Looking for Nessie in the Highlands

I have heard so many legends about the Loch Ness Monster, who we affectionately know as Nessie. There have literally been hundreds of sightings about this mythical beast, with the first sighting dating back to 565AD and I wanted to know how much truth could be found in these sightings.

So my first trip to Scotland was to go searching for Nessie…. Of course I didn’t expect to find her, but I was interested to see where the legend started and to take in the views of the biggest lake in the UK.

Loch is the celtic word for lake and Loch Ness is just one of 31400 lakes in Scotland. Loch Ness is the biggest lake in the UK by water volume with a maximum length of 22.5 miles and a maximum width of 1.7 miles. It’s surface area is 22 sq miles, with its deepest point going down to approximately 755 ft. All told, Loch Ness has a water volume of 1.8 cubic miles, which to put some persepective on it, the entire world population could fit into the loch three times over!

Our itinerary for the day was to leave Inverness and to drive around the lake, stopping off at various points along the way.

 

Wellington Lay-By

The first stop was just outside Inverness along the A82, at the Wellington lay-by. The lay-by got its name because it is the location of where a Wellington bomber was recovered  in 1985.

Loch Ness

The Wellington suffered engine failture whilst on a training flight over Loch Ness, on the 31st December 1940.

There is a nice view from the layby, although on our visit we arrived early in the day so the mist hadn’t quite lifted.

Loch Ness

There are some steps here which lead down onto the stone beach and if you are brave enough, you can take a paddle!

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Experience

Travelling further along the A82, we came to Drumnadrochit which is the location of the The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition Experience.

The exhibition was opened by Sir Ranulph Feinnes in June 1999 and to be honest, was much more interesting that I expected. The main attraction is an automated 7 room walk-through which guides the visitor from the Ice Age through to the present day. The commentator talks about evidence surrounding the legend, the various research that has been done to try and identify if the Loch Ness Monster exists and also shows live footage of eye witness accounts. Once you have been through the 7 rooms you will definitely have an opinion on if you believe Nessie is fact or fiction!

The loch has been examined a number of times and the last comprehensive study said categorically that there was no possibility that Nessie is in the loch. The loch does not have a substainable food source, so Nessie would not be able to live in the loch entirely. The research did suggest it was possible that Nessie leaves the loch to feed and when they did the search, she could have been out at sea.

Outside the exhibition, there is the original one man submarine which was build and used to search for Nessie in 1969.  It is said that this insprired the song “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles.

Loch Ness

Corrimony Chambered Cairn

After the exhibition we drove away from the loch to visit Corrimony Chambered Cairn. Click through to read more about this visit.

Urquhart Castle

Then onto Urquhart castle which sits on the banks of Loch Ness. It was orginally one of the largest castles in Scotland and dates back to the 13th century. It was a grand castle with 4 turrets but it has been attacked on many occasions and substained a lot of damage. The most notable battles wer during the wars of Scottish independence.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

This is a plan of the castle (source Wikipedia),

800px-urquhart_castle_plan

Key:
A Site of drawbridge
B Gatehouse
C Nether Bailey or Outer Close
D Chapel
E Inner Close
F Grant Tower
G Great Hall
H Kitchen
I Water gate
J Upper Bailey or Service Close
K Motte and shell keep
L Doocot
M Smithy
N Loch Ness

 

 

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

The castle is interesting to walk around and you can take in further views of Loch Ness by climbing up in to the towers.

Moriston Falls at Invermoriston

We drove to Invermoriston which was a delightful stop off at the Moriston River. Please click through to read about Moriston Falls at Invermoriston.

Fort Augustus

Picturesque Fort Augustus is located on the south tip of Loch Ness and is a popular stop off location, due to being the connection point between the loch and the the 60 mile Caledonian Canal. The canal runs from Fort William to Inverness and there are 5 locks to navigate through, to go from the top of the canal down to the loch.

This view is at the top of the canal and these boats have just arrived from Loch Ness, through the five locks and are about to travel along the Caledonian Canal.

Loch Ness

A view looking out to Loch Ness.Loch Ness

This lock is just closing after a boat has sailed in. Loch Ness

The view from the bottom of the locks, looking out over Loch Ness.Loch Ness

 

The Changing Landscape of Loch Ness

Heading north along the east side of the loch, the landscape is very different and rural. In parts the road changes to a single one up,one down road, but since there is less traffic on this side of the loch, this isn’t too much of a problem.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

The cloud was coming in which gave a very moody feel to the landscape and then we got a rainbow!Loch Ness

 

Fall of Foyers

The next stop was the Fall of Foyers. The clouds looked very threatening now, but that wasn’t going to stop us and we set off to see the waterfall.  You can read about the visit by clicking through.

 

Dores Inn & Beach

It was coming towards the end of the day and the sun was starting to set. We arrived at our last stop which was The Dores Inn. The pub has a nice oldie worldie feel and is worthy place to stop and have a beer or to enjoy a meal. There is seating by the loch where you can watch the sunset.

Loch Ness

Next door to the Inn is Dores Beach which is a pebble beach with amazing views over the loch. There is a 4 mile circular walk starting here, which goes along the beach and into the woodland and if you ae lucky, you can spot red squirrels.

Loch Ness

 

Is the Loch Ness Monster Fact or Ficton?

The burning question is, did I find Nessie?

Sightings of Nessie haven’t just been in the water, but also of the monster crossing the road. The weather conditions in Loch Ness can sometimes be such that mirages can occur. If on top of that, the sighter has had a few wee drams………..

Whilst in the Highlands, I did have a few drams but sadly I did not have a Nessie sighting.

This was the only Nessie I did see…  who knew she had ginger hair!

 

 

Loch Ness

 

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  • Wonderful post! I would love to visit Scotland, the castles look amazing and of course there is the lochs and mountains… and the whiskey! Your photos are absolutely beautiful.

    • Sam H Travels

      I have a post to do about my Whiskey tasting soon. Watch this space 🙂

  • That report categorically stating Nessie doesn’t exist is poppy-cock, of course she does, she’s legendary lol 🙂 Loved he history and storytelling about our Nessie and I’m glad you got to see her, even if she did have ginger hair 🙂 Your sunset & rainbow photos are stunning by the way, truly breathtaking. Loved Urquhart Castle as well, I have similair photos from my visit and you took me right back there, in fact, that one was one of my favourite places on my tour of Scotland so thanks for a trip down memory lane. #feetdotravel

    • Sam H Travels

      Haha! You are welcome and thank you for your comments, it did give me a chuckle 😉 I am totally ok with Nessie being a Ginger, since I am too 😉

  • Jennifer Pepple

    Scotland is so, so, so high on our travel list. We cannot wait to get there! Pinned your post to refer back to when we finally make it!

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you Jennifer! I hope you get there soon 🙂

  • We love Scotland and have been to Edinburgh and up to St Andrews but not got to Loch Ness as yet. Great photos and glad you found Nessie in the end!

    • Sam H Travels

      You will have to visit. I haven’t made it to Edinburgh yet, but I can’t wait to see all the lovely architecture they have there 🙂

  • Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler)

    Love your search for the Loch Ness Monster. The history was very interesting along with fabulous photos which made me want to hop on a jet a visit Scotland. The castles were interesting along with your journey around the lake especially the “Yellow Submarine”. I will pin this for later when I visit Scotland. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you Stephanie! The history in Scotland is fascinating and although I knew about the Loch Ness Monster i learn’s many new facts at the exhibition centre. I cannot recommend this place highly enough 🙂

  • Lisa

    Can’t wait to visit this stunning place. I would enjoy wandering and the fort and those old castle ruins. So much history here. I could hike for days!

    • Sam H Travels

      The countryside is so beautiful ! If you enjoy hiking, then the Highlands is a must for you ! 😉

  • Travel Lexx

    Stunning photos and sunset! I really want to visit Loch Ness and try and do some Nessie-spotting some day! Looks beautiful and like a great area to explore! Would love to explore the castle too(I am a big kid!)

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you! It really is a great place to explore – I just wish I had more time! I will just have to go back again 😉

  • Oliver Darwin

    I believe many people will find this attraction interesting after reading your post. There are numerous documentary movies and shows about it, but nothing can beat the possibility to visit the exact place and reveal the full story by yourself. Love the photo of the yellow submarine and the scenery at Fort August. According to me Loch Ness is a fiction 🙂

    • Sam H Travels

      Awwww no way 😉 Thank you for your comments! You are right, being at Loch Ness brought all the stories of Nessie to life… clearly I should have drunk more whiskey and then maybe I would have been able to report a sighting to you all 😉

  • Sam H Travels

    Nessie’s doggy door… that is fantastic and has made my day! 😉

  • Sam H Travels

    This was my first trip to Scotland and I had seen on the internet how beautiful it was supposed to be, but it exceeded my expectations and i couldn’t stop starring at the landscape. I am already planning my next trip!

  • Aisha Sylvester

    I must start by saying that I absolutely LOVE the photo of the rainbow! They’re very hard to capture and you did so perfectly 🙂 I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the Loch Ness monster and your excursion to its ‘home’ sounds and looks so fun! I’m a big fan of ruins so I’d probably spend half the day exploring the castle ruins but Scotland is on my list for 2018 and your post has helped me identify at least one thing I MUSt do while I’m there! Thanks!

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you! I was in Scotland for 5 days and I saw a rainbow everyday, So I did manage to capture a lot of rainbows photos 😉 I have some other posts on Scotland which you may also be interested in. I am curious as to what is on your MUST do list?

  • I am from all the way down South near Brighton but really need to go to Scotland at some point! That weather forecast always puts me off but your post and those gorgeous views here have persuaded me to! Best time of the year to visit?

    • Sam H Travels

      I felt exactly the same and people thought I was mad going to Scotand in October, but I thought what the hell and just went for it 😉 Loch Ness is a major area for tourists, so although I would suggest the summer for the better weather, if you don’t want too many people around perhaps early autumn or spring? If you haven’t seen already my post on Rogie Falls, check it out. It is not far from Loch Ness; looks spectacular with its autumn colours and mades Scotland look even more picturesque. I am pleased I have persuaded you to visit Scotland and I hope you have a fantastic time 🙂

  • Gokul

    Nessie may be real or a hoax, but I do love the place. Good job capturing the perfect landscape shots.

    • Sam H Travels

      I loved taking the photos. There are many more than I haven’t shared on this post. I will be making a YouTube video of them shortly 🙂

  • Helena

    I love this! I really loved Scotland and visiting Loch Ness. I didn’t know about some of the places around there so thanks for sharing!

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you Helena – if you are looking to go back, I would be happy to tell you more 🙂

  • travel4lifeblog

    We absolutely loved to read some facts/stories about Nessie in your post. It is great to see that you also included some areas to see while in the region. Your pictures are awesome! Your post was a real pleasure to read and full of useful informations 🙂 Keep up the great work!
    Patrick and Cecile from http://www.travel4lifeblog.com

    • Sam H Travels

      Many people don’t realise how much there is to do in this area, so I did want to demonstrate this – thank you for the recognition 🙂

  • Sam H Travels

    I hope you do! It is something that shouldn’t be missed 🙂 Thank you for your kind comments.

  • Lauren Barratt

    I can not wait to visit Scotland!! On my dream list and your photos show me why!! Great information too

  • This is great! I would love to visit Scotland one day for some hiking and to search for my own Loch Ness Monster. Who knew it was ginger indeed! Haha! I miss a good old english pub and would have loved to sit down for a few pints watching the sunset away. Great article!

  • Sorry you didn’t find Nessie but glad you had a good time. This brings me back to our trip around Scotland in 2011. We loved Urquhart castle cause we like the castle ruins and loch ness right near as it is very neat. That stuffed Nessie is really cute!