Loch Ness, a lake, located in the Highlands Council region of Scotland. With a depth of 240 meters and a length of about 36 km, Loch Ness has the largest volume of fresh water in Britain. It is located in Glen Mor, or Great Glen, which divides the Highlands, and is part of the Scottish waterway system that civil engineer Thomas Telford connected via the Caledonian Canal (opened in 1822).
There are five things that many of us don’t know about it. Let’s talk about it.
1. Loch Ness has a Beach
Loch Ness is a freshwater loch. Water is supplied by the River Ness which flows from the nearby city of Inverness, south into the Loch itself. The area around Loch Ness is surrounded by trees, which often means that branches and timber get washed into the Loch as well. The soil is quite peaty which gives the loch a dark color, and there is a great deal of sediment at the bottom of the loch as this soil has built up over the years.
It is therefore quite a surprise to find a sandy beach at Loch Ness, but there it is nonetheless. It is located at the North-Eastern top end of the loch and is located closest to the small village of Dores.
This lovely little beach is rarely seen by the many thousands of visitors who come to Loch Ness each year. It is located near a small village, which despite being only 6 miles away from Inverness, is quiet and connected via a small rural road, the B862.
What a treat these visitors are missing. Not only does this little beach give a fantastic view of Loch Ness it also has a traditional pub right beside it. This means visitors can enjoy a stunning view along with some great local food and drink at the Dores Inn as well.
The beach is set next to a local pub, the Dores Inn and it is a great spot to get a fantastic view over a good length of the loch. It is 6 miles south of Inverness on the B862.
If you are visiting the Scottish Highlands, and perhaps staying in Inverness, why not take a drive, or a taxi out to Dores for a view of Loch Ness that most people don’t get to see?
2. Loch Ness has Scotland’s Only Inland Lifeboat
The UK has a fantastic search and rescue service that rescues anyone in peril off the shores of the UK. It’s called the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and its orange rescue boats are familiar to everyone, and a common sight when visiting coastal towns.
With Scotland having such an expanse of the coast the RNLI is a vital service, helping those in difficulty or peril at sea any time of day or night.
The RNLI is a charity and all its operators are volunteers, with all their money coming from donations from the public.
Loch Ness has its own lifeboat, which is not common, as usually lakes and lochs are not generally covered by the lifeboat service. However, Loch Ness is a busy body of water with thousands of visitors taking boat trips, hiring holiday boats, or undertaking water-based activities.
As a result in 2008, the RNLI built a lifeboat station at the middle point of Loch Ness, across the bay from Urquhart Castle. This is the deepest part of Loch Ness, one of the busiest areas and also where there have been the most sightings of Nessie!
In October 2020 the crew had a particularly unusual rescue when a flying plane, a Catalina, had engine trouble. The plane required towing to a mooring where the crew could safely exit the plane.
3. Loch Ness has a Waterfall
Loch Ness has very few tributary rivers, the main one being the River Ness as mentioned already.
However, a lesser-known and lesser-seen tributary river is the River Foyers, which flows in from the Eastern side of the Loch. The name ‘Foyers’ means high shelving and that is an apt description for the village of Foyers, which sits high above Loch Ness.
From this village the River Foyers bursts through a small gap, dropping 90’ into a pretty pool surrounded by trees and rocks, giving it a dramatic and scenic setting.
The Falls are set in beautiful woodland where red squirrels live making it a fantastic spot to visit and enjoy connecting with nature.
The Falls are not visited by most of those coming to Loch Ness because they are on the Eastern side, which is much quieter. The road on the Eastern side is also a single track making it less suitable for larger vehicles.
A visit is well worth the effort, not only for the drama of the falls and the chance to see a red squirrel but for the wonderful views of Loch Ness which change as you make your way down from Foyers to the shore of the Loch itself.
4. You Can Drive All the Way Around Loch Ness
It is only 70 miles to drive all the way around Loch Ness. The Western side is where the main road is. This is also where you will find the main tourist attractions such as Jacobite Cruises who provide boat trips on Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.
What very few people know is that it is possible to drive all the way around Loch Ness. This not only gives maximum chances of spotting Nessie, but it also gives a completely different perspective of Loch Ness.
The road along the Eastern shore offers lochside views, stunning views from a 1200’ high viewpoint, cute villages, and of course the falls and beach mentioned already.
It makes a great 1-day circular drive from Loch Ness with the chance to really see Loch Ness from all angles. With interesting shops and cute cafes along the way, it’s well worth it.
5. Monster Hunters Found a Plane
In 1976 a team searching for the Loch Ness monster located the remains of a Wellington Bomber plane.
This plane had been carrying out some training operations in 1940 over the Highlands when it developed engine trouble and it crashed into Loch Ness.
Unfortunately, the Rear Gunner died when his parachute failed, but all the other crew escaped.
The money was raised to salvage the plane which was successfully removed in 1985. It was in very good condition, preserved in the peaty and cold water of Loch Ness. It was in such good condition that the plane tail lights worked when connected to a battery and many of the personal effects of the crew were still in the plane.
It is now on permanent display at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey in the South of England.