For decades, Loch Ness lived in my imagination as a tiny dot far north in Scotland, with an occasional grainy image of monster lurking in the depths. We were fortunate to stay several days on the shore of Loch Ness in a Victorian lodge on a site where a lodge for travelers likely existed for five centuries. Living near Lake Michigan, I’m used to orienting my life on the edge of a big lake over which the sun rises in the morning. While the sun rises in the east here, too, they call this the “south side” of the loch. Here’s the morning sun view from the Foyers Lodge on the south side. I’d call it the west side.
To promote visitors to the area, there is an 80 mile hiking/biking/horse trail around the loch called Loch Ness 360 degree. If you want to hear some Scottish sounds, there’s a delightful interview this month by BBC radio about the trail that starts 13 minutes into this podcast. We hiked a section of trail just behind the Foyers Lodge.
Inverness is on the upper end of the Loch and Fort Augustus on the lower. Loch Ness is part of the Great Glen that cuts all the way across the country from the northeast to the southwest. A single track road follows much of the trail for a climb up into the mountains over the loch and some spectacular views. The road runs right beside a beautiful Loch Tarff, and then rises for a distant view.
The Suidhe viewpoint has a sign about viewing seven lochs including Loch Tarff shown above and Loch nan Eun below with waterfalls streaming down the cliffs to the loch.
GPS navigation said Urquhart Castle was only 4 miles from the lodge. However, it would require a boat to travel those few miles to other shore. It would take about an hour on the adventurous single track road to get to the ruins of this castle. Some of the buildings date from the 13th century, but the fortification was blown up in 1692 to prevent the Jacobites from using the castle.