Loch Ness is a very familiar name due to the Loch Ness Monster that is said to reside under the waters. Nessie, as this monster is called, has existed far back into history with the first recorded sighting by St. Columba in 585. All through the centuries there have been reports of sightings of the gigantic monster in Loch Ness, but strangely enough there are very few photographs. The monster is described as being a beast with four fingers, a long neck and having feet of about eight inches wide. The monster is very powerful, yet appears to be gentle.
Loch Ness, itself, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Even though thousands of tourists come here every year to try to catch a glimpse of the elusive Nessie, there are many other attractions for tourists as well. Birdwatching is an incredible experience with the wealth of birds that nest here and use it as part of their migration path. Wildlife, such as pine martens are common as are red deer and you may be able to see one or two wild goats.
The beginning of Loch Ness is in the village of Lochend. Here you can visit Aldourie Castle, the birthplace of James MacKintosh and at another village along the loch, Abriachan, a visit to the nurseries is a must. The Abriachan Nurseries is a beautiful garden that also contains a small cemetery with a gravestone dating back to the 14th
century. It was once the site of a church dedicated to St. Adamnan. Here in the nurseries you will also find the marriage stone. This stone was the place where couples would pledge their love and agree to stay married for a year. If they didn't have any children at the end of that time, then they could go their separate ways.
In Drumnadrochit there are two Loch Ness exhibitions and a life size statue of Nessie. This village is really set up for tourists with many bars, hotels and restaurants. In fact one of the hotels in this town, the Benleva Hotel, is reported to have a resident ghost. The scenery is breathtaking and you can spend hours strolling through the streets indulging in the sights and sounds. You can still see the hanging tree where many villains met their fate. This is the second largest Spanish chestnut tree in Scotland.
Along the banks of Loch Ness, you will also see one of the ruins of one of the largest castles in Scotland Castle Urquhart. Tourists can still see the four turrets, but this site is best known for its panoramic view of Loch Ness. Invermoriston is another small village where you can enjoy the scenery that Loch Ness has to offer. Here you can see traditional clogs being made at the Clog Shop and you can taste the delightful ice cream in such flavours as the Loch Ness Monster, Highland Massacre and other strange sounding flavours.
Fort Augustus is the largest village on the banks of Loch Ness. Along with the many cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels, Fort Augustus has many historic sites. There is a golf course here where you can spend a relaxing day, opportunities for fishing and plenty of scenery for you to enjoy.