Monday 9 September 2019

Join author, Virginia Crow, as she takes a look at The Loch Ness… Monster? There is also a chance to check out Virginia's fabulous new series — Caledon #NewRelease @DaysDyingGlory

The Loch Ness… Monster?

By Virginia Crow

I am delighted to be back writing for you all and share a little bit about the fascinating stories with have inspired my serial, Caledon. So, before I begin on the journey of my blog, I would like to say a great big thank you to Mary Anne for inviting me to guest post on her fantastic blog.
I couldn’t resist the chance to blog about one of the most recognisable creatures of legend anywhere in the world. It has its own road signs and brings in thousands of tourists every year, despite the fact any form of proof in its existence is tenuous at best. Even reported accounts from eyewitnesses can’t agree on very much about it. I’m talking about the Loch Ness Monster or, as it has become more commonly known, Nessie.
Much of Scottish culture has come out of the water. It’s not just the thousands of miles of coastline, the entire landscape of peppered with hundreds of lochs and lochans. Amongst these is the enormous Loch Ness which, according to Scottish Natural Heritage, contains more water than every single lake in England and Wales combined. Driving along it you might find it hard to believe, it’s long and thin but nowhere near as wide as Loch Lomond, but Loch Ness is also deep, spectacularly so. It also has an annoying habit of throwing back complicated results on scientific instruments. So, it’s not too surprising with these two factors, that Loch Ness is thought to hold something immense.

It’s first attribution was given in the account of Abbot Eunan (Adomnán) of Iona. This manuscript dates from the late seventh century and recalls St Columba ordering the beast to stop harassing his followers and the Picts, at which point it came to a halt as though it was being pulled back. Whatever miracle Columba administered, it worked for a thousand years. Little by little, however, stories of the monster in Loch Ness began to resurface during the nineteenth century and, by the time of the anonymous “Surgeon’s Photograph” in 1934, a significant percent of the population were willing to accept the Loch Ness Monster existed.
Over the past 85 years, “Nessie” has inspired tens of books, several films, a handful of poems, and thousands of edited photographs. The monster, which at times has been referred to as both male and female, encapsulates the perception of Highland landscape, and it’s impossible to walk through Inverness without seeing a hint at its existence.
I’ve rummaged through webpages and books finding out all I can about the tales of sighting of this creature, which had me both fascinated and sceptical at the same time. One of the things which struck me the most, however, was how the creature – or one very like it – could be found all around Scotland. They are often bulky creatures with enormous bodies and strong flippers which both churn water and, on very rare occasions, drag them ashore. They always have long necks, a peculiar but unifying feature. Some have the ability to cure cattle; others are menaces which eat food supplies and even people.  One of my favourite accounts of one such creature comes from Rev. McLean (quoted in the John O’Groat Journal on Friday 13th March 1840):
“When within a few yards of it. finding the water shallow, it raised its monstrous head above water, and by a winding course, got, with apparent difficulty, clear of the creek where our boat lay, and where the monster seemed in danger of being embayed. It continued to move off with its head above water, and with the wind for about half a mile, before we lost sight of it.”
But with Columba directing it, and it behaving in different ways towards different people, it begs the question: why? Determined to answer this (after all, that’s what Historical Fantasy is all about!) I turned all Loch Monsters into the same creature. Rather than being trapped in one loch, The Thunderer is bound to one person and – given that many sightings of several of these creatures occurred within a matter of years – it’s an easy thing to imagine that the creature followed an individual.
I don’t think I’m alone in this interest. From as far back as St Columba, man has been obsessed by creatures which rise from the deep, where humans still have not conquered. One thing is for sure: with over 750 feet depth of water, it’s very possible something is down there.


By Virginia Crow

"Go out and tell all those you meet, Caledon has risen. Caledon will be protected and defended. And to you who would cause her harm, be prepared.  A new fight has come."

After the destruction of the Jacobite forces at Culloden, Scotland is divided, vulnerable and leaderless, with survivors from both sides seeking to make sense of the battles they have fought against their fellow Scots.

James Og flees Drumossie, seeking the protection of his uncle's house in Sutherland.  It is here that James learns that the Northern Highlands hold a secret power only he can wield: Caledon.  When Ensign John Mackay begins hunting Og's family, James realises he must harness this power to defeat the enemies of Scotland.

But, as the ageless Caledon awakes, so too does an ancient evil.  When it allies with Mackay, the small Clan of Caledon faces enemies at every turn, discovering that even those closest to them may seek to destroy them.

Part One: Caledon is Called

The first instalment of an Historical Fantasy set in Scotland 1746.
Post-Culloden, Caledon needs a protector. But Her champions are coming from unlikely corners. It soon becomes evident that more than politics are threatening the power of Caledon. An ancient evil rises, determined to conquer the vanquishing power of Caledon once and for all.

This adventure is in eight parts, released fortnightly.

You can read Part 1

Virginia Crow

Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together such as her soon-to-be-serialised books "Caledon". She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book!

When she's not writing, Virginia is a music teacher in Caithness. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John o' Groats Book Festival which has just celebrated its 2nd year. Hopefully they'll be plenty more to come!

She now lives in the far-flung corner of Scotland, soaking in inspiration from the rugged cliffs and miles of sandy beaches.

She loves cheese, music and films, but hates mushrooms.

Connect with Virginia: FacebookTwitter.

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See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx