When Grandad told me that they were going on holiday to Scotland to play golf I got really excited. I’d never been to Scotland and there are some great golf courses there.
I don’t know how long it took to drive all the way to Scotland as I fell asleep. Grandma had packed me some sandwiches and after I’d eaten them (very soon after we left home) I felt rather tired and nodded off for a few minutes. Well it seemed like a few minutes, but Grandad said it was six hours I slept for and when I woke up we were going close to a big castle on a big rock. It was called Stirling Castle and Grandma said that they had once used it to make a film called “Where Eagles Dare”. But I didn’t see any eagles. I think the Scots like Eagles because they are always naming places after them. And you get an ‘eagle’ if you get the ball in the hole in two strokes under par. We saw a sign to ‘Glen Eagles’ where Grandma said there were lots of golf courses.
“Is that where we’re going for our holiday?” I asked.
“No,” said Grandad, “we’re going further north into the mountains.” Soon we were climbing up the steep sides of mountains and they had snow still on the top of them. Below us we saw great big long lakes that are called lochs in Scotland.
“I’ve heard that there is a big monster in one of the lochs,” I said. I read about it once. I like reading.
“Yes,” said Grandad. “There’s a big loch near here called Loch Ness and lots of people say they have seen a great dragon swimming around. It’s got a long neck and scales and it is so big that it is bigger than a large boat!”
“Can we go and see it,” I said.
“Well we might be able to but I don’t think you’ll see ‘Nessie’ as they call her. Only a very few people have seen her and we don’t really know if she exists.”
“I’m sure she does. And I’m awfully good at finding things.”
“Well let’s wait and see.”
Eventually, we arrived at a place called Kenmore where we were going to spend our holiday. And do you know what? It had a great big loch that is sixteen miles long. That’s awfully, awfully long. And it’s very deep. Maybe, just maybe, I thought there’s a big monster like Nessie here too.
It was just getting dark and I looked out of the big window in the lounge of our cottage over the loch to see if I could spot any monsters. We had a funny house. It was upside down. No I don’t mean it was turned on its roof. It was just that the bedrooms were downstairs and the living room and the kitchen were upstairs.
“Are all Scottish houses like this?” I asked.
“No,” said Grandma, “It’s just cottages like this which are built so we can look out over the loch.”
So I went ‘down’ to bed and soon fell fast asleep. I dreamed of big sea monsters swimming in a loch and swimming ashore where they had big cream teas. I don’t know if dragons like cream teas but I do and I often dream about cream teas.
The next morning I woke early. Grandma and Grandad were still asleep. I went upstairs – it seemed funny going upstairs rather than downstairs but I found the kitchen and looked in the fridge to see what I could find for breakfast.
I looked out of the big window at the loch. It was very windy and there were little waves rushing down the loch and breaking on the rocky shore. I looked to see if I could spot a Loch Ness Monster . Maybe there was one on this loch too. I kept looking and suddenly I saw something that looked just like a dragon’s head popping out of the water, way across the loch. I looked again, but it had gone. Then I saw it again, just for a moment. It must be swimming I thought. I’ve actually found another loch monster! But how can I be sure? Grandad said there were no real photos of a loch monster, just very poor ones taken from a long way away. If only I could get closer to the monster and take a picture with Grandma’s phone.
There was a little wooden jetty sticking out from the bank of the loch just close to our cottage. Bobbing up and down on the water was a little rowing boat but it had an engine at the back. Well, I thought, if I could get into that and get the boat up close to the monster, I could get a picture to show Grandad. I’d be the first bear, the first person, to get a good picture of a real live loch monster!
Now Grandma has always told me not to take things that belong to someone else but I didn’t think the owner would mind if I just borrowed his boat for a few minutes. After all I’d bring it back, tie it up again, and he’d probably never even know I’d borrowed it.
It wasn’t as easy as I thought to start the boat’s engine. I had to pull really hard on a piece of rope attached to the engine – rather like the one on Grandad’s lawnmower. After my third go I managed to pull it hard enough for the engine to start.
Brrrmmm, brmmmmm, brmmmm. The engine roared and I quickly untied the rope that was holding us to the jetty. The boat started rushing across the loch – but in the wrong direction. Oh, no, how do I steer it? There was no steering wheel as there is on a car. Just a big spar of wood at the back which was attached to something called a rudder. I pushed this to one side and all of a sudden the boat turned violently left and headed straight for the rocks! I pulled the spar back again and the boat almost tipped over as it turned right back in the other direction. The funny thing was, when I pushed the spar to the right, the boat went left, and when I pushed it to the left the boat went right.
At last I managed to control the boat and I headed towards the place where I’d seen the monster. It was very choppy, the water. There were lots of waves and the boat went up and down a bit like a horse. I began to feel a bit sick and wished I hadn’t eaten all the strawberry jam I’d found in the fridge. But then I saw it! It was bobbing up and down with the waves. The boat got closer but then suddenly I saw it wasn’t a monster at all, but just a big broken tree that must have been swept into the loch after a storm! I was so disappointed that I shut my eyes and rubbed them hard just to see if I was right. When I opened them we were nearly up to the tree and we were going very fast. I tried to stop the engine but I didn’t know how. The next minute we crashed into the monster tree and all at once the engine stopped. The propellers had caught in the tree’s branches and we were stuck.
I tried to start the engine again but It wouldn’t turn because the propeller was stuck in the branches.
I was stuck in the middle of the deep loch with no way of getting back to the cottage. It started to rain and I realised that I was getting quite cold. I looked across to the cottage but I could barely see it now as there was a mist coming up.
I don’t know how long I was stuck there. It seemed like hours. The waves were getting stronger and the wind was whistling down the loch. On the top of the mountains the rain was falling as snow. Oh how I wished I’d not taken the boat out. It hadn’t been a monster after all. So there was no need to bring Grandma’s camera phone – who wanted a picture of a half-sunken tree?
Then it occurred to me. I’m a stupid bear. I really am. I’ve got grandma’s phone. I picked it out of my bag and rang Grandad’s mobile phone. It rang a long time before Grandad answered. He was still in bed.
“Hello,” I said, “it’s Tommy and I’m stuck out on the loch and the engine won’t work. Please come and rescue me.”
Grandad was not pleased. When he arrived with a boatman called a Gillie in another boat a little later he was very cross. It took a long time for the Gillie to untangle the propellers of my boat from the branches and get it started again.
By the time we got back I was shivering with the cold and Grandad was shaking with anger. “When will you learn not to go off on your own? You’re always getting in trouble!”
I was so disappointed that I hadn’t found a monster. I’m sure that there is a Loch Ness Monster – it’s just that we were on the wrong Loch. When I fell asleep in my bed that night I dreamed that I was on Loch Ness and had a big boat, as big as the Loch Ness Monster and that I saw her and got a really good photo. Grandma and Grandad were really happy with me. But then I awoke and knew it had just been a big dream.