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Visiting Loch Ness

Did you know?
In terms of volume Loch Ness is the biggest of the Scottish Lochs and contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.

Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, Drumnadrochit
Established in 1980 and described as "a fascinating experience", this is the best way to learn about the history of Loch Ness, the mystery of Loch Ness and everything else about it that you can't see by looking at it. There are seven multi lingual themed areas to take you from the beginning to the archives and includes Legends, Hoaxes, Illusions and Eye Witnesses, Secrets, Operation Deepscan and the Loch Ness time capsule, plus real expedition equipment. An interesting hour for all ages. The exhibition has been awarded five stars by the Scottish Tourist Board.

It is possible to drive right round the Loch but the best way to see it is definitely by boat:

Jacobite Cruises
The only company to offer cruises all year round except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. Operating cruise tours from Clansman Harbour, approximately 14 miles (about 15 minutes by car) from Glenmoriston Arms and coach/cruise tours from Inverness city centre. Tours vary in length and options. It is advisable to book.

Cruise Loch Ness
Based in Fort Augustus, 7 miles south of the hotel (approximately 10 minutes by car) at the harbour where the Caledonian Canal enters the Loch. From April to October cruises on the Royal Scot operate seven days a week on the hour every hour between 10.00 and 16.00 There is also a tour at 20.00 every evening except Friday running from 1st April till 31st August. Cruise Loch Ness also operate Rib Tours if you fancy something a bit more exhilarating!

Did you know?
The waters of Loch Ness never freeze over

Urquhart Castle
One of the most picturesque landmarks in Scotland, and an iconic sight despite its ruinous state.

Once one of Scotland's largest castles, Urquhart's remains, perched on the banks of Loch Ness beside the village of Drumnadrochit, include a tower house that commands splendid views of the Loch and Great Glen and is one of the most popular places for reported sightings of the Monster

Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and its history from the 13th to 17th centuries was particularly bloody. Following Edward I's invasion, it fell into English hands and was then reclaimed and lost again. In the 14th century, it figured prominently an Scotland's struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots. The visitors centre is open seven days a week from April to September.

Did you know?
The colour of the Loch Water is due to peat particles

Highland Riding Centre, Borlum Farm, Drumnadrochit
Fancy a bit of horse riding? What could be a more beautiful location? The centre caters for all the family and all levels of experience.

Did you know?
Loch Ness is 23 miles long and 1 mile wide

The Caledonian Canal
The Caledonian Canal runs for 60 miles along the Great Glen from Corpach near Fort William in the South West to Inverness in the North East.
The canal was started in 1803 with plans produced by Thomas Telford following survey work by James Watt thirty years earlier. It was the biggest of the building schemes undertaken by the Government, to provide work and stem the flood of emigration from the Highlands. The huge scale of the work and the shortage of skilled engineers meant that the seven year schedule and £350,000 budget always looked optimistic. It was: by the time the Canal finally opened in 1822 it had taken 17 years and cost £840,000
Unsurprisingly, the Canal did not initially prove successful. A second phase of construction was undertaken between 1844 and 1847. What emerged from this was, finally, the canal originally proposed by Telford.
Once finished, the Caledonian Canal provided the long hoped for route between Eastern and Western Scotland. This allowed mariners to avoid the long and often hazardous route round the West of Scotland and through the Pentland Firth. The irony was that by the time the canal was finally complete, steam ships could make the passage around Scotland much more easily than the sailing ships in whose era it was designed. Nonetheless, until the railway reached Inverness the quickest way from Inverness to Glasgow was by steamer via the Caledonian and Crinan Canals, probably calling at Oban en route.
Of its 60 mile length, 38 miles are along Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness, with the remaining 22 miles being through Canals proper.
One of the prettiest ways to see the Canal at work is at Fort Augustus with its dramatic series of five locks.
The pubs and cafes situated along the banks have seating where you can relax for an hour or so watching the boats go through (it's actually more interesting than it sounds!)

Did you know?
The water underneath the top 100 metres of Loch Ness never alters from 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

a stones throw from Loch Ness...a world away from your daily cares