|The Howling Drunkards of Loch Ness|
I drank a lot of lager at Fiddler's, 9 1/2 years ago, when I was drifting aimlessly through the West Highlands. I stayed in Drumnadrochit for three nights at a hostel nearby (Loch Ness Backpackers!). I remember the rain, the curled-horned Scottish Blackface rams, a pair of motionless Highland coos, a private tour of Nessie's favourite appearances.
I made my trip to that part of the world as I was struggling through some considerable personal turmoil. I wasn't going there for the whisky. I was going there because it was not here.
And there I was, one late afternoon, walking through the tiny town. Through farmland. Through the forest that led to the River Ness. I got lost. Very lost. The kind of lost wherein nothing around even sounds or smells familiar.
Being physically lost really shaves away the bullshit. All those lies you tell yourself in order to get by day-to-day scurry away leaving you pretty much naked to the present. The turmoil from home was still with me, heavy around my heart.
Rain whooshed in. The wind awoke suddenly. Somehow I heard the sound of the river and followed it. I sat at the edge of the water, soaked, lost, and confused. I was okay with never getting up again, never going back anywhere to anything.
In the downpour at a riverside next to a fallen tree five-thousand one-hundred miles from home, I was allowed a bright beacon of clarity. I don't know where it came from nor why. Most people pray an awful lot before being granted this sort of light. I was able to let go of the massive weight of my self pity. And that in turn released me to start the next chapter of my life. I found my way back through the forest without trouble or despair.
Anyway, Fiddler's has a whisky festival. It's this weekend and it's all good things from great distilleries. And it's a ridiculous bargain. Zipping around the water looking for Nessie then having a whisky at Urquart Castle followed by a hot meal...
Sounds pretty good right now.