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Loch Ness Mysteries

a person standing on a beach near a body of water

Loch Ness – the mysteries of Scotland’s most famous loch

When you visit Scotland, you will have the opportunity to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. From our mountain ranges to our vast lochs, there really is so much to take in.

Loch vs. Lake

The word Loch comes from the Scot’s Gaelic meaning lake, it’s actually quite rare to find a body of water here called a lake! However, you’ll find Lochs all over Scotland with some notable ones like Loch Lomond and Loch Tay. However, the most well know of these is by far Loch Ness.

Facts & Figures

Loch Ness is the largest body of water in Scotland by volume and contains more water than all the Lakes in England and Wales combined. It is in fact so deep, that Loch Ness never freezes over, even in the harshest of Scottish Winters, as the water cooled from the air will sink and be replaced by hot water below it. Quite often you will find a foggy layer over loch ness as the water is much warmer than the surrounding air, adding to the amazing views in the area. The deepest point in Loch Ness comes in at around 800ft, which is said to be the lair of the most famous resident of Loch Ness.

Nessie – the Loch Ness Monster

A popular activity is trying to find the elusive Loch Ness Monster (or Nessie) within the depths of Loch Ness. In fact, in the past, massive campaigns have been put in place to attempt to find Nessie, with rewards reaching as high as £50,000 or even more. In the 2005 Visit Scotland Adventure Triathlon each swimmer in the Loch was insured for 1 million pounds in the event that their swimming would attract Nessie to the area! Even to this day, DNA testing is taking place in the Loch to attempt to find any trace of Scotland’s biggest legend. The earliest story of the Loch Ness Monster (or Nessie) dates back to the 6th century, when it was said that St Columbus had to banish a creature back into the Loch when it attacked him as he crossed.

However, the story of Nessie was thrown into the public eye in 1933 upon the construction of a new road running alongside Loch Ness. A couple claimed that when driving along it, they saw an enormous creature which was almost dragon-like or prehistoric. Since then, many sightings have taken place along the banks of Loch Ness of Nessie in the water. Most famously, the ‘Surgeon’s Photograph’ which showed a long neck extending out of the water of Loch Ness, many saying that it resembled a Plesiosaur. However, this photograph was later proved to be a hoax, created by using a toy submarine with a fake head attached. That being said, many sightings have remained unexplained to this day and scientists struggle to find a logical answer as to what those at the Loch may have seen.

If you yourself are a Nessie Hunter, there really is no better way to explore the Loch than to take a boat cruise across it. Loch Ness itself has a surface of 22 Square Miles, so it is the most effective way to see as much of the Loch as possible while you relax and hear more about the history of the area. Or if you have a day to spare, some of the more adventurous opt to dive into Loch Ness to search for the local wildlife and Nessie herself.

Things to do around Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a part of the Caledonian Canal, a network allowing boats to travel across Scotland from the East coast to the West coast. In total, 2/3 of this network are natural with other Lochs such as Oich and Lochy completing the journey. These lochs, Ness included, were all formed by the Great Glen Fault line which extends up towards Inverness. Many interesting places lie on the banks of Ness, including the most well-known, Inverness.

Inverness’ name was based on Scottish Gaelic to mean ‘Mouth of the Ness’ and is known now as the Capital of the Highlands. Fans of Outlander would also love a day spent in Inverness, as many of the series main locations are in and around the Inverness area. The village of Drumnadrochit on the banks of Loch Ness is home to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. This exhibition is definitely worth a visit and goes into the history of the Loch itself as well as detailing attempts to find Nessie and new search techniques being used.

Drumnadrochit is also next to the world-famous Urquhart castle, which holds a great place in Scotland’s history. The castle was involved in the fighting during the Wars of Independence and changed hands numerous times between Scottish and English rule. However, the castle was eventually destroyed during the time of the Jacobites. Now the ruins of the castle lie atop a hill overviewing Loch Ness, allowing for an insight into the lives of Scottish people throughout the ages.

Fort Augustus lies at the southern end of Loch Ness and offers more breath-taking views of the highlands, also with an extensive history. A fort was built in the town, which was named after William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland after the Jacobite Uprising in 1715. The surrounding town then began to grow and adopted the name Fort Augustus as its own. With Loch Ness being 36.3 km in length, it is no surprise that there are a lot of interesting places to visit along its banks. However, there is actually one tiny island within Loch Ness, which goes by the name of Eilean Mhuireach or ‘Cherry Island’. This is a small man-made island, which was created with the intention of being a retreat for any locals who felt at threat in their own homes. The base of the island is completed formed by wooden planks and stone piled up underneath the water, which is also known as a ‘crannog’.

No matter where you are near Loch Ness, there is always something to see or do. Whether that be viewing the amazing scenery, discovering Scotland’s history or searching for Nessie, visiting the Loch is always a memorable experience no matter where you visit from. Many of our tours visit the locations mentioned and allow you to have a go at finding Nessie for yourself. Our one-day Loch Ness, Glen Coe and the Highlands tour runs year-round and allows you to see as much of Scotland as possible in one day – whilst fitting in time to visit Urquhart Castle and a cruise on Loch Ness! As well as that, many of our multi-day tours feature the Loch as a prominent location within it – making sure that your time in Scotland is as memorable as can be.

Written by Kirsty Gardiner – Shop Manager