Its October, the leaves are falling, the witches are abroad, and I’ve opened the blog up to guest writers again. Yes its Indie October. Throughout October some old favourites among my guests will be returning along with some new voices. Today’s Guest Post is from Teesside travel author Will Nett
It hangs in the air as you approach. Once you get inside a 20 mile radius you can almost taste it. By the time they first glimpse the grey gloom of the water, even the professional cynic, eg; me, is fully invested. I wanted it to be in there. I stuck my head around the gift shop door to enquire as to what time the next sighting was, as though a centuries old, or even prehistoric, beast, was operating on some sort of office rota. There’s been 22 official sightings at time of writing, 7 of which are by the same person, an Irishman who’s never been within 50 miles of the place in his life, but instead watches a livestream of the Loch from his home across the Irish Sea. Well, it can’t be any less entertaining than Mrs’s Brown Boys, I don’t suppose.
I’m in Drumnadrochit, or ‘Drum’ as I’ll now refer to it, in order to save ink. It’s effectively the ‘Village’ from TV’s ‘The Prisoner.’ Everyone knows your business before you’ve even arrived, all of the buses are driven by the same insufferably cheerful driver, and the weather is modified every 90 seconds by a man sitting at a console somewhere beneath the village green.
It was a motley crew that eventually set sail in this post-Coronial world of cryptozoological exploration. So much for trying to save ink. There were a couple of Parisians on the roof, a pair of Poles in the wheel house, and myself draped over the engine block. I’d positioned myself in such a way as to be able to grab Nessie around the neck and wrestle it onto the boat.
We blasted off from the little harbour around the ‘horn’ of Urqhuart Castle under the reassuring steerage of Skipper Mike, who’s booming tour-guide tones punctuated the various points of interest in a discourse that took in ditched WWII bombers, disastrous water-speed records, and the importance of making sure there’s a ladder attached to the outside of the boat before going for a dip.
It was another Irishman who gave birth to the legend of the Loch in the first place. 1350 years ago, a chap called Columba- who I like to think of as being played by Peter Falk- learnt of a local man who’d been killed by a ‘water beast.’
Intrigued as Columba was, he was not so curious as to investigate the matter himself, instead sending one of his mates out for what he presumably convinced him would be a leisurely swim. Sure enough, the ‘water beast’ set about our unassuming piece of human Nessie bait as he casually backstroked around the Loch. By way of defense he fell back on the tried and tested method of the Catholic Church and wielded the sign of the cross using his index fingers, which was enough to prevent further mauling and returned the ‘beast’ back to the depths, and its abandoned shopping trolleys and car tyres.
I’m not a man of religious faith, or a believer in urban myths, but I wanted to believe this.
I wanted it, this ‘water beast’ or anything, to rear up, and smash the boat and everyone in it to pieces. I wanted to see ‘it’ or anything.
The suggestion of a monster is a powerful thing.
About Will Nett
Will Nett is about 40, from Middlesbrough and the author of My Only Boro, the book that was a bestseller in the town for three Christmases in a row.
Will is one of the most affable writers in the Tees area, and his global appeal and general popularity have seen his writing career straddle two millennia. He is an incurable backpacker, occasional banjo picker and habitual note-maker/taker, most of which have found their way into his Gonzo-steeped books, which also include Local Author Writes Book, and his riotous travelogue, Billy No Maps. He has been a Sudoku salesman, snooker table repair man, model, cinema usher and unprofessional gambler.
His latest book, The Golfer’s Lament, was submitted for the William Hill Sports Book Of The Year Award 2020.
Will Nett on Amazon
TEES on line interview