Activities & Attractions around Loch Ness
There are many activities and attractions around Loch Ness for the whole family to enjoy.
Please check out the listings below:
The Loch Ness area has something for everyone.
If you want to take it easy there are many sites of historical importance to explore, as well as art gallerys, craft shops, visitor centres, garden walks, and heritige trails.
Check out the 'What's On' section on this website for an up to date list of events for all interests and ages from all around the Loch Ness area.
Adventure and Outdoor Pursuits
For the more active visitor there are a wide range of activities available round Loch Ness ranging from canoeing & sailing, to pony trecking on the hills overlooking the loch. The most popular activities are walking and cycling, both of which are well catered for. Up and coming activities include wind surfing and paragliding. Check our partner sites around the loch for more details and contacts.
The Loch Ness area is also becoming one of the top locations for Adventure sports and regularly hosts and debuts major events such as the Snowman Rally, the Loch Ness Adventure Tri Series, Glen Affric Duathalon, Walking Festivals and of course the annual Loch Ness Marathon!
Clans, Heritage & Family History
You can get a feel for the lives your ancestors lived by visiting where they came from. Areas where for centuries families lived together in tightly-knit communities. It is a moving experience to tour the clan and family heartlands, where you will be walking in the footsteps of those who have gone before.
Local Parish Churches & chruch-yards can unlock many secrets for ancestral researchers as this was where children were baptised, proclamations of marriage announced and the dead buried. It was also a centre of social activity within the Parish. Urquhart (Glenurquhart and Glenmoriston), Dores, Strath, Bokeskine and Abertarff (Bokeskine)are some of the parishes in the Loch Ness area.
Some of the Clan names associated with the Loch Ness area include: Grant, Fraser, Chisolm, Urquhart, Maclean, MacBean, MacIntosh, Macmillian, MacDonald & MacTavish. There is also a Loch Ness tartan.
Visit The Secret Side Of Loch Ness - a joint school project brought to life.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Highland Council Archive which "holds and preserves the official records of 13 Burghs within the Highlands." The library includes a Genealogy Centre.
As well as 'Nessie', Loch Ness is also home to Salmon, Trout, Ferox Trout, Pike, Artic Char, Eel and other fish. There are also a multitude of rivers and smaller lochs in the area which can offer a good day's fishing.
If you intend to fish in the Loch Ness area you should always seek local guidance & assistance. There are specialist fishing guides who can provide you with all you need for a days fishing - or take you with your own equiment 'to that secret spot' for a good days sport.
Flora & Fauna: The widlife around Loch Ness
Think Scotland and wildlife and you immediately conjure up images of majestic stags, soaring Golden Eagles and that king of fish, the salmon. That's just the tip of the antler though as Scotland's biodiversity goes. For, in fact, Scotland is home to no less than 90,000 species, 30 of which you won't find anywhere else,
So what have wildlife enthusiasts got to look forward to, apart from the stunning setting? It's not uncommon to see Red squirrels, otters, badgers, pine martins, foxes, red deer, roe deer & sika deer. In the air there are buzzards, kites & owls along with a plethora of other birds. Nearby in Inverness and the Highland capital's Kessock Bridge is a well-known vantage point for dolphin spotting.
There is a stunning array of vegetation and fungi, including the famous caledonian pines and heather moors that support incects such as butterflies.
If you want to spy the rarest specimen of them all, then there's only one destination - Loch Ness. Don't forget your camera!
Click HERE for more information about watching wildlife.
Food & Drink
The Highlands of Scotland offer some of the best local produce in the world. This bounty is used to their best advantage by restaurants, hotels, B&Bs and pubs around the Loch Ness Area. Sample award winning Haggis, venison, locally produced beef, lamb, poultry and even wild boar. Excellent fish and sea food is also available. Vegetarians are also well catered for, and everyone can enjoy some fantastic home baking and desserts.
Sample some excellent real cask ales and savour the most famous of scottish refreshments: Whisky! With hundreds of Single malts and blends to choose from.
Look out for food and drink festivals in the 'What's On' section of this website and click on the area sites for information on local restaurants, pubs and hotels.
Glen Affric National Nature Reserve & Strathglass
To the west of Loch Ness three glens pierce deep into the mountains and wooded riverscapes that make up Strathglass. This "strath" (Gaelic: broad valley) offers a choice of magnificent hill scenery in the glens which branch off it: Glen Strathfarrar, Glen Afric and Glen Cannich.
Strathfarrar, accessed via Struy Bridge on the A831. The road continues to follow the course of the river to the peaceful little village of Cannich. From here, visitors have a choice of glens to explore, including Cannich and Affric. Both these glens lead into higher mountains with an air of remoteness about them. Another option is to discover the little village of Tomich and make a trip to the spectacular Plodda Falls.
Glen Affric has a reputation for being the most beautiful glen in Scotland and is a National Nature Reserve. It's waterfalls (including the Dog Falls & Guisachan Falls) and some of the best surviving examples of Scotland's ancient native Caledonian Forest make it one of the most impressive of landscapes. There is also a choice of high level day-long routes for experienced hillwalkers, including Carn Eige, the highest summit north of the Great Glen.
Glen Urquhart Highland Games
Glen Urquhart has a long tradition of Highland games with their annual gathering at the end of August with events including:
Marching Pipe Bands, Highland Dancing, Hill Race, Track & Field Events, Cycling, Bagpipe competition, Tug of War & of course, Traditional 'Heavy' events (including Tossing the Caber - Kilts are manditory).
With Refreshments and a Fun Fair, this is a wonderful event for all the family. www.glenurquhart-highland-games.co.uk
Nearby Inverness also hosts Highland Games in July. www.invernesshighlandgames.com
Great Glen Way & Great Glen Mountain Bike Trail
The Great Glen Way is 73 miles/117km in length and runs from Fort William, in the west, to Inverness, in the east, with spectacular views and historical and natural heritage to be discovered all along the way including Loch Ness.
The Great Glen Way is broken down into sections, but the whole route can be walked in 5-6 days, staying overnight in the various communities within the Glen, and suits all levels of walker.
Sections of the Great Glen Way are shared with the Great Glen Mountain Bike Trail. The Great Glen Mountain Bike Trail (80 miles) is a fully way-marked mountain biking route and is managed by Forestry Commission. Further information and a guide can be obtained from Tourist Offices. or www.greatglenway.com
A number of short and long guided walks in the Loch Ness area are offered throughout the year, led by Highland Council Rangers. To book a place or for further information please contact the ranger service on: +44(0)1320 366633.
Local tour companies also offer guided walks which can include hill walks & monros
The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) voted Scotland as the people's choice world's number one mountain biking destination (2004). As they say "Scotland is one of the hottest places to ride in the world" with specific mention given to "internationally acclaimed race host city Fort William, and countless other amazing places to explore throughout the Scottish Highlands."
For the more moderate mountain biker there are off-road opportunities by way of a huge range of forestry tracks. up the Great Glen and west towards Cannich and Glen Affric there are many trails both waymarked and unmarked.
For a longer route of 80 miles/ 128km the Great Glen Way offers a good option - Sections of fully way-marked Mountain bike Route managed by Forest Enterprise can be linked with some on road sections around Drumnadrochit to form a continuous route between Fort William to Inverness.
New trails are also being developed in the Glen Affric area and the nerve of experts will be tested in Balnain by Cannich with its' "North Shore" trail, featuring sea-saws and box-jumps.
Access legislation that came into force in 2005 gives mountain bikers a right of access as long as they act responsibly, making planning your own off road route another option. The Scottish outdoor access website gives more advice on responsible access.
Activity providers in the Highlands can also organise mountain biking and indeed there are specialist mountain biking companies as well as cycle-hire companies and shops throughout the Loch Ness area & the Highlands.
'Just down the road', Fort William will be hosting the UCI Mountain Bike World cup finals in september 2006 and the coveted Mountain Bike Championships from the 3rd to the 9th of September 2007.
Music, Theatre, Dance and the Arts
Loch Ness hosts artists from all over the world at a wide variety of venues from traditional Ceilidhs, the Scottish Opera , touring theatre productions, stand up comedy, traditional, classical, modern & global dance, world music & writers workshops to open air productions of Shakespere at Urquhart Castle.
June 2006 hosted Rock Ness with legendary DJs Fatboy Slim & Scottish dance star Mylo & DJ Carl Cox, Belladrum is well established and 2007 will see Runrig in Drumnadrochit.
Check out the 'Whats On' section on this website for a list of up to date events for all the family.
A thriving community of potters, glassblowers, painters, writers, woodworkers, textile specialists, graphic designers, jewlers, stonemasons and photographers also draw inspiration from the area.
South Loch Ness
The south side of Loch Ness is the quieter of the two sides & provides a haven for naturalists & walkers to enjoy the abundant wildlife and an incredible variety of birds and wildflowers.
The roads here were originally built as military roads by General Wade to connect the garrison at Inverness with Fort Augustus and Fort William. From the Suidhe Chumein viewpoint on the B862, the straightness of the soldiers' work can be appreciated.
The hills of Inverfarigaig and Dores are criss-crossed with small roads which seem to demand to be explored.
The Falls of Foyers on the B852, as the road descends to loch level was popularised by Robert Burns and is at its best after heavy rain. There are places along this road where great views of Loch Ness can be enjoyed - especially at sunset.
Visit The Secret Side Of Loch Ness , a joint school project brought to life by Inverness Online Ltd.