Even those who have never had a tour of Scotland will have some familiarity with the landscape and mythology of Loch Ness. But there is an awful lot more to this body of water than legend.
Around 23 miles long and exceptionally dark because of its high peat content, Loch Ness has captured the imagination of people the world over since sightings of a ‘monster’ known affectionately as ‘Nessie’ were first reported in 1933. Current thinking is that Nessie is in fact a very large catfish, but that won’t stop Scots and visitors alike being captivated by this intriguing and beautiful loch.
Loch Ness is the second largest loch in Scotland after Loch Lomond, and, because of its great depth, contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. Visitors may enjoy the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition at Drumnadrochit, which focuses on the myth of Nessie and operates boat cruises from the shore. The stunning Urquhart Castle, which dates back to the 13th century, can be found on Strone Point, a triangular promontory o the western shore, with commanding views of the loch’s whole length. It’s the largest castle in Scotland, and has a rich history of battle, invasion, capture and restoration that is well worth a visit for its own sake.
Loch Ness is just one of the many connecting waters of the ‘Great Glen’, a series of glens that runs from Inverness to Fort William along the Great Glen Fault, and which effectively bisects the Scottish Highlands. A geological scar of both great beauty and function, the Great Glen is a natural travelling route: it’s the pathway of the Caledonian Canal, the A82 road and the recently developed Great Glen Way, created for cyclists, canoeists and walkers.