Travel The Two Realms, Part Three
Loch Ness, Scotland
|Loch Ness, Scotland|
The ruins of Urquhart Castle overlook the blue-gray waters of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, located about twenty-three miles southwest of Inverness. Reports of a monster living in the great depths of the freshwater loch have surfaced from ancient times until as recently as April 7, 2022 (Monster Sightings Register).
Saint Columba and Nessie
Alas, when I visited the famed site, “Nessie” was nowhere to be found, except as brightly colored toys in the Nessie Shop at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. At the time, I had little thought of including the famed loch, or its monster, in my Two Realms fantasy book series.
As William D. McEachern describes in his book, Caledonia: A Song of Scotland, a dispute in the 1400s over ownership of Urquhart Castle eventually led the rightful, but impoverished castle owner, the Earl of Huntly, to lease the castle to Sir Duncan Grant of Freuchie. Upon Grant's death, the castle was bequeathed to his grandson, John "the Red Bard," who returned the castle to its past glory, "and ran the estates efficiently and with justice."
No writer could pass up a great name like the Red Bard. So I created a contentious fictional backstory between my characters' ancestors and the prior owners of Urquhart Castle.
Should you find yourself traveling the Two Realms, venture to Loch Ness and drink in its beauty. Who knows? You may spot something unusual in the water!