summer, but it never results in Oxford Street-like crowding, and their presence here is always welcomed.
Road conditions? I have yet to fall foul of wintry roads, and the gritters and ploughs do a fine job. Snow? Yes, we sometimes get a fall of the white stuff, but it is part of the allure of the Highlands – when the snow settles, there is no more beautiful sight in the world. We were awestruck when snow fell one Christmas Eve; gorgeous and uplifting. And when the snow does come, children and adults alike can be seen sledging on one of the many hillsides which are perfect for it.
Drumnadrochit is a small, friendly village. Many residents have lived here all their lives; others have moved away, only to return because they missed it so much; and those of us who arrive from England are made to feel part of what is a close-knit community. Indeed, there are many examples of people from England following their families to Drumnadrochit… and staying.
Then, of course, there is Loch Ness. You can see it from the top of our road. As can the sheep who inhabit the field. When conditions allow, you can walk to the shore and gaze in rapture at the breathtaking view of the Loch. It really is a magical feeling. And you hop in your car and take a short drive, there is any number of vantage points from which to admire the water.
Urquhart Castle is close to us. I wonder how many people have – as I did – stood in the very spot where the Surgeon’s Photo was taken and felt that delicious sense of history. I cannot count the number of times I have looked out upon Loch Ness and witnesses tantalising ripples in the water, wakes with no obvious origin, and distant shapes that have made me wonder… what if?
There is no feeling of isolation here. Buses stop at various points in the village (my partner has made numerous friends while travelling back and forwards to Inverness). And the nearby A82 provides an excellent link to the rest of the region.
Among our neighbours is Adrian Shine. A great man: charming and friendly. As is Nessie-Spotter Steve Feltham, who lives at Dores on the other side of the Loch. He recognises us now and always has time for a chat. We will miss all of the above, for sure. A lot. But we also miss our family, and the time has come to return home and be among them again.
We will certainly miss our bungalow. It’s detached, with a self-contained annex. This leaves scope for renting and/or holiday letting. There is serious money to be made for those who fancy it. You could live in the main bungalow and let out the annex; or vice-versa, as the previous residents did. Or just take over the entire building and wallow in the living space. Our Loch Ness adventure is approaching its end; a new one lies on the horizon. For anyone wanting to live the same dream, you could do no better than move here. It really is fantastic.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org