Carrying on northwards 5.5miles (8.8kms) you arrive at the small hamlet of Invermoriston which is set back from the Loch. As you approach Invermoriston you will notice the stone bridge set upstream from the one you have travelled over. This was constructed by Thomas Telford in 1813 and is still as firm and solid as the day that it was built. It is from this point that the salmon can be seen making their way up stream to spawn. This usually happens between Jan and Oct. By the side of the bridge is a craft shop and antique shop, and slightly further on is St Columba’s Well. Where the road branches to the left is A887, on the corner stands a post office and newsagents. This road leads to Glen Moriston and the Kyle of Lochalsh, and the Isle of Skye. It is on the A887 that you will find a cairn to mark the place that Roderick Mackenzie was killed; it is also from this Glen that the seven men of Moriston came. These men hid the Bonnie Prince in a cave to prevent him being captured by the English army. And to this day the cave is still know as Charles’ Cave.
John Cobb Memorial
Carrying on northwards on the A82 for about 1.5miles (2.4kms) you will arrive at the John Cobb memorial cairn. This was constructed by the local people in 1953 to commemorate the memory of John who on 29th September 1952 after attaining a new world water speed record of 206mph (309kmh) over a measured mile, in his power boat Crusader. It was while attempting his second run that his boat hit a rough patch of water and the stress on the hull was too great. The boat disintegrated leaving a flurry of foam and spray in the water. A rescue boat nearby retrieved the body of John from the Loch; he was still breathing but badly injured. He died on the shores of the Loch shortly after, at the place where the memorial now stands.
2 miles further on the A82 stands a strip of land that juts out into the loch. This land is known as Strone Point or to give its correct name The Nose. It is here that stands the ruins of the medieval Castle Urquhart. Although the Strone has seen many different fortifications, the castle that stands there now was the last to be built. It is not known just when this strip of land became occupied, but archeological digs have found the remains of a stone age petrified fort, along with remains of a Pictish occupation. It is believed that King Bude(king of the northern
picts) had a camp on this site at the time when St. Columba was converting the Picts to Christianity. In the 13th century a mote and bailey castle was constructed. This consisted of large water filled ditch and a high wooden wall surrounding the bailey. And the mote, which was a large man-made hill with a defensive wooden, building on the top. It was here where the barons and knights would live. As time passed the wooden structures were replaced by stone and as the castle became more permanent they also became the residence of the local barons.
It was during the Scottish wars of Independence that the castle saw its most turbulent times, which would last for the next 500 years. In 1291 when John Balliol was laying claim to the throne, that the Scottish Independents asked Edward 1 of England (hammer of the Scots) to conduct an inquiry into this. It was due to there being so many claimants, including Robert Bruce. This was duly undertaken, but his process was to demand allegiance and take possession of many castles and land. Urquhart was one of these and therefore Edward installed Sir William Fitzwarren as the first English keeper of the castle. His position was short lived, as within 12 months the castle was stormed by a small Scottish army possibly led by Sir William Wallace (Braveheart). Who was known to have been encamped at Cromarty, less than 20 miles away. Over the 500 years there were several skirmishes and sieges involving the castle. Many of these were raids by the MacDonald's, Lords of the Isles. Some of the raids even challenged the government troops. In 1691 the government troops abandoned Castle Urquhart, blowing up several parts of the castle, so that it could be of no further military use. Then in 1715 during one of the worst storms on record part of the main tower collapsed, leaving the castle how it stands today.
But the castle is now being given a new lease of life, in the shape of a new exhibition centre that will give a full history of the castle and its grounds.
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