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Loch Ness History

Whilst it’s an enormous expanse of water, Loch Ness has obviously gained its fame and reputation from another angle – it’s reputed to be the home of the Loch Ness monster!

Loch is the gaelic name for lake, and Ness comes from the gaelic ‘Nis’. Geographically it forms part of the linear waterway that connects the west coast of Scotland to the east coast through a series of lochs and canals. 

Whilst it holds the greatest volume of water of any Scottish lake, it’s not the biggest or deepect. Loch Lomond has a larger area and Loch Morar is deeper. But when you combine the two, it leaves the others behind. The soil in the surrounding area has a high peat content and as this permeates into the loch to give it the dark, murky look that we see.

The loch is 25 miles long, 1.5 miles wide and reaches a depth of 755ft (230m).

There are a number of places of interest around the shoreline, with the Exhibition Centre located in Drumnadrochit and Urquhart Castle nearby, and lighthouses at Lochend and Fort Augustus.

The only island in the loch is ‘Cherry Island’, an island constructed by people in the Iron Age.

Inhabited areas around the shore are at Abriachan, Dores, Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus, Foyers, Invermoriston, Lochend, Urquhart Castle and Whitebridge.

Legend has it that a vast monster inhabits the loch which was something first reported by St Columba in 680AD. There then became an increase in interest in 1933. It was first reported by water bailiff Alex Campbell in May of that year, and then three months later by a London tourist. News hit the press and the reaction was a frenzy of activity with everybody desperate to see an image of this local phenomenon.

Over the years, with much research and patient lakeside waiting, only a few images have emerged. These have either been of grainy quality or an inconclusive image and have done nothing to confirm the existence of any water dwelling monster.

From reported sightings, descriptions have varied slightly, but have generally been based around a plesiosaur of pre-historic ancestry, and reckoned to live mostly in the caverns in the depths of the murky loch. Of all the photographs taken, many could have been of driftwood or car tyres floating on the surface, but in 1934, an extremely believable shot was taken by Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson, and is known as the Surgeon’s Photograph. It has subsequently been exposed as a hoax.

 

Loch Ness Visit

Loch Ness is a wonderfully scenic lake and very easy to get to. The main A82 road that runs directly from Fort William to Inverness runs near the lake shore on the west side.

The lake is 23 miles long, with Fort William and Ben Nevis being about 30 miles away on the south side, Inverness about 8 miles away on the north side and John O’Groats, on the north tip of Scotland, being about 130 miles away.

At the south end is the village of Fort Augustus. Here, you find a series of water navigation locks with a small visitor centre next to them.

At the north end is the aptly named ‘Lochend’, but this is more a place name than a place of habitation.

Loch Ness reaches its end at Lochend, where it becomes Loch Dochfour. The waterway then continues as the River Ness up to Inverness where it discharges into the Moray Firth, then the North Sea.

Running south, a canal runs parallel to the River Oich and into Loch Oich. Another canal runs to Ceann Loch, then into Loch Lochy with a further canal running alongside the River Lochy, discharging into the sea near Fort William. The whole waterway from Inverness to Fort William is the 62 mile ‘Caledonian Canal’.

Main habitation around the loch is fairly sparse. A quarter of the way up on the west side is Invermoriston, but by far the biggest place lakeside is about halfway up on the west side and is Drumnadrochit. Here there are hotels, boat trips, Loch Ness exhibitions, a caravan park and a number of other tourist attractions. Urquhart Castle is about a mile away.

To see the lake, boat trips are the perfect way and the needs are well catered for. Loch Ness provides a great area to stay to explore, or a great day out if just travelling through.