The adventurers came back from their exploration of the River Ness with tales to tell. A good time was had by all, but no photo evidence exists. Becky, Brad and Hal decided to have one more adventure by jumping off the roof of the barge into Loch Ness. Afterwards, most of us gathered in the living room area to warm up with hot chocolate and scotch, and there was some music making.
Martin and his partner Neil came out all dressed to the nines … Black tie attire for the canal conference dinner. We harassed them into posing for photos.
Dinner was sea bass with roasted veggies, mashed sweet potatoes, asparagus and halloumi, followed by chocolate mousse and of course, cheese. We fell asleep to the sound of rain on the metal roof of the barge.
Next morning we had bits of Scottish breakfast, including crumpets, black sausage and beans. That fueled us up for our morning walk to Foyers Falls with the whole group, including the Eugene folks and Claire. Chris led the way, and gave us our quote for the day “Leaders do not have to be in front.”
If you are a poetry fan, Robert Burns penned one to these falls, and certain lines from the poem are etched into stones on the way to the falls. The whole poem is here: Foyers Poem
The water level is low, so the falls themselves were smaller than they can be. This one is 90 feet high. If you stare at the falls in just the right way, you can see the water going back up the to the top, which is called the Foyers Effect. It was a very popular Victorian vacation spot.
After viewing the falls, we headed over to the Waterfall Cafe. What a happening place. It is a tea and scones kind of place, but it was very busy this morning. In addition to the usual activities, there was a group of women who were holding a bake sale for charity. We got a pot of tea and bought some homemade goodies from the bake sale.
Brad headed over to view the Foyers Gnome phone booth. It is apparently scheduled for removal by the phone service, which would be a shame. We bought the commemorative refrigerator magnet. While we sat outside and enjoyed our tea and goodies, someone started playing the accordion inside the cafe. Suwannee River, Red River Valley, You Are My Sunshine, etc … And everyone was singing along.
Then we headed back down to the barge, where several different options were available for spending the rest of the morning. Some went on a sail and canoed, and others walked, Hal went for another dip, while a few stayed on board.
After a nice lunch of mushroom broth, bread, feta and olives, hummus and a salad, we headed towards the end of the loch. Some folks decided to bike while others (like us) stayed on board. We barged by Urquhart Castle and had a great view from the water. A couple of folks had the chance to drive the boat. Once we left the loch and were into the canal and another wee loch, we saw several grey herons.
We tied up at Dochgarroch for the night, just above the lock. It was time to go find the cyclists, who had stopped for a drink in Dores. There was a little confusion about where they were supposed to be picked up in the rib, but it all got sorted out and they made it back eventually.
Then it was time for our farewell dinner. Martin and Chris dressed in their kilts, but young Robby doesn’t have one. The menu was chicken breast stuffed with haggis and wrapped in bacon (also called Balmoral Chicken) or a beef tomato stuffed with veggie haggis. Both served with neeps and tatties of course.
The haggis must be addressed, so Martin did the job. He read the poem by Robert Burns, using his best acting (Haggis Poem). At one point, he stabbed the poor haggis and all the guts spewed out. He did a fine job of it. Brad captured it on video and posted it on his Facebook page if you’re interested. And the meal was delicious, for all you doubters.
Dessert was the Queen of Puddings. How can you go wrong with that to end a meal and a wonderful week on board? It is kind of a bread pudding, topped by marmalade and then covered in meringue.
To top off the evening, we had a little bit of Scottish dancing out on the dock. Norman played the concertina and Annie gave us lessons and called the moves. We had a bit of fun until it started raining and we went in. Brad and I headed off to our cabin, but we heard general merriment going on in the living room afterwards.
So it seemed like a fine last evening, finally come to an end. But wait … There’s more! About 1:30 or so in the morning, there was some loud banging about. I heard someone walking around and thought I heard a dog. This morning we heard the story.
Someone decided to enter the barge through the emergency hatch in the front of the boat. Big Bang there. Then he went into Lori and Peter’s cabin and said he was lost with his dog. His dog was a Scottie type dog, and very very wet. He asked for something and Peter said no, so he left. Then he popped his head into Dee Ann and Hal’s cabin. Hal told him they didn’t like dogs, so he left. He tried a couple more cabin doors, and then decided to leave. Mean time, Hero Hal got dressed and came up to see that he had in fact left. Hero Annie, the musician on board, also came up and they looked around, but didn’t see him. There was a little more walking and banging about, with Hal and Annie again checking on the situation, but he and his little dog were gone. Nothing appeared to be missing from the barge. Thank goodness that ended without incident!