In Search Of Nessie. Loch Ness and the Scottish Highlands

with 22 Comments
Glencoe
While in Scotland, we simply couldn’t have left this beautiful country behind without trying our luck at spotting Nessie. We were also quite eager to see the famous Scottish Highland scenery, so we joined Highland Explorer for their Loch Ness day tour


And boy, we were not disappointed! Scotland is gorgeous!!!
The tour started at their office on the Royal Mile at 8AM and lasted for about 12 hours. It’s a long drive from Edinburgh to Loch Ness, and therefore most of the sightseeing was make from the minivan. 

As it happened, we joined the tour on the most miserable day we had in the 2 weeks we were in Scotland. It rained almost the whole day. Not heavy rain, but constant, annoying drizzle. The scenery was breathtaking nevertheless and Scott, our guide and driver went out of his way to make the tour enjoyable and entertaining. 
Yeap, that’s Scott, in his awesome kilt 

On the way, we passed by The Kelpies, the world’s largest equestrian sculpture, which was just as impressive in daylight as it was on the night it was launched.

Then we rushed through the Rob Roy country and the scenery was accompanied by interesting and atmospheric tales Scott so passionately told us. Scots are born storytellers and Scott surely is an incredibly talented one. We passed Stirling Castle in the distance, one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, Glencoe, considered one of the most beautiful and spectacular places in Scotland, and Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, that shyly hid away from our eyes among the thick clouds. 

Once at Fort Augustus, we were handed a complimentary ‘Taste of Scotland’ picnic lunch consisting of a delicious sandwich of our choice, a bottle of Scottish spring water and shortbread and we were given the option to join a lake cruise in search for Nessie. 
It was still raining and Nessie surely didn’t feel like leaving her home on such terrible weather, so we had to make do with the captain’s monster stories. The boat uses the latest hi-tech colour sonar and underwater imaging systems in an intent to spot Nessie, plus our curiosity was further piqued by recent news regarding Apple Maps and a satellite image of the loch that shows a large creature swimming close to the surface. 

Loch Ness is the largest Scottish lake by volume and it contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. 
Though we came with peaceful thoughts in mind and all we wanted was to take a photo with Nessie, at the end of the day we had to be happy with the cute sticker on the window…

… and the great views of the lake and the snow kissed mountains surrounding it.

The cruise lasted for almost an hour, and by the time it finished we actually had to go back to the bus, which didn’t really leave us any time to explore Fort Augustus. But that was ok, since the cruise was totally worth it, even if not fruitful from a monster point of view.

The whole day was dotted with short, quarter of an hour stops that had both the purpose of letting us stretch our legs as well as get close and personal with the beautiful scenery. The way back followed a different road, just as quiet as the one in the morning, but with different views.

We made a stop at the Commando Memorial near Lochaber and we were surprised to find more people gathered here than we spotted during the whole day traveling through the Scottish Highlands. 
We were equally surprised to find spring flowers, nicely contrasting with the snow still in abundance on the surrounding mountains and the cold wind that was blowing. Scotland seemed to be fifty shades of brown in late April, but Scott told us that for a brief period during the Scottish summer, the moorlands and the mountains are an explosion of greens. The whole miracle happens in just a few days, and one day he has a tour and all is brown and just days later, when he takes another group through the Highlands everything is painfully green. 

Loch Laggan was incredibly beautiful, shimmering under the first rays of sun we were to see that day…

Though in Edinburgh most of the trees already had burst into leaves, just a few hours drive North, the trees were still caught in a winter dream. Nevertheless, the abundant moss and the twisted branches was creating a whimsical atmosphere. 

Our last stop for the day was at this gorgeous waterfall. Surrounded by evergreens, and with a rocky bed , it was spectacular without being a large one. We could have spent an eternity there, listening to the sound of the playful water and the songs of the happy birds. 

Following the Drumochter Pass, Scott told us about the ghostly encounters some drivers had here at night. The story goes that after seeing a hitchhiker on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and without having stopped, a few miles later, when looking in the mirror they would see a man in the back seat. Some accidents even happened due to this mysterious ghost and after seeing how lonely this road is, we couldn’t help it but believe him.
Our day to Loch Ness and back through the rugged Scottish Highlands was unforgettable. This area of outstanding natural beauty was only matched by Scott’s talented storytelling. He was so amazing, that not only did he keep us entertained with stories of past and present during the whole duration of the trip, but at one point he even sang a song in Scottish. It was impossible for us to get bored and by the end of the day, when back to an Edinburgh shrouded in mist, all we wanted was to join another tour to hear more of his storytelling. 
If you want to learn more about this amazing country, check out VisitScotland.com

22 Responses

  1. Vicki Clayton
    | Reply

    Divine photos; well done! I was in Scotland nearly 20 years and with a Scottish mother, that's far too long! Your post has definitely put Scotland back on my bucket list. Soon! Thanks for reliving some great memories.

    • Laura
      | Reply

      20 years is indeed a very long time πŸ™‚ We would go back to Scotland tomorrow if possible πŸ™‚

  2. Jade
    | Reply

    Gawd that is a long drive to do in a day trip! But I guess most of the charm is just in the scenery, so seeing it from a bus window is pretty good too!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      It was a long drive, but totally worth it!

  3. TF Cornerstone
    | Reply

    Even though it rained the day you spent touring outside, your photos prove that you were absolutely right about the Scottish countryside – it's gorgeous!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Thank you! It really is gorgeous!

  4. Cintia
    | Reply

    I love this post! Scotland is on my list!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Yay! Happy to hear that! Scotland is a must visit.

  5. Frank
    | Reply

    Gorgeous photos Laura, I surprised at the snow in late April. Hey, did you find out if the Scots wear underwear under their kilts. I heard somewhere they didn't but I'm not sure I believe that – besides being inconvenient with all the flopping around it would get cold. Anyway, enquiring minds want to know πŸ™‚ .
    Nice job with the post,
    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Laura
      | Reply

      I guess snow in late April is normal in the Scottish Highlands.

      As for the underwear, the story goes that they don't, but I didn't check it personaly πŸ˜€

  6. Nicole
    | Reply

    When we went to Scotland, I wanted to find Nessie, too! We didn't make it that far up north, though. =)

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Nessie is always a good reason to go back to Scotland πŸ™‚

  7. Valen Dawson
    | Reply

    I loved Loch Ness and Scotland…You got some great photos!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Thanks a million! We love Scotland too.

  8. Scotland is gorgeous! Some stories to match the rain and fog sound exciting and magical! Thanks for sharing!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Yes, the stories Scot told us were great and so atmospheric. They made the trip perfect.

  9. Muza-chan
    | Reply

    Great photos πŸ™‚

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Thanks! It was fun taking photos in the Scottish Highlands.

  10. Allison
    | Reply

    Love all your photos! You managed to make a grey day look magical!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      Thank you! Scotland is magical!

  11. Ginger
    | Reply

    I've always wanted to visit Loch Ness. This looks like tons of fun!

    • Laura
      | Reply

      It really was! Loch Ness is amazing!

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