If you’ve heard of Scotland, you’ve probably heard of Loch Ness.
It’s absolutely huge – containing more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, making it the perfect hiding place for a certain prehistoric resident. The Loch Ness Monster brings many visitors to these shores, few of whom claim to have caught a glimpse.
However, the area around Loch Ness has so much more to offer than the legend of Nessie. The region is incredibly scenic, dotted with lovely villages and quiet valleys fringing on the wild Monadhliath Mountains.
You can’t help but marvel at the colossal scale of the loch itself, so what better way to appreciate this than by walking all the way around it?
The new South Loch Ness Trail tours the south side of the Loch, whilst the existing northern half of the Great Glen Way covers the other half. We’ve combined the two trails to create the Loch Ness 360.
Here are a few reasons why I think it’s one of the most enjoyable walks in Scotland …
Despite Loch Ness’ reputation as a tourist hotspot, the south side is quiet and peaceful and sees far fewer visitors than it deserves. Here, I walked for many an hour without seeing another walker.
The route regularly strays a few miles from the loch shoreline – into the beautiful Stratherrick Valley for example.
Using the northern half of the Great Glen Way gives you the opportunity to take the two High Route options, where you can ascend high above the treeline with Loch Ness far below. I opted for both High Routes (Fort Augustus to Invermoriston, and Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit) over the Low Routes, and certainly didn’t regret it.
In return for the extra ascent I was rewarded with spectacular views over the Loch and of the mountains surrounding the Great Glen.
You can’t help but notice that the area is steeped in history. Much of the Loch Ness Trail runs along General Wade’s military road – a route driven through the Highlands by Government troops putting down the 18th-century Jacobite uprisings.
And then there are the ruins of Urquhart Castle which sits proudly by the shore of Loch Ness and played an important part in the Wars of Scottish Independence.
In quaint highland villages, I was incredibly well looked after by wonderful hosts.
Pottery House B&B in Dores and Craik Na Dav B&B in Invermoriston were wonderful accommodation, and much appreciated after a long day’s walk.
So, did I spot Nessie? I’m afraid not. It’s fair to say I was too busy enjoying the scenery to keep much of a look out.
P.S. Tempted to walk the magical Loch Ness 360 for yourself? Our self-guided packages include carefully selected accommodation, baggage transfers, guidebooks/maps, and everything you need to enjoy a wonderful walking holiday.