After a couple of nights camping at Glencoe we headed through Fort William and on to Fort Augustus at the foot of Loch Ness. I have fond memories of Fort Augustus from many, many, years ago, sitting at the locks of the Caledonian canal sharing a bag of chips with my, then, girlfriend. It was lovely to return almost a decade and a half later, and once again share a bag of chips as we watched the boats navigate the locks, only this time with both my wife and 4 year old daughter.
Our bag of chips was quickly scoffed and we headed for the pier and an afternoon cruise. I love letting my daughter help pick things to do, so we read out the Nessie-hunting options and she picks out the adrenalin inducing high speed rib. Typical. This turned out to be great fun though, jumping over bow-waves and doing sharp figures of eight kept big grins on all our faces, until my daughter fell asleep half way through.
Once back on firm ground we hit the road for a lovely drive along the eastern bank of Loch Ness to the town of Foyers. While we didn’t get chance to explore the apparently lovely Falls of Foyers, we did stay at Loch Ness Shores. This is a lovely, well kept, Camping & Caravan Club campsite. We tried our luck for a wooden wigwam but they were all booked, maybe next time we’ll book ahead and spend more time exploring Foyers.
The following day was spent at Urquhart Castle, to which entry is free for Historic Scotland members. If you ever visit Urquhart Castle there are two things you mustn’t miss. First is the short film at the very start, if only for the reveal at the end, as it makes for a wonderful introduction to the castle. Don’t leave the shop at the start until you have done this. After a few hours wandering around the castle, exploring every nook and cranny, we came across the second thing you shouldn’t miss, and that’s the demonstration of the soldiers armour and weaponry. This was presented really well and was interesting to hear about the different types of arrow heads and techniques used during Scotland’s bloody past.
The final stop of our trip was to find out more about Nessie, so we stopped off at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition at Drumnadrochit. I’m sure we all know the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, and let’s be honest, some people believe in it, but most probably don’t. The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition gives an interesting history of the sightings and research on the loch. But this is where the exhibition fails. It ultimately debunks all the sightings with science and doesn’t tickle the tiny bit of you that wants to believe in the huge, harmless, prehistoric reptile. While I’m glad we’ve been, it’s not somewhere I’d return, or recommend. Next door to this is Nessieland, but we decided to save that for our next visit to Loch Ness.