The Loch Ness Monster – Is it real?
Loch Ness is bustling with tourists who have come to get a glimpse of the famed Loch Ness Monster. The place is buzzing with tales of the sightings, but only an old lady and her cat know the truth behind the myth, and of course the author.
Enjoy this blog written by Frances Gilbert about her new book “The True Story of the Loch Ness Monster”
I read this book on my lunch break and enjoyed it very much so I asked her to come and tell us how she came to write the book. We still don’t know if the Loch Ness Monster is real, but we do love the magic!
I am often asked how I came to create this story. The truth is it created itself after a family cruise down the Caledonian Canal with the real Davey and Hamish (two characters within the book), then quite little boys. We had arrived for a night at the Foyers Falls landing place on Loch Ness. Grandad fired up the thruster to snug us against dockside, its loud rumblings causing shrieks of ‘the monster, the monster’ from the boys. The great loch stretched out before us under the moon, beautiful and mysterious. ‘Who knows what’s out there?’ and with that the story began, told and embellished many times until I decided to write it down.
When translating such a tale in written form the author always has to decide what will be real and what will seem real enough to be believed; what to include and what to leave out so as to maintain privacy for the characters. I set the cottage in Drumnadrochit because I loved the name, so Scottish and satisfying to say, but the real cottage where the boys grew up with Mustuni, their part wild cat, was on the road from the Corran Ferry leading to Strontian and the Ardnamurchan peninsula.
The details borrowed for the story are real. There were chickens in the kitchen cupboard under the sink, and Mustuni did chase them out; there were spiders spaced neatly all along the ceiling, each a valuable little midgie trap not to be disturbed. I borrowed the pub details from Davey and Hamish’s farmer dad who always brought the latest news and gossip from the pub and occasionally a kitten or a puppy. There was an old range, sooty and black and in that damp climate always draped with jumpers, socks, gloves and wooly hats. I used rice pudding instead of porridge, rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins, because it sounds delicious and was a favourite of my father, often finished up for breakfast. The climate and wet boots needed no borrowing; it seems forever damp in that part of the Highlands. The old man swimming in the lochs is based on a real person, whom I meet every year when I visit. Alas he is quite old now and not swimming any more, but until recently he swam the Corran Narrows every year in his rubber suit. He still tells stories of the sunny continent, where he spent much of his life, ‘the swims he has swum’ and many other wonderful tales.
Since I am not Scottish I didn’t attempt the accent beyond a few stock phrases one hears all the time, ‘away out of the rains’ being one of them! I wrote the story as a read aloud for all ages. When a story is told over and over as this one was the thread of ‘real’ binds the content into a rhythm that is so satisfying to write.
Time has moved on. The real Davey and Hamish are now fine strong young men, bagpipers both. I have a cottage of my own in the Western Highlands where I come to muse and imagine every year. My favourite time is in the Autumn when the stags roar from hill to hill and the mists roll in carrying the faint wail of ancient bagpipes. Then I think of the people who lived in these remote areas and left their stories in the fabric of the old cottages to be told and retold.
‘who knows what’s out there’
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book you can find it on Amazon UK and US and you can get it directly from Create Space The CD’s are also available in the local cafe in Strontian if you happen to pop in there for a cuppa! We didn’t want to give away too much of the story in this blog, so we suggest you get yourself a copy.
Why not travel to Loch Ness this year and see if you can spot the Loch Ness Monster for yourself. Take a look on our website and see what we have available in and around the magical loch. We have lovely holiday homes in Inverness which is a short drive away and lots all over the Highlands so browse our selection today.
Until next time.