There are almost too many things to do in Scotland. From islands to castles, sometimes it just comes down to personal taste. However, if you do manage to make your way all the way up to the fabled Loch Ness, there is one activity you absolutely must do.
Since 1968, Cruise Loch Ness has been delivering boat tours of the UK’s largest lock (Scottish for lake), well known for the elusive Nessie monster. With two types of slow cruises and four high-speed RIB (rigid inflatable boat) tours leaving throughout the day in the spring and summer, there are plenty of choices depending on your preferences for exploring. The slow cruises are both £14, while the RIB tours range from £15 to £50, and are available roughly between May and September.
My first visit to Loch Ness was with the Haggis Adventures’ Hebridean Hopper Tour. Between an amazing haggis dinner and the pub quiz at Morag’s Lodge, my friend and I had a chance to take the hour-long evening cruise around the southern end of the loch. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the sunset was stunning. It was a bit chilly, so make sure you bring a coat and hat.
Halfway through the cruise, we were invited downstairs to the seating area and bar where TJ gave us information about the loch. This included how Loch Ness is larger than all other bodies in the UK combined, how the population of the world would fit into the loch twice, and all the investigations into the evanescent Loch Ness monster. But I’m not going to spoil the tour.
One of the key topics of the briefing was the Loch Ness monster. There are current theories to justify the sightings, but Scottish folklore goes back to a Kelpie sighting. What’s a Kelpie? The horse statues I mentioned last month were Kelpies too. But I didn’t tell you what they were in that blog post either. You’re just going to have to visit Scotland yourself to find out. Come on, don’t cheat with Google. The real thing is so much better!
A week later, I went back to Loch Ness with another traveler who had once lived on a boat for seven years, and loved to be on the water. We got the high-speed RIB tour all the way up to Urquhart castle. Our guide had a little fun with us. Instead of just going up the loch, he twisted and turned, speeding up to 40 MPH. He also gave us plenty of other facts and figures on the way up, including where different movies were filmed, the history of the loch and some local lore. The tour lasted two full hours, and our hearts were racing by the time we finally returned to Fort Augustus. This one is much colder, but you get a jumpsuit to wear. Just don’t wear a hat on this one, as it won’t last. Let the hair go wild!
Both times, the cruises were the best part of my visit to Loch Ness. If you’re headed there yourself, make sure Cruise Loch Ness is on your itinerary.