Not many monsters in the world have gotten as much attention as the infamous the Loch Ness Monster… Nessie. The first official sighting of Nessie was recorded by Saint Columba in the 6th century- hundreds of years ago! As the story goes, the Irish saint commanded one of his monks to swim to the other side of the loch in order to fetch a boat. About halfway across, the monk came face to face with a menacing loch ness monster. Columba is said to have commanded the monster to retreat to which he did. While this is the first account of the loch ness monster, it wasn’t until the 1930’s that Nessie sightings became a regular occurence.
I was lucky to be travelling around Scotland a while ago and visited Loch Ness. Jacobite Cruises offers five different cruises on the Loch and they have been given the 5-star status from the Scottish Tourism Board, so I had high expectations about the quality of the experience. How long of a cruise you should choose depends on how much you want to see! I took part on the one-hour cruise that starts from Clansman Harbour. A few minute drive from Inverness will take you to Loch Ness and after another few minutes, you will see the Clansman Hotel on your right. Park your car, follow the signs and a path will take you under the road to Clansman Harbour from where the journey begins. (There’s also a great gift shop adjacent to the hotel if you’re thinking about buying souvenirs!)
The cruise has a really interesting commentary on and you will learn a lot about the loch and its famous resident. I was on board the Jacobite Warrior catamaran where you can sit outside on the deck or enjoy the views from the warmth of the inside meaning you can do the cruise around the year. The seats inside are comfortable and you can buy snacks and beverages as well. However, if you do buy snacks they ask you kindly not to feed the monster!
The scenery along the way is beautiful with hills surrounding the loch on both sides. The highlight of the cruise is definitely the Urquhart Castle, though. Depending on the type of the cruise you choose you can either hop off the boat and walk around the castle ruins and the visitor centre or just admire the castle from the boat. I did the latter one since my 1-hour cruise did not include the entrance to the castle. The Urquhart Castle is beautiful and definitely one of the most popular attractions that Scotland has to offer. It is believed that there was a settlement on the place where the castle lies already in the 6th century and the first recorded mention of the castle is from the 13th century.
After I had taken tens of photos of the beautiful castle the boat turned around and started its journey back to Clansman harbour. I decided to sit inside for the return leg and was very tempted to enjoy a nice drink from the bar. I decided against it, since I thought I wouldn’t want to miss the loch ness monster if she was to surface or accidentally see something that might not be there! When the hour was full, the Jacobite Warrior arrived at the Clansman Harbour where it took on board another load of excited Nessie hunters. I really enjoyed the cruise and the commentary and would highly recommend the experience.
When I got home from my Scotland trip I was going through my photos (1190 photos to be exact, Scotland is so beautiful!!) I noticed I had taken a photo with a questionable wave on it… It totally could have been Nessie – you never know!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kati Lepisto is very passionate about the West of Ireland and especially the Wild Atlantic Way. She used to live in Galway City and knows it inside and out. She would be happy to help you with any inquiries regarding the West! You can email her directly at [email protected]