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Inverness, Loch Ness & Affric

Loch Ness is the UK's largest lake in terms of volume and holds more water than all the freshwater lakes in England and Wales put together. It's one of Scotland's most visited natural sights and a trip around it makes a satisfying day trip.  A short distance from its northeastern end is Inverness, the capital of the Highlands.

To the north, Glen Affric is one of the finest of all Highland glens, none more so than in autumn when the colours are magnificent.


Inverness is the commercial and administrative capital of the Highlands bisected by the fast-flowing and attractive River Ness. It's the UK's most northerly city, one of the fastest growing cities in Europe and was recently ranked 5th out of 189 British cities for its quality of life. In the Eden Court Theatre it has an excellent arts and cinema attraction.


    The location of the last pitched battle to be fought on UK soil in 1746 which saw Bonny Prince Charlie's Jacobites defeated. The visitor centre provides excellent background information and walking around the battlefield itself is a strangely moving experience. Admission is 11 for adults. Dogs are allowed on the battlefield if not inside the visitor centre.



    Clava Cairns

    These little-known 3,000 year-old Bronze Age burial cairns are a couple of miles from Culloden and worth a visit if you're visiting the Battlefield. The entrance tunnels into them are perfectly aligned to only let the sun into them for sunrise on the Winter Solstice.


    Loch Ness

Loch Ness is 23 miles long and so driving around it makes for a good day out from Alcaig. The A82 on the western side of the Loch is a fast, winding road with limited opportunities to overtake and consequently not that pleasant to drive. The eastern side, on the other hand, is a delight - far quieter and with better scenery.

Access to the shore is quite limited on the Northern side. The best places are at Dores or Fort Augustus.


These ruins south of Drumnadrochit are one of Scotland's iconic sights. Make sure you watch the film as the first thing you do when you arrive before anything else. I won't spoil the surprise but you'll see why. Pick a calm day to visit – the castle's position makes it a particularly windy spot.


Fort Augustus

A village at the far end of Loch Ness. It is however a great place to see the flight of 5 locks on the Caledonian Canal which connects the West and East coasts of Scotland through the Great Glen. The Caledonian Canal was designed by Thomas Telford, opened in 1822 and connects the west and east coasts of Scotland. It's 60 miles long although a third of that is man-made as it utilises the natural lochs in the Great Glen.

Fort Augustus

Falls of Foyers

The scenery on the drive up the eastern side of Loch Ness is interesting all the way to Foyers. There are spectacular waterfalls here and a variety of trails through the woods that have plenty of Red Squirrels.


West from Drumnadrochit, this is an RSPB reserve whose star species is the Black Grouse. In April and May there are organised “safaris” to see the males of this rare species doing their display called “lecking”. There are also dramatic waterfalls (reached via a steep path) and a 4000 year old chambered burial cairn.

Plodda Falls

More spectacular waterfalls.. These are different in that there is a vertigo-inducing platform built out over the top of the 80 foot falls. As with all the waterfalls in the Highlands, they're at their best after heavy rain. To reach Plodda Falls you have to pass through the gorgeous hamlet of Tomich. There's a very pleasant 1.5 mile walk from the car park through the forest taking in the falls.


Glen Affric

Arguably the most beautiful glen in Scotland with large tracts of native Caledonian forest and spectacular waterfalls. Glen Affric is a truly special place. It's worth driving beyond Cannich all the way to the far end of the road near Affric Lodge where there are some lovely short walks and the scenery is exquisite. If you're lucky the chaffinches may eat out of your hand at the car park here.

A fantastic walk is the circuit around Loch Affric.

You need to be reasonably fit for this and self-sufficient (it takes you 5 miles from the nearest road) but it's a low-level Highland classic. The scenery is superb. Apart from one stream crossing that may be tricky after wet weather, the route is mainly on tracks and good paths. Even doing part of it, especially on the southern side – which has views to the big Munros on the Loch's north side - is highly recommended. 11 miles.


Tel: 01349 368276 Alcaig Cottages, Easter Lodge, Alcaig, Conon Bridge, Highland IV7 8HS Site by David Marsh