N is for Nessie and Loch Ness – if you are visiting Scotland, then it is probably on your list to spend some time looking for both! So to help you plan your trip, my idea is to give you suggestions for activities you can do if you are staying with us at Blervie House.
Because there is so much to do, I have had to break it down alphabetically and am now on N.
So N has to be for Nessie and Loch Ness.
Following the natural fault line of the Great Glen, this whole area remains a picturesque way to enjoy Scotland. With options to walk, drive, cycle, cruise or horse ride around the Loch. Whatever your mode of transport, enjoy your visit to this iconic Loch. And take it from me some of the best views of this steep-sided Loch are from above the tree line.
By surface area, Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish Loch after Loch Lomond. However, its great depth (755 feet) is the largest freshwater Loch by volume in the British Isles. At 22 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, Loch Ness has to be one of the most famous in the world. I imagine its murky depths make it an ideal home for the legendary Nessie – the Loch Ness Monster.
Northern Point of Loch Ness
At the northern end, the Loch runs into the Moray Firth via Inverness. Ness means a headland point or promontory. It is likely to be named from Norse(Nes is used in Scandinavia to describe a headland) or Germanic origins. Inver is Celtic for River mouth. Loch is Gaelic for Lake.
One of the easiest ways to explore the Loch is to cruise with Jacobite Cruises. Depending upon the cruise you choose to take, your journey takes you along Thomas Telford’s famous Caledonian Canal and onto the world-famous waters of Loch Ness.
The Caledonian Canal
This way, you experience Loch’s history, legends and views. Look closely at this part of the Caledonian Canal. Conceived in 1773 to avoid sailing via the Pentland Firth (if you are taking the ferry to Orkney, you may experience the Pentland Firth or ask me when you see me). Thomas Telford designed the canal to help bring employment into the Highlands. Manual Labour made this great canal. If you get the chance to visit the Visitor Centre at Fort Augustus, it is well worth it.
Make sure you disembark to take in the stirring sights and stories of Urquhart Castle. Once one of the largest Castles in Scotland. The Castle was blown up in 1692 to prevent the Jacobites from using it. The ruins have an excellent visitor centre and a great lookout platform. The Castle makes a brilliant place to spot Nessie on the Loch!
Southern Point of Loch Ness
At the scenic southern end of the Loch stands the picturesque village of Fort Augustus. The town commemorates the son of George II, William Augustus. He is still known today as ‘the Butcher’ due to his brutal repression of the Highlanders after the Battle of Culloden in 1746.
Again if you are at the southern end of the Loch, you might notice Cherry Island – an artificial Island. During the 15th century, a castle stood on the island. Constructed of stone and oak wood, it was probably a fortified refuge. Watch other Lochs as you travel around Scotland – you may notice other Crannogs. They are pretty distinctive.
Today many visitors take a day cruise on Loch Ness from Inverness. Many of the best itineraries can involve a drive along Loch Ness to Fort Augustus on the way to Skye to see more of the Loch. You can, of course, spend the day driving all around the Loch, a distance of some 67 miles exploring different views.