Loch Ness is the largest lake in Scotland by volume. The surrounding area is filled with historic attractions, natural wonders, pleasant places to stay, and excellent eateries. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the crypto- zoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as “Nessie”.
It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness.
Loch Ness is a substantial body of water about 24 miles long by one mile wide and at its deepest point it goes down nearly 1,000 ft. There are about 40 small rivers, streams, burns and waterways running into the loch.
Loch Ness lies at the northeast end of the Great Glen in the Highlands of Scotland and occupies a large part of the Great Glen fault. The Great Glen is a geological fault running across the entire width of the Highlands of Scotland.
There have been unconfirmed reports of a Loch Ness Monster since the 15th century, affectionately known as ‘Nessie’. Enthusiasts trace the first sighting of the Loch Ness monster back to St Columba in the 6th century.
His early biographer, St Adamnan, tells how he used the sign of the cross to repel a monster in the river Ness. Since then there have been numerous sightings which have been seriously reported and there have been many intensive scientific investigations.
The only island on Loch Ness is Cherry Island, visible at its southwestern end, near Fort Augustus. It is a crannog which is a form of artificial island construction of stone and oak wood, probably used as an Iron Age fortified refuge.
The first recorded account is of a confrontation with the Irish saint, St. Columba in the 6th century. St. Columba, so the story goes, ordered one of his monks to swim across the loch and fetch a boat.
Halfway across the monster appeared and rushed at the swimmer. Since then, Nessie has been seen many times but has never harmed anyone. Sightings have been sporadic over the centuries, but in the 20th century Nessie has been more active.
In 1933, a new road was completed along Loch Ness’ shore, affording drivers a clear view of the loch. After an April 1933 sighting was reported in the local paper on May 2, interest steadily grew, especially after another couple claimed to have seen the beast on land, crossing the shore road.
In 1951, Lachlan Stuart, a forestry worker who lived beside the loch, also managed to photograph the monster, if that is indeed what it was. He saw three humps in the water appear in line and ran back to his house to get his camera.
After taking one photograph his camera shutter jammed, but his photograph got wide publicity as further proof of the existence of Nessie. Loch Ness was frozen solid during the recent ice ages, however, so this creature would have had to have made its way up the River Ness from the sea in the past 10,000 years.