A Journey Around Lochness

We set off with our campervan for a week’s holiday in Glen Urquhart, which sits off the north west side of Lochness.

As a family we were particularly interested in finding out local Scottish stories and places of historical interest as well as catching a glimpse of the monster. We are a family of four with two children of 7 and 4. I thought I’d tell you about the area we visited.


We stayed right next to Drumnadrochit. Here there are the two main Lochness exhibitions, one called ‘The Monster Exhibition’ then further down the road another called ‘The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre’ at The Drumnadrochit Hotel. We made the mistake of visiting the Monster exhibition first, which purely consisted of a very low budget film of a man in a kilt sitting on the banks of Lochness telling a very flowery story of the monster. The children did enjoy clambering over the huge Nessie in the carpark though.

The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre was a completely different experience, extremely informative and had a really impressive laser show. This was well worth a visit.

Castle Urquhart

This was a fantastic day out. My son was excited to find a full knights costume in the shop which he wore the whole of the day, mostly with the visor down. He charged around the castle shouting “ATTTTAACK” everywhere he went.

The restaurant at the castle was brilliant, I’d go so far as saying it was one of the best I’d ever been to. We joined Historic Scotland on this visit which meant we got in for free and had a discount in the restaurant and shop.

The castle is in such a beautiful location; there’s plenty to look around, definitely worth a visit.

Boat Trip on Lochness

A definite must for anyone visiting Lochness, the whole family really enjoyed this. The captain (if that’s what you call him) was full of local tales and interesting facts. The highlight of the trip didn’t come from a massive monster emerging from the murky depths of the water, but a group of over friendly ducks, who dive bombed the boat on the off chance of getting some bread. This really entertained everyone on board.

The Gardens at Abriachan

This was a gem of a find, in Abriachan is a garden looked after by volunteers. It has winding paths going up a steep slope. It funds itself through an honesty box – asking for donations.

Around the gardens there are signs which tell tales of Kelpies living in the stream. At the top of the gardens sits a mysterious heart shaped stone called “St Columbas Well”. The stone has a hole in its centre, which is filled with water. The water hole is never dry, no matter what the weather is like, and if it’s emptied then it will refill itself quickly. It is a mystery where this water comes from. The water is believed to have magical healing qualities.

Witchcraft and Alaistair Crowly

Directly opposite Albraichan on the other side of the loch is Boleskin house which was home to the infamous Alistair Crowley between 1899 to 1913. It is now the home of Led Zeppelin star Jimmy Page. There are predictably many dark tales about this house. The one I like is about a table and chairs that was bought from a club in London where a group of famous people (including Crowley) used to drink. The chairs had the people’s names on their backs. At Boleskin House the chair with Alistair Crowleys name was placed at the head of the table. Strangely every morning the residents of the house found the chair swapped around with that of famous actress. It was some years later it was discovered that the names were on the wrong chairs and the actresses’ chair was really Alistair Crowley’s

Loch Oich

This picnic spot was a beautiful place for a break. Definitely one I want to return to.

Wardlaw Church

This churchyard has many tales of witchcraft. One tells of Paterson a famous witch finder who tortured and murdered many people here. Paterson grouped people together who were thought to be witches, shaved their hair and stripped them. He then used to drive a nail (which he said had been touched by the devil) into their bodies. They were asked to point to where the nail was, the people never could – which was a sign of guilt and they were promptly killed.

Eagle Stone Strathpeffer

Strathpeffer is a lovely place to visit, it also is the home of The Eagle Stone,The Brahan Seer, Scotland’s version of Nostradamus, is said to have predicted that should the stone fall three times then ships would anchor on the spot. The story continues that the stone has fallen twice. It has now been concreted into the ground to stop a third fall.


This article was written by Amanda who runs a popular Scottish clan information and shop scotclans.com I hope you’ve found this article of some interest. If you know of more spots around Lochness that are worth a visit, please let us know. The Scottish stories we collect are published on our blog www.scotclans.com/bletherskite.

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2 Responses to “A Journey Around Lochness”

  1. Don
    May 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    Wow, nice article. I definitely want to visit the area now.
    Did you manage to get up to see the battle field at Culloden?
    By the way, I don’t think Jimmy Page lives at Boleskine any more, though it’d be cool if he still did.

  2. May 14, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Hi Don

    Sadly no – there was loads of interesting stuff over that side of Loch ness that I wanted to visit – am planning another trip to this area.

    Thank you for letting me know Jimmy Page isn’t at Boleskine any more – was going to call in for a cup of tea.

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