In this first of our Highlands blogs join Historic & Scenic Tours as we walk you through one of our Loch Ness tours from Inverness and discover what makes Loch Ness such an important and special landmark for both visitors and locals alike. We’ll be diving into the history, mystery, sights and sounds of Scotland’s most famous natural site – so strap in and find out more about what you can expect from one of our Loch Ness Tours from Inverness!
Has there ever been a place that has evoked as much debate, mystery and wonder as Loch Ness? For many years Loch Ness, situated just south of the Highland capital Inverness, has been the object of fascination for visitors from all over the world. Loch Ness ranks among the Pyramids of Giza, The Great Wall of China and The Eiffel Tower as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the world – no wonder that thousands of eager visitors flock to its shores every year.
At Historic & Scenic Tours we love nothing more than showing visitors around our beautiful Highland home. Tourists are often stunned when they journey out of Inverness and see the beautiful Great Glen open out in front of them, with Loch Ness’s pure water reflecting the peaks of the surrounding mountains. On our Loch Ness tours from Inverness we make adventures happen, and how better to experience the wild Highlands but in the comfort of your own private tour?
Loch Ness is famous for the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, (affectionately nicknamed “Nessie” by some,) a huge creature that is said to live in the Loch. Loch Ness gained widespread notoriety in the 1930s when the “Surgeon’s Photograph” was published in the Daily Mail, taken by a visitor to the area and touted as proof of Nessie’s existence. Since then the debate has raged on within popular culture as to whether Nessie really exists – and this mystery is part of what keeps people coming to Loch Ness.
Whether you believe in Nessie or not, one thing is for certain – at 22-miles long and 754 feet deep, Loch Ness is Britain’s largest body of fresh water. In fact, it contains more water than all English and Welsh lakes together. It can be daunting for the uninitiated to plan a visit to the loch, which is why we recommend our Loch Ness tours from Inverness. Rather than navigate the winding, narrow roads and queued-out attractions yourself, why not travel in the company of one of our friendly, local guides?
Attractions On Our Loch Ness Tour From Inverness
Travelling south out of Inverness we follow the path of the River Ness until the Great Glen opens out before us. Visitors are often amazed when they first see the river widen and spot the numerous boats that travel the Ness waterways – but looks can be deceiving. The first loch you’ll see on the trip isn’t Loch Ness, but the smaller Loch Dochfour, one of the four lochs that make up the Caledonian Canal. Loch Dochfour is largely man-made and makes it possible for canal traffic to safely travel between the river Ness and Loch Ness.
As we come to Loch Ness proper, you’ll see just how far into the distance the water stretches. From the northern shores, you can’t see the far end of the Loch – just the forbidding mountains that make up the steep valley walls. Part of the reason Loch Ness is so deep is that the glen in which it lies was created by a geological event millennia ago – the Great Glen Fault stretches all the way through Scotland, Ireland, the North Atlantic and even as far as Canada.
As we follow the road that hugs the loch-side we come to the first of the major attractions on our Loch Ness Tour from Inverness – the town of Drumnadrochit (drum-nah-drock-it) and Urquhart Castle (er-cart).
Drumnadrochit and Urquhart Castle
Drumnadrochit is a village on the western shore of Loch Ness that is popular with visitors thanks to a number of nearby attractions, places to stay and dining options. A number of local businesses, such as a microbrewery and large bakery, also put Drumnadrochit on the map. It’s well worth taking in the sights of Drumnadrochit before moving on to one of the most famous sights of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle.
Urquhart Castle offers the ultimate in brooding scenery and fascinating history. This ruined castle sits on a rocky outcrop above the waters of Loch Ness, and paints a familiar silhouette on the landscape. At the Urquhart Castle Visitor Centre, you can learn much more about the castle’s violent history, dating all the way back to the time of the Picts.
Visitors can walk through the castle ruins among the shattered masonry and learn why this historic building was destroyed hundreds of years ago. See what life would have been like for those who lived within its walls, and look out on a view that would have been familiar to many throughout history.
Attractions In and Around Inverness
The best thing about booking a Loch Ness tour from Inverness is that you get a knowledgeable local guide to show you around the hidden and mysterious sites that are overlooked by many. On our private tours, you can choose how you want to see the Highlands – any and all requests can be catered for.
On our tours we can also take you to see the historic and scenic attractions in and around Inverness, including the beautiful Beauly Priory, situated just North of Loch Ness near the town of Beauly. Named by the French monks who once called this enclave home, Beauly means “beautiful place” – and it’s easy to see why when you visit. The Priory’s history dates back to 1230 and is an essential stop for any would-be historian.
Glen Ord Distillery
What Highland tour would be complete without visiting the home of Scotland’s most famous export – Scotch Whisky? Glen Ord Distillery gives a fascinating insight into the production of the “water of life,” from malting to distillation and finally – the tasting. Find out why Glen Ord’s Singleton whisky is famous all over the world and exported as far as the States, the Middle East and East Asia.
Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns
No tour of the Highlands could miss our Culloden Battlefield, the famous site of the last ever battle to be fought on British soil. Visiting the battlefield is an excellent opportunity to learn the history of the Highlands, the Jacobites and the old way of life for the people of Scotland.
Not far from Culloden Battlefield is the ancient Clava Cairns, a burial site that dates back over 4000 years. There is certainly a mysterious energy in the air here, which attracts many visitors eager to learn more.
Visitors to the Inverness area should definitely check out Cawdor Castle, situated just a short distance from Culloden and included on our Loch Ness tour from Inverness. Famous for its connection to the Shakspere play Macbeth, the castle has it’s own deep history dating back to 1180, the beautiful castle, gardens and grounds are a must-see.
St Andrews Cathedral and The Ness Islands
Back in Inverness, there’s still plenty to see, including the gorgeous St Andrew’s Cathedral and the nearby Ness Islands. Inverness is unique for its stunning historical buildings mixed with wild nature. The River Ness runs right through Inverness, it’s water reflecting the beautiful towers of the Cathedral. Why not round off your tour with a picnic in the tranquil Ness Islands?
We hope that our run-down of our Loch Ness tours from Inverness has intrigued and inspired you to visit some of these gorgeous and historic locations on your next Highland adventure. If you’re ready to discover more about the Highlands, why not visit our Loch Ness tours from Inverness page and book your own private tour today?