Scotland / United Kingdom

Loch Ness Scotland: Is It Really Home To A Monster?

Exploring Loch Ness was high on my list of “must-do experiences whilst in Scotland” to find out whether “Nessie” was fact or fiction.

Had the sightings of the Loch Ness monster over the years been real or an elaborate hoax that had fooled the world?

Would I finally get the answers I was looking for or leave Loch Ness just as baffled as when I arrived? This was my chance to find out!

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Facts or (Fiction) on the Loch Ness Monster

Loch Ness is the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain measuring a whopping 21.6 sq miles and with a depth of 227 metres, so a perfect location for a monster to live.

Nessie was first spotted in 595 AD and then not again until 1933! A couple driving the perimeter of the lake noticed a dark shape rising out of the water with a long neck and a humped back.

Operation Deepscan was carried out in 1987 at an unprecedented cost of over £1million. Sonar picked up 3 objects near to Urquhart Castle but on returning the next day found that the objects had gone.

In 2003, the BBC set about proving whether “Nessie” was living beneath the water but once again the reports came back that no monster had been located.

In 2005, Loch Ness hosted a triathlon with each swimmer insured against attack from Nessie. My thought is that they didn’t trust the BBC’s findings.

The most recent sonar reading of an object moving in the loch was in June 2019 so who knows what is going on beneath Loch Ness!

Loch Ness viewed from the water

Where Is Loch Ness?

The county of Inverness is the location of Fort Augustus which is where you will find Loch Ness. Fort Augustus is a small town offering numerous accommodation options, restaurants and pubs and a selection of shops. “Nessie” memorabilia is everywhere and you will no doubt leave the area with at least one souvenir.

The Loch Ness Visitor Centre will give you an insight into everything relating to sightings including photographs, videos and testimonials. It is then up to your judgement to decide whether the Loch Ness monster is real.

Statue of the Loch Ness monster

Where Did I Stay?

I stayed in Fort Augustus at The Lovat which was a leisurely 10-minute stroll to Loch Ness.

This famed hotel has a long history which its owners will be happy to tell you all about. It’s one of Fort Augustus’ most respected hotels and has an enviable reputation for service.

With an award-winning chef, who also happens to be one of the owners, producing some amazing dishes and with accommodation in chalet-style garden rooms or stunning hotel bedrooms, this is certainly a great place to stay.

What Is The Best Way To Search For Nessie?

I had researched boat trips before I arrived in Fort Augustus as they get booked up quickly, especially in the summer months.

I chose the company Cruise Loch Ness but decided to opt for a ride on a rib rather than the sedate cruiser.

We booked the last tour as we knew we were going to be arriving late in the afternoon, and to our surprise, we had it all to ourselves. Warm clothing is provided but make sure you wear some layers beneath.

The chill factor once on the loch is extreme, and trying to take photographs with freezing digits is a skill in itself!

Cruise Loch Ness sign with the water behind it

Out on Loch Ness, you will have the chance to search for Nessie and your skipper will stop the rib several times during your trip to tell you interesting facts about the landscape, the loch, the sightings of the monster and will answer any of your burning questions.

Of course, my objective was to find out whether Nessie was fact or fiction. Logical answers made me re-think the doubts I had surrounding the existence of a monster in these waters, but I still needed to see physical proof to assure me that Nessie was indeed swimming beneath me.

Front of the rib on Loch Ness

What Else Will I See on Loch Ness?

Urquhart Castle is an imposing sight as you sit on the waters beneath it. Our skipper pointed out that this was the area that sonar picked up 3 shapes in 1987 that were believed to be Nessie. Of course, they were not located again, so could there have been a simple explanation? I will leave you to decide.

Urquhart Castle’s ruins dated back from the 13th to the 16th centuries and played a role in the Wars of Independence between the English and the Scottish. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles it has over 1000 years of history to impart to the visitor.

In the 20th century, it became a national monument and opened to the public. It is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland.

After viewing it from the water, we just had to drive around to it to see its profile from the land; I think you would agree it is impressive.

Urquhart Castle viewed from the water
Urquhart Castle viewed from the roadside

Our time on Loch Ness had come to an end, and I was still non the wiser as to whether the Loch Ness monster is real, but it had been fun trying to find out.

We sped back across the loch, and I must admit I was gazing out hoping for a surge in the water or to spot a pair of eyes peering back at me, but no underwater monster was going to make an appearance today, oh well maybe you will have better luck.

Just be aware that if you are going to do the rib ride, it is extremely bumpy and wouldn’t be suitable for a person with back problems.

Loch Ness

What Else Can I Do In Fort Augustus?

Once back on terra firma you might like to explore what is in the surrounding area. There is a walk to the Falls of Foyers which starts at the car park in Fort Augustus and takes you on a walk along the shores of Loch Ness to the waterfalls.

You might also like to visit Dores Beach which starts by Dores Inn (have a dram of whisky before or after your walk!) and is a 4-mile circular route giving great views out over Loch Ness.

Another walk is the Caledonian canal which runs through Fort Augustus and goes on for 80 miles although you probably won’t have the time or inclination to walk that far.

If you only want to visit for a day from Inverness to Loch Ness,  then a guided tour may be just what you are looking for and will allow you to experience all that I have written about.

Caledonian Canal in Fort Augustus

My time at Loch Ness was part of my own independent 14-night England to Scotland road trip itinerary visiting the Lake District in Cumbria, Inverary, Loch Ness, Isle of Skye, Pitlochry and Harrogate in Yorkshire.

St Augustus Abbey
Read Next: A Road Trip Around the Isle of Skye in Scotland


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About Author

Angela Price

Angie is a full-time travel writer with over 30 years of travel experience. She has always had a passion for travel, and after a 3-month world trip with her 18-year-old son, she created her popular travel blog to share her adventures with a wider audience. When Angie is at home in the UK, she enjoys exploring the English countryside, visiting castles and gardens and planning her next big adventure. Her motto is "Live Life Wandering not Wondering".

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8 months ago

Yes, it is amazing how much action the castle has seen over the centuries. Sadly no Nessy for us either!

nikki marie
nikki marie
1 year ago

I’ve always been fascinated by this and have done a lot of reading! I really wonder!

Reply to  nikki marie
1 year ago

It’s sort of nice not to really know one way or the other so it remains a mystery

Jenn | By land and sea
Jenn | By land and sea
1 year ago

We also cruised Loch Ness and searched for Nessie to no avail. But, the town of Ft. Augustus was so charming that it completely made up for it!

Reply to  Jenn | By land and sea
1 year ago

It is such a pretty area, with or without Nessie!

Sinjana Ghosh
Sinjana Ghosh
1 year ago

Such a beautiful place. Hope to cover this on out this year’s trip to UK.

Reply to  Sinjana Ghosh
1 year ago

I hope you get there, it is such a pretty area.

1 year ago

Ofcourse there’s a monster!
Thats like saying Santa is not real 😀

Reply to  Ann
1 year ago

I like your train of thought!

1 year ago

Not sure if Nessie actually exists but I bet it’s a lot of fun looking for him lol. Urquhart Castle looks amazing so a good option if Nessie not around 🙂

Reply to  Sarah
1 year ago

It’s nice to believe there’s something lurking in the depths but I think we all know there’s not 🤣

1 year ago

Haha, I don’t think Nessie exists, but the idea is fun. As a kid I loved the Nessie cartoons and when I’ll travel to Scotland, I am checking the lake out 🙂

Reply to  Slavka
1 year ago

Yes it’s a beautiful spot with or without a monster !

Carrie Ann | Should Be Cruising
1 year ago

I’m fascinated by the idea of the Loch Ness Monster, and I think a boat ride to try and spot it would be so fun. Your photos of Urquhart Castle are beautiful. Such a romantic old ruin with a great view of the loch! Maybe one day I’ll go on an adventure to look for Nessie myself 😀


If you ever get the chance then it is a really good trip! Glad you liked my photos. Thanks

1 year ago

I enjoyed this post! I want to believe in the existence of Nessie, like so many visitors. But regardless of a monster living in its depths or not, the lake and its surroundings look gorgeous, definitely worth a visit.

Reply to  Emese
1 year ago

As you say it is beautiful regardless of whether Nessie lives there or not but it’s nice to think there may be a chance ………

Susan Pazera
1 year ago

Loved this post! I’ve always wondered about the monster, but your water views of the castle are what I’d really love to see. Thanks for sharing!

Reply to  Susan Pazera
1 year ago

Glad you enjoyed it Susan. It remains a mystery but I guess that’s the best way!

Nancy Roberts
1 year ago

Great post! I’ve always wanted to visit Loch Ness and am very happy to believe in Nessie! I don’t know Scotland well – I need to plan a road trip.

Reply to  Nancy Roberts
1 year ago

Thank you , I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Scotland has so much to offer it is a great place to explore.

Nic Peters
Nic Peters
1 year ago

I often heard of the tales of the Loch Ness Monster as a child but never have I thought of visiting the Loch itself, when I find myself in Scotland I’m definitely going to visit, Fort Augustus and the surrounding scenery looks stunning too! Great post Angie 😁

Reply to  Nic Peters
1 year ago

Thank you Nic. It is a very beautiful place and there are so many walks to do in the area. I’m sure you would enjoy it if you ever get the chance.

1 year ago

The blog post brought back fond memories of my visit to Loch Ness almost 10 years ago. I wasn’t lucky to spot the monster either! Great post with a lot of information and lovely pictures too. 🙂

Reply to  Jan
1 year ago

Thank you Jan, I’m pleased it transported you back to happy memories. It is such a beautiful part of the world to photograph.

1 year ago

I’ll be traveling to Scotland in May and was wondering if I should make time for Loch Ness. Thanks for this information. It will help with my planning.

Reply to  Megan
1 year ago

Glad it helped, I hope you will also have time to make it to the Isle of Skye as it is a beautiful place to visit.

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