When I was in Inverness, Scotland for a conference in September, I was lucky enough to cruise Loch Ness with a bunch of other bloggers and Loch Ness cruises by Jacobite. Camera's ready, we all hoped for that money shot ;-)
Loch Ness cruises with Jacobite
Our hosts of the day were the people from Loch Ness cruises by Jacobite. They have four different boats with which they organize tours on Loch Ness with an option to visit Urquhart Castle, located at Loch Ness.
During the tour, we got an explanation of the things we could see on shore, the history and geographical features of the loch and – of course – the legend of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.
Our guide also shared a lot of interesting facts about Loch Ness, such as the dimensions of the lake. Especially interesting was that we could follow how deep it was below the boat on a special screen.
But I've never been good with numbers and it was only when I got outside and gazed over the vastness of the water, that the size of Loch Ness started to down on me. It's impressive and I'm sure it was even more so underneath the heavy clouds and gray sky that hovered over us that day;
After we'd unsuccessfully scouted the water for Nessie, the boat dropped us off at Urquhart Castle.
Urquhart Castle history
The origins or Urquhart Castle remain somewhere in the dark, but the current castle dates back to at least the 13th century. However, it was built on the site of an older, early medieval fortification.
Urquhart Castle was one of the most important castles of Scotland once and constantly moved hands between the Scots and the English. Its last occupants – government troops – blew up the castle when they abandoned it during the Jacobite Risings as they didn't want it to fall in the hands of the Jacobites.
Urquhart Castle today
Today, visitors can wander around the castle's ruins overlooking the loch. There are walking paths between the different castle parts and you can even climb some of the remaining towers.
There's also a visitor center where you can get information, drinks and – of course – souvenirs.
Planning your Loch Ness trip
We were taken from Inverness to Loch Ness by bus, which took about 30 minutes. The distance between Inverness is only 8 miles, so if there's not a lot of traffic, you can get there quicker.
Wondering how to get to Loch Ness by yourself? The easiest way to get there from Inverness is by (rental) car, but you can also take bus 16 at Farraline Park, Inverness' bus station. It goes approximately every two hours at the time of writing. Be sure to check bus times, though, so that you don't need to take a taxi back from Loch Ness to Inverness.
For information on public transportation in Scotland, check Traveline Scotland.
Jacobite runs Loch Ness tours throughout the year. Check their here;
If you want to complement your trip to Loch Ness with a visit to Urquhart Castle, you can do so with a special tour by Jacobite. Alternatively, you can also drive or take the bus from Inverness to Urquhart Castle.
All practical information for planning your visit to Urquhart Castle can be found at the website of the Historic Environment Scotland, including the price of Urquhart Castle tickets and the Urquhart castle opening times.
Hotels near Loch Ness
I stayed in Inverness in an airbnb with some fellow bloggers. If you don't have an airbnb account yet, you can sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
If you already have an account, please consider booking your next Airbnb through my link. I'll earn a small commission while the price for you stays exactly the same. Income like this helps me travel independently and create new content.
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I cruised Loch Ness and visited Urquhart Castle as part of a press trip organized by the STS conference I was attending in Inverness. The links to Booking.com and TripAdvisor are affiliate links. If you book a stay through them, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting the site!