CONTRIBUTED BY EMMA R.
Along with extraterrestrials, the legend of ‘Nessie’ seems to be one of the biggest mysteries in the world. I’m not sure whether so many people would travel to the Scottish Highlands if it weren’t for the idea of checking out the area where such a story has come from. Monster or not, Loch Ness’ beauty is something worth checking out.
As well as driving by Loch Ness and stopping in Drumnadrochit, it is possible to take a sightseeing cruise sailing around the Loch. As a world-famous landmark, we were drawn in by the idea of cruising above what may lurk beneath.
We opted for the ‘Reflection – The Queen’s cruise’ through Jacobite Cruises. There were at least two cruise companies in the area, but we chose to go with the one that left from Inverness. The Tomnahurich Bridge was walking distance from the B&B we were staying at, but it was also on the Inverness hop on-hop off bus route. Jacobite Cruises also offers shorter one-hour cruises from their base at Clansman Harbour – about four miles from Drumnadrochit.
The cruise was a little over three hours in duration and began by quietly sailing through the Caledonian Canal. There was a brief stop to pick up more passengers where we were able to experience a change in current height at the Victorian Lock Gate. It was breathtaking when the river opened up to the famous Loch Ness. The views of the surrounding Highlands were spectacular and uninterrupted with virtually no other boat traffic on the Loch.
While on board there was commentary about both the Loch and the passing scenery. The commentary could be heard both inside and outside of the cabin area, with free and spacious unassigned seating available. There was a bar and a snack menu for those who may get a little bit peckish while on board.
For those who are really interested in the legend itself, there was a board of news articles inside of the cabin. There was also sonar radar on a television screen displaying the depth of the water below. At some points the water is deep enough to hold Big Ben in London twice over. Watch out for any blips that may indicate a large monster mass below!
Perhaps most interesting was the commentary on the history of the Loch, which while covered in travel guides, takes on more meaning when viewing the beautiful surrounds in person. The boat takes a loop around the Urquhart Castle, providing views that can’t be seen when doing a tour of the ruins on land.
We visited in July on a warm summer’s day. The outside decks were a little chilly with the cool breeze – be prepared and bring appropriate clothing for all members of the family if you want to spend some time on the deck.
Tips for your trip:
- Jacobite Cruises website
- Worth noting – there’s free WIFI on board
- Other things to do in the United Kingdom and Ireland
Inverness, Highland IV3 5TD
+44 1463 233999
Reflection (3 hour cruise) departs 0950 and 1350 from Tomnahurich Bridge during peak season and 1350 only during the off-season
Inspiration (1 hour cruise) departs 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1600 from Clansman Harbour
Reflection (3 hour cruise) – Adult £23 (~$35 USD), Child £15(~$24)
Inspiration (1 hour cruise) Adult £14 (~$22), Child £11.50(~$18)