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Things To Do In Loch Ness
Loch Ness is a large freshwater lake situated in a beautiful and scenic part of the Scottish Highlands, southwest of the town of Inverness. It extends for 37 km and is more than 750 feet deep, making it the second-largest and second-deepest lake in Scotland. Loch Ness’s primary claim to fame is the Loch Ness monster; a mythical creature that many believe lives within the deep dark depths of the lake. Affectionately known as Nessie, the chance to catch a glimpse of this legendary monster attracts crowds of tourists every year to the Loch Ness region.
The Loch Ness monster was apparently first seen around the 16th-century, but it didn’t gain worldwide recognition until 1934 when a doctor from London claimed to have photographed the mysterious being. While it was eventually proved to be a hoax, fans of the monster still believe in its existence and conspiracy theorists from around the world are always on the lookout for its appearance. Loch Ness and its entire surroundings are a wonderful place to explore, even if you don’t manage to encounter the famous monster itself. Read on to know more about the different top things to do in Loch Ness.
Learn About Nessie at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is the place to visit for learning all details about Scotland’s favourite mythical creature. Visitors can learn all the latest developments that have been made in the search for the Loch Ness monster’s existence through the audio-visual displays, newspaper headlines and underwater photos exhibited here. The evolutionary history of the region can be tracked with the help of all displays showcased here; the most interesting display focuses on Operation Deepscan from 1987 that includes sonar readings from the depth of the Loch Ness. Visitors to the centre can go on a trip on the Deepscan vessel itself and enjoy the magnificent scenery that surrounds the lake.
Visit Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle, which mostly lies in ruins today, is located just a few minutes away from the popular village Drumnadrochit along the northern shore of Loch Ness. The castle was once just a motte and bailey fortification in the early 13th-century that was replaced with stone walls in the 14th-century. The views of the lake and the mountains around the castle are stunningly breathtaking and the building has featured in several movies and TV shows.
Around 17th-century, the castle was mostly destroyed in a fire and abandoned after having served several roles throughout Scottish history. After opening up to visitors, Urquhart Castle has been one of the most frequented castles in Scotland by tourists. There’s also a café here for refreshments and a gift shop for souvenirs.
Spend a Day at Nessieland
Nessieland is a miniature theme park aimed mainly for the kids, but one that can be equally fun and entertaining for adults as well. A number of fun activities that revolve around the mythical creature can be enjoyed at Nessieland. The theme park has attractions that take on a scientific approach to allow visitors to weigh the evidence about the existence of the Loch Ness monster themselves. There are exhibits here that are original equipment like the sonar survey vessels, miniature submarines and cameras etc. along with apparently original photographs and footage of sightings. Visitors can also buy all kinds of Nessie souvenirs here.
Water Sports in the Caledonian Canal
The 96-km long Caledonian Canal stretches between Fort William and Inverness and was completed in the year 1849. The majority of the canal is made up of Loch Ness, apart from several other lakes like Loch Oich, Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe, with around one-third of it being man-made. While the canal has been used for commercial transportation in the early days, it is now almost exclusively used for leisure activities by tourists. A wide variety of water sports like canoeing, river kayaking, white water rafting etc. are offered for visitors on the canal. Boats can also be rented to enjoy a simply ride across the waterbody, with paddling courses available for those who are inexperienced with the activity.
Go on a Cruise on Loch Ness
A number of cruise companies operate around Loch Ness and offer boat tours that will allow you to truly enjoy the breath-taking beauty of the lake and the surrounding scenery and wildlife. It is only after getting onto the lake itself does one realize the true expanse and depth of the Loch Ness. Cruises leave from various points around the lake like Inverness, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus etc. Cruise Loch Ness is one of the highest-rated companies in the region that offer daily cruises, Loch Ness monster hunting trips, and evening cruises to enjoy the spectacular sunsets. Tour guides on the cruise regale visitors on board with stories and facts about the Loch and the mythical creature that calls it home.
Cover the Loch Ness 360⁰ Trail
If you are more into exploring the country’s most famous lake in an adventurous manner, try the Loch Ness 360⁰ trail. It is a circular route that covers the circumference of the Loch Ness; starting from the Highland capital of Inverness, the trail passes through Dores, Aldourie, Foyers, Fort Augustus, Drumnadrochit and several other beautiful regions around the lake. Extending to around 130 km, the trail can be covered through cycling, walking, running or any other way that might catch your fancy. Travellers can choose to start and stop wherever they want and go about exploring the glorious route at their own leisure.