Loch Ness Region
Arguably the most famous loch in Scotland due to one well known – and notoriously difficult to photograph – inhabitant, Loch Ness is also a beautiful and interesting part of the country. The long and narrow loch extends over 23 miles in northern Scotland and is part of the Great Glen, a valley of four lochs that spans from Fort William in the west to Inverness to the east. At 24 miles long, one mile wide and up to 1,000 feet deep, the loch is joined to lochs Oich and Lochy by the Caledonian Canal. he elusive Loch Ness Monster – affectionately known as 'Nessie' – was first spotted in the 6th Century by St Columba. Fuzzy photos taken in the 1930s have sparked interest ever since, and The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit presents the full story and compiles the existing photographic evidence of the mysterious legend.
Those wishing to search for Nessie themselves will be rewarded with spectacular scenery and plenty to keep them occupied until the creature appears. Take in the sights with a loch-side walk on one of the many heritage and wildlife trails or cruise the loch waters.
The path to the Falls of Foyers on the eastern side of the loch winds up the hills and offers views of the dramatic valley below. Cruises can be booked from a number of places, including Fort Augustus and Inverness. Other more adventurous activities on offer include mountain biking, windsurfing, paragliding, and skiing on the Nevis Range. No area of Scotland would be complete without a golf course, and the Fairways Golf Course at Loch Ness is surrounded by dramatic scenery.
The area is full of attractions and is well set up for tourists, especially those seeking the true story of Nessie. The western shore of the loch is the busier one, so those seeking quiet should head to the east. Fort Augustus, a village at the southwest end of Loch Ness, is an excellent base for exploring the area and taking in the sights of the Caledonian Canal and its locks.
Visitors can take boat cruises from Fort Augustus, and there is also a Benedictine Abbey to check out in the village. Other villages around the loch include Invermoriston and Drumnadrochit, which has a tourist information office and is near the ruins of the 16th-century Urquhart Castle on the western shore of the loch. The Highland capital town of Inverness is nearby and worth a visit.
A Victorian castle fills the town's centre and the town offers attractions for those interested in the area's history and culture (Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre or Inverness Museum and Art Gallery) or shopping.
Loch Ness is most easily accessed from Inverness (Inverness Airport is 21 miles from the loch) but can also be reached by road on the A82 from Glasgow (approximately a 3 ½ hour drive). Accommodation in the area ranges from campsites, youth hostels and bed and breakfasts to country cottages and hotels.
Great Glen Way
This long distance foot path travels 73miles, travelling form Inverness to Fort William. There is also an 80 mile mountain bike route follows canal towpaths, winds through forests and is a great, scenic bike ride.
Located on the north-western shore of Loch Ness, this mountain has a peak of 699 metres. It will take approx 6 hours to the summit and back.
Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition Centre
Find out all about Nessie by audiovisual presentations and displays of the underwater hunts that have gone on over many years to find her. Located in Drumnadrochit.
This castle, which is really just ruins, was blown up in 1692. The most intact part is the tower house, however, it’s the views here that are the most impressive.