Of course the first thing you think of when you hear Loch Ness is the legendary monster, Nessie.  I heard about many sightings but even as a kid I doubted the monster really existed.  Still, when I realized we would be going close to Loch Ness on our way to Isle of Skye I thought it would be fun to explore and see if I could have my own Nessie sighting.

The shores of Loch Ness - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
The shores of Loch Ness

Loch Ness is known for more than just Nessie.  It is the biggest lake by volume in the UK because it is very deep in places.  To give you an idea of the scope, it holds more water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined.  The water is very calm and we only saw a few boats.  However, the water visibility is extremely low because of the high peat content in the soil.    The area around Loch Ness is very beautiful and very green.  In addition, very few buildings are right on the lake, so it feels very rural.

Loch Ness Exhibition Centre is in a really pretty building! - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
Loch Ness Exhibition Centre is in a really pretty building!

Loch Ness Exhibition Centre

First, we planned to stop at the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre to learn a little bit more the history.  Outside the building, there is the submarine that was used in the Loch Ness investigation in 1969.  Most of the exhibition is videos telling the history of Nessie and all the scientific research that has been done.  You move through the rooms watching short videos with some pretty fun special effects.

Submarine used in the 1969 Investigation - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
Submarine used in the 1969 Investigation

Instead of a video, the last room has several exhibits.  I really enjoyed the section about the eye witness accounts, it was interesting to hear the conviction in their stories.  I also thought it was interesting that they showed two Styrofoam heads which used to be identical until one was taken down 230M to the bed of the Loch.   That head got really compressed and puts the depth of the water into perspective.  They also have a gift shop where you can get your Nessie souvenirs.

Two heads that demonstrate the pressure of the water in Loch Ness - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
Two heads that demonstrate the pressure of the water in Loch Ness

Cruising on Loch Ness

That evening, we planned to go on the lake with Cruise Loch Ness to see if we could spot Nessie for ourselves.  The boat leaves from Fort Augustus which is on the south end of Loch Ness.  Before we boarded the boat, we went across the street and explored the locks of the Caledonian Canal, which were actually built in the early 1800s!

The locks of the Caledonian Canal - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
The locks of the Caledonian Canal
Selfie with Russell on our cruise - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
Selfie with Russell on our cruise

The boat left promptly at 8 pm just as the sun was about to set.  The boat had two levels, and we sat outside on the top deck since the weather was nice.   Our tour guide narrated as we went along the coastline admiring the scenery.   I wasn’t expecting to see any wildlife, but thanks to the good eye of our tour guide, he pointed out several sheep and deer hidden in the woods.  We also saw cormorants.  The silhouette from these birds may have led to some Nessie sightings.  Our guide also pointed out a section of the shore area called the horseshoe, where missing vegetation creates a horseshoe shape.  Of course the story is that the mountain was damaged by Nessie trying to escape!

The area where Nessie tried to escape - "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
The area where Nessie tried to escape

Sonar Lesson

Then our tour guide invited everyone downstairs for a sonar lesson.  To be honest, I wasn’t really interested in it, but figured since it was getting dark I might as well go inside.  However, learning about the sonar was really fascinating. We learned how two different screens showed the depth of the water.  One even had dots to show the fish. It was really impressive to see how the depth of the lake changes so dramatically.

One of the sonar screens that we learned about. You can see the dramatic changes in the depth of Loch Ness.- "Loch Ness: Searching for Nessie" - Two Traveling Texans
One of the sonar screens that we learned about. You can see the dramatic changes in the depth of Loch Ness.

Searching for Nessie

Then it was time for the part everyone was waiting for.  Our guide asked if anyone wanted to get video of Nessie.  Of course, I was curious and raised my hand.  Russell and I followed the guide as he helped us get our video.  Take a look and let me know what you think!?

We had a really fun and educational day in Loch Ness visiting the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and cruising with Cruise Loch Ness.  Our tour guide kept us entertained! We also visited Urquhart Castle (more on that in a later post).  It is a really beautiful area and the story of Nessie is definitely intriguing.  Have you visited Loch Ness or had any usual sightings? What are your thoughts on Nessie?

Anisa

Expert Tips:

  • Learn more about the history of Loch Ness at the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre.
  • Be sure to catch the sonar lesson on your boat ride with Cruise Loch Ness.
  • Keep an open mind, you never know what you will see.

Disclosure: No financial compensation was received, but we were guests of the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and Cruise Loch Ness.  As always, opinions expressed here are my own.

The Weekly Postcard

We are happy to co-host the Weekly Postcard Linkup.  Everyone is invited to join us and share their travel blog posts here beginning at 12 p.m. (PST) / 7 p.m. (GMT) Friday.  The instructions are below, but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.  You can also check out last week’s posts here. Happy Travels!

 

Two Traveling Texans


Loch Ness Mystery: Searching for Nessie
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