So we made our way from Inverness along the Loch Ness and through the Scottish Highlands. No, we did not see a monster in the 30+ mile long Loch Ness, but we thought it would certainly be easy to hide one there! Without question, some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, rivaling even the South Island of New Zealand and the Alps of Switzerland. Our goal was to enjoy the scenery, which we did, and then to make our way to Greenock, Scotland, along the Irish Sea. Cindy’s family from her mother’s side had a long history in this part of the world, through the late 1800’s, when many of them migrated to America.
Friendship is like whisky: the older the better. Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whisky is barely enough.
The Scottish Highlands are also a major source of lumber for the UK. And the forests are like carpet. Lush and green and dripping with mist, like a rain forest. The highways were like tunnels through trees, and at times quite harrowing. But we made it.
In the town of Greenock, near Glasgow, we stopped to search for the little church that one of Cindy’s older relatives (a great great great something or other) was baptized in. We found it, and although it had long ago been deconsecrated as a Catholic Church and reconsecrated as a Methodist Church, it was fun to imagine the family as it made its way to a sacred ceremony.
The name of the town has had various spellings over time. It was printed in early Acts of Parliament as Grinok, Greenhok, Grinock, Greenhoke, Greinnock, and later as Greinok. Old Presbytery records used Grenok, a common spelling until it was changed to Greenock around 1700. The origin of the name is unknown, although suggested sources have included the Common Britannic “Graenag,” a gravelly or sandy place which accurately describes the foreshore before the docks and piers were constructed; or the Gaelic meaning of a sunny place, which Grenockians have thought an improbable description. It has also been suggested that “Grian cnoc” or sunny hill could refer to the hill on which the castle and mansion house stood, but this has not found much support.
We found a place to stay overnight not far from the infamous Lockerbie, Scotland, and geared up for the long drive to Oxford.