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Loch Ness Travel Route
Inverness to Fort William
Inverness to Fort William: Loch Ness
Driving and Detours:
Inverness to Fort William approximate distance: 63 miles or 100 km.
From Inverness you have a choice:
The quiet B852 along the south side. If you want to stop off on the loch side this this the road to take. The traffic is less, and you get a better sense of the natural qualities of the loch; its wooded shores and ever changing surface. There are no tourism facilities along this way. This is the route for the contemplative.
The busy A82 through Drumnadrochit. This is the tourist route. You can stop, but only at special designated places all of which are high above the loch - good for wide panoramic photographs, and who knows, a distant view of the Loch Ness monster a.k.a. Nessie, but not so good if you're hoping for a close encounter.
However, this is the road to take for the "official" and "original" Loch Ness Monster exhibitions and Nessie information centres based at Drumnadrochit. You can buy souvenirs and learn about the history of sightings of this famous creature. The best thing is to plan to include both of the above routes in your itinerary if you can.
Even better still is to plan an extra day's tour into Glen Affric from Drumnadrochit as well. Glen Affric is a Nature Reserve of forests of ancient Caledonian pines, one of the most beautiful in Scotland.
Why hasn't Nessie been found by a scientific survey? Well, the main answer to this is that the Loch itself is a uniquely impenetrable subject. Not only is it extreemly deep (231 metres), but countless small burns flow into it bringing tiny particles of peat which lie in suspension making an underwater visibility of only about 4 inches.
Urquhart Castle (pronounced urkut) (built in the early 1200's, abandoned at the end of the 1600's) is on a promontory about a mile south of Drumnadrochit. It has a car park with limited parking and in summer is often full unless you arrive in the early morning (9.00am). If it is full you have to park in Drumnadrochit and walk to it.
See this further page about Urquhart Castle
Loch Ness seems to have an unusual brooding quality about it. The surface is always changing; ripples and eddies are formed by the slightest air movements. For 900 years people have looked from this castle window, or ventured through its Water Gate to the loch shore (right and below right). Some have seen something stirring in the waters...
At the south end of the loch at the village of Fort Augustus is a former Benedictine Abbey, part of which has been made into a heritage centre, well worth a visit for its exhibitions of the area's local history and peoples. (Accommodation B and B and also "Backpackers Lodge" also available at the Abbey: Tel: 01320 3662330) And there's the "Clansmen Centre" (open Easter to October).
Fort Augustus across the south end of Loch Ness
From here on, the road follows the Caledonian Canal, through Glen Mor and along Loch Lochy. Beautiful scenery all the way to Fort William. Fort William is the centre for hikers who want to tackle Britains highest mountain Ben Nevis (4406 ft). There are many walks in the area: a special recomendation; visit An Steall Ban waterfall just south of Ben Nevis - perhaps the finest waterfall in Scotland?
Detours to Glen Afric, near Cannich, north west of Loch Ness, and the south side of Loch ness, as mentioned above.
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