More Than A Monster
This week the Doodle on front page of Google, one of the most viewed sites in the world featured an animation of the Loch Ness Monster. This celebration of one of the most endearing of Scotland’s myths is the perfect time to have a look at the area and what it has to offer the curious tourist.
As far as visitor attractions go then Nessie is a bit of an enigma, a tourist attraction that nobody actually sees. Tens of thousands of people visit annually, but despite sightings being rare, few leave disappointed. It’s the myth or the story that draws people to this part of Scotland but it’s the amazing landscape and history that means they can enjoy their time here and plan a return. Sceptics are quick to dismiss the industry that has developed around the Loch but the myth of the monster is a genuine pop-culture phenomenon, a throwback to the era of legend and a contrast to the scientific and easily explainable modern era.
Point Clair House has one of the finest locations in the highlands, on a promontory on the edge of the loch. It has uninterrupted views north and south and paths from the grounds lead to a harbour which was the location of the well documented 1973 Nessie sighting. From here you can launch a boat to explore the loch further or just go for a swim if you are feeling hardy.
Glen View Lodge is located just outside the village of Drumnadrochit which is home to the Loch Ness Centre and exhibition and the Loch Ness shop where you can pick up no end of Nessie souvenirs. It is also conveniently close to Urquhart castle, one of the finest visitor attractions in the area which offers fantastic views of the loch and has been developed to be very child friendly.
Bearnock Lodge is a 5 star mansion just a ten minute drive from Loch Ness. It is a perfect location to take in some of the other attractions the area has to offer such as the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve. This is also a great place to go cycling, whether on your own, exploring some of the quiet roads that go up remote glens or as part of a large organised event like the Etape Loch Ness which attracts over 2,500 riders every year who ride all the way round the loch on closed roads.
House by the Loch is just 5 minutes from Loch Ness and is perfect choice for a family activity holiday or a short break for a stag or hen party. Quad bikes can be hired, there is a rowing boat for fishing on the loch and there is a 4x4 off roading track nearby. It is only a short hop to some of the best golf courses in the north and winter sports are only a 50 minute drive away.
Wherever you stay near Loch Ness you cannot help feel captivated by the scenery, the Great Glen Way, one of the finest long distance walks in the country follows the north shore and offers panoramic views of the entire loch. If you would like to get a bit closer then you could try the freshwater alternative of the Great Glen Canoe Trail that begins in fort William and ends in Inverness.
This is a truly epic adventure that undoubtedly gets you as close as possible to the myth and lets you soak up this unique and magical place. For those who don’t fancy getting wet then Google have mapped a section of the loch with underwater cameras so you can experience some of the unique atmosphere and go on your very own monster hunt without ever leaving home. It’s a fun diversion but no substitute for the real thing.
So then, a harmless legend, a fabrication to entice visitors or the ghost of a dinosaur. It only matters if you take life too seriously. What is important is that visitors have fun, come visit and see for yourself; there is so much more to Loch Ness than just the monster.