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Exploring Loch Ness in search of the fabled monster
When I’m on vacation I keep my itinerary brief. I want to spend my time doing the things I like most; seeing the sights; sampling the local cuisine; indulging in a spot of shopping and, of course, searching for monsters.
I’ve thought about taking a submarine down to the depths of the ocean to swim with the giant ‘Kraken’ squid. I’ve considered hiking in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to track down Bigfoot. I’ve even entertained the idea of climbing the Himalayas on the off chance I might bump into a Yeti, but the most inspiring monster hunt experience I’ve come across so far is conveniently a bit closer to home, in bonny, bonny Scotland.
The Scottish Highlands are widely considered to be one of the most breathtaking places of natural beauty in the world. The lush green vibrancy of the Highlands’ imposing rolling hills contrasts with the dazzling blue of its never-ending skies. In some areas, the hills reach for the sky to such majestic heights they’re not hills at all, but mountains. The only thing as striking as the height of Scotland’s vast mountain ranges is the mysterious depth of its lakes.
One such lake is Loch Ness, the largest loch in Scotland, containing more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. A Mecca for adventurous travelers, Loch Ness attracts outdoor sports lovers all year round with its offer of mountain biking, hiking, wind surfing, paragliding and skiing on the Nevis Range. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Scottish break without Golf, so pack your clubs for a day on one of the Highlands’ many impressive ranges. For the less outdoorsy, Loch Ness and the surrounding area of Inverness boasts a vibrant community of artists and a variety of galleries, studios and craft workshops to visit as well as independent and boutique shopping galore.
Well accustomed to visitors, Loch Ness and its surrounding villages, such as Fort Augustus, Cannich, Foyers and Drumnadrochit, offer many quality and luxurious places to stay. For the authentic and cozy experience I would suggest holing-up in a traditional highland cottage somewhere off the beaten track. After a fun-filled day of sailing, sports and sightseeing you can warm yourself in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine or locally distilled Whisky and listen to the howling highland winds from the comfort of your own cozy cottage fortress. Perfect.
Alternatively, be wined and dined in Loch Ness’s many first-class restaurants and bars. The landscape is peppered with superb eateries and homely pubs cooking traditional food in the traditional way so you’ll never be too far from your next Scotch pie or pint of ale.
All of this is wonderful, of course, but something is still missing. A trip is just not a trip without an encounter with a monster, so without further ado please allow me to introduce ‘Nessie’, The Loch Ness Monster. Since the early 1930s, there have been sightings reported of a large dinosaur-like lake monster in the water of Loch Ness. Commonly described as something akin to a plesiosaur, the ever-allusive ‘Nessie’ is yet to agree to pose for a authentic photograph, so all evidence of her existence remains speculative.
Don’t let Nessie’s camera-shyness put you off though, sightings are reported almost every year and some believers even spend their lives on the Loch just hoping for a glimpse of one of the world’s most famous monsters.
A trip to Loch Ness is the perfect getaway for the curious and adventurous traveler; whether you believe in the existence of Nessie or not, keep your camera at the ready!
More information and to book: Our ten day escorted tour of Scotland, takes in spectacular landscapes, historic castles and the beautiful islands of Skye and the Orkneys.
Article written by Toni Marie Ford.