Tag Archives: Scotland

A Loch Ness Rainbow Story

Loch Ness 960 pxIt hit me that visitors to my website would like to know why I chose the cover photo of the rainbow over a body of water. Besides writing, two of my favorite pastimes are photography and travel. They seem to go hand in hand for me. I selected this photo as a welcome to my Heartfelt Legacies, LLC website because it has a very special story to accompany it.

My Great-Grandfather Lachlan McLennan left an incredible gift in the form of a 113-page journal that he wrote over the course of his lifetime. On page 11 he writes of having left Corntown, Scotland on May 29, 1869. On the journey that would take him from his homeland forever were several other family members, including his mother, Catherine McKay McLennan, his brother, Evan, his two sisters, Mary and Kate, and his brother-in-law, Hugh McIntosh. Several family members were in Oregon and Iowa at the time. Others either remained in Scotland preparing to join them later or chose to stay in Scotland. The travelers would make their way to Liverpool to gain passage on the City of Washington of the Inman Line for a 13-day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in New York on June 19, 1869.

It was on Sunday, May 30 via a steamer that the family continued on the Caledonian Canal, which flows through several lochs in the Scottish Highlands, including infamous Loch Ness. Lachlan wrote, “On either side of Lochness arose mountains, whose sloping sides reached to the edge of the water of the lake, clad with the emblem of the North, the blooming heather, amid which the deer and the doe roam in seeming primitive beauty. A stream of water clear as crystal, at first wends its devious course along in its agent, until at last it falls over an overhanging rock and resolves itself into a thick mist, in which all the colors of the rainbow are visible. The frolicsome fish of the lake leaping out of the water, here and there on the surface of its placed surface sometimes startle the beholder.”

Fast forward 141 years to June 27, 2010 with Steve at the wheel of our rental car driving along skinny two-lane A82 that runs on the west side of Loch Ness. He was not just driving, but driving behind the wheel on the opposing side of the car than we are accustomed in the U.S. and on the opposing side (not the wrong side) of the road. As the rain persisted, I couldn’t help but think of the lack of views that would be obstructed by it and the low-clinging clouds. However, my spirits were not dampened as I was steeped in anticipation of seeing my Great-Grandfather’s home village of Lochcarron, nestled along the coast of the salt-water loch bearing the same name, but written as Loch Carron. We still had some kilometers to cover before nearing Lochcarron.

Keeping my eyes riveted to Loch Ness, should I have the stroke of luck in seeing the Loch Ness Monster, I was struck by the sudden streaks of sunlight that broke through the gray clouds. It shone much like a spotlight for a starlet on stage, only focusing its light on just one small spot on the eastern hillside. The greens seem to reflect the same intensity as the sunshine. Then as if on cue, the rainbow appeared, a half-arch over the verdant vegetation. I shouted, “Please stop the car at the next pull off!” Seeing a spot on the left, Steve quickly slowed and  parked to the side. Protecting my camera from the raindrops that continued to fall, I snapped photos. Recalling Lachlan’s description of rainbow colors, I stood in awe, imaging what it was like for them on a steamer, family either sitting or standing side by side with their meager belongings stowed in a wooden trunk and soaking in the passing scenery for one last time.

I’ll never look at a rainbow quite the same way. Instead I stop to reflect on the journey associated with Loch Ness and traveling to a new country for both Great-Grandfather Lachlan and me!

Where have you traveled? I’d love to hear about your favorite spots, whether in the United States or abroad.

~ Diane