Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle: Last week I was lucky enough to visit Inverness with a group of girlfriends. While we were there we spent the morning cruising on Loch Ness with Jacobite. When we had originally planned to do the trip I did think we maybe slightly mad. Since it is early January and generally quite cold! I had visions of us freezing on the top deck. Yet the weather was glorious. The sun was shining and there was hardly any wind which made for the perfect cruise.

We were on the water for about an hour in total. My pictures really don’t do it justice. Not only is Loch Ness wide its also very deep which makes the water look very dark. Adding to the mysterious appeal. The banks of the Loch are lined with pine trees and woodland. Our boat had plenty of seating on the upper deck to allow us to take in the views. Downstairs there was an enclosed cafe and more seating around tables. The tables had maps of the loch on them and points of interest highlighted. There was also information being given out via the tannoy system.

As Jacobites offer several different tours we were given a red card which allowed us on and off the boat. Our Freedom tour consisted of an hour on Loch Ness and an hour on foot to explore Urquhart Castle. The castle itself is a ruin. Although at one end there is a tower you can walk up and at the other some steps up to what would have been the battlements.

Throughout the castle you find information plaques which help you to visualise what the castle would have looked like in its former glory. There was lots of photo opportunities and little nooks and crannies to explore. While we were there several Harrier Jets flew over. Watching them disappear into the sunset was quite a sight. Especially when one of them decided to show off a little on his way through. Other than the Harriers it was a very peaceful experience. The prefect place to sit and take everything in. Despite it only being a ruin we still managed to spend the whole hour exploring. I would definitely recommend a visit should you ever visit Loch Ness. It also helped me tick off the letter ‘U’ in our A to Z of Castles Challenge we have set ourselves as a family.

When I returned home and told Monkey all about it. We ended up watching youtube clip after youtube clip of apparent sightings of the Loch Ness monster. So I think I will have to take him back there one day. You can watch my video of our trip below, although I am sorry to say there are not sightings of the mythical beast:

Things you need to know:

  • Address: Our tour departed from Clansman Harbour, additional departures are at  Dochgarroch Lock, Tomnahurich Bridge and Inveness Bus Station
  • Opening Times: times are dependent on the tour chosen and the time of year. During the April to October (peak time) there are more tours. In the Winter there are two tours. It is best to check their website for more details – Jacobite Tours.
  • Prices: The price is dependent on the tour chosen, there are nine tours in total the options departing from Clansman Harbour are:
    • Inspiration – one hour tour on the loch including views of the castle. Departs from Clansman Harbour, adults £14, children £11.50 (5-14 yrs) under 5s are free.
    • Freedom – two hours which departs from Clansman Harbour, adults £22 and children £14.50 (5-14 yrs) under 5s are free. This is the one we went on and includes one hour on the loch and one hour at the castle.

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We were invited to Scotland by the Scottish Tourist Board who arranged this trip for us.

52 Comments

  1. Firstly: I love that you have called us “group of girlfriends” that’s made me smile!
    Secondly: your photos are stunning!
    Thirdly: you’re stunning and that picture of you is lush!
    Fourthly: I am loving your A-Z of castles idea! That’s such a blooming lovely idea.

  2. Loch Ness is certainly deep, dark and mysterious. I visited during a storm many years ago and promised myself that I would visit again during the peak of summer so I could appreciate its beauty.

    A lovely set of pics from your visit.

  3. Kerry Taylor Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Loch Ness, and your photos just make it look even more lovely!

  4. Loved spending these few days with you – your pictures are gorgeous! I still can’t believe the weather we had when we were there, it felt colder when I arrived home 😉 Hope it’s not too long til we get to do it again xx

  5. Lorna Ledger Reply

    Gorgeous, your mind would really wander here! And imagine all sorts of things, it’s very ‘Game of Thrones’

  6. Ahh we had the best time didn’t we!! I so wish we could go back and do it all again. Loch Ness is gorgeous and the castle too, I can’t wait for the next trip!

  7. paula cheadle Reply

    Did you find the monster, we did not, kids were disappointed, but what a wonderful place

  8. Well you’ve changed my mind about the “right” time of year to visit Scotland. It looks beautiful even in January!

  9. What beautiful photos, it looks like you all had a fantastic trip with your girlfriends. I’d love to travel to Scotland with my little one, she’d love the explore Loch Ness and search for the Monster #Countrykids

  10. I visited Loch Ness years ago and would love to go again. Scotland is a stunning place. Love the idea of your A-Z of castles!

  11. I last visited Inverness when I was 10 – we were visiting my cousins who live in Aberdeen. I didn’t appreciate the beauty at that age but would relish every moment with my camera now. Sarah #CountryKids

  12. Sounds like a fab day out in beautiful winter weather. Can’t beat Scotland in sunshine! Shame about Nessie though – the closest I got when we visited years ago was a giant pile of horse dung that had fallen off the back of a tractor which we joked was monster pooh. I have a photo….. #CountryKids

  13. What a lovely looking getaway for a girls break. It looks beautiful with so much to explore. I hope you get to take Monkey with you next time in search of the great mythical beast.

  14. Fiona jk42 Reply

    This sounds like a nice day trip. I also would have thought that visiting these types of sights in the winter was a bit mad, but we had friends from the US staying with us over Christmas, and we had several outings to visit castles and other ruins, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. The low angle winter sunshine is actually better for taking shots than bright summer sun, so in future rather than hibernating over winter, I’m determined to get out a bit more whenever the weather is sunny.

  15. sharon stanley Reply

    I would have been exactly the same as you and feeling as though I had let myself in for a big freeze. It’s so nice that the day turned out to be a lot milder than you anticipated and the beautiful views will stay with you a lifetime.

  16. It looks lovely at Loch Ness. I’d like to visit on a nice sunny day.

  17. Kate Davies Reply

    Looks and sounds such a fab trip, Loch Ness is defiantly on my bucket list.

  18. Great list. I must admit, I’ve not been to too many castles, though I grew up in Dudley so we had our own local castle. I’ve visited a few others – but always remember going up to the top of the castle as a kid.

  19. Karen Coombes Reply

    I remember visiting loch Ness when I was about 8 or 9, my sister and I had our feet in the water and my dad told us about the monster.
    We both ran away screaming, lol

  20. This looked like a very fun trip and some amazing family time! Hope you had a lovely time! 🙂

  21. Sian Buckingham Reply

    It looks like you had an amazing time! Absolutely beautiful photos!

  22. Sheila Reeves Reply

    Beautiful photos, never been to this area – really want to go and visit now. Love the idea of hopping on and off the boat to explore more

  23. sandy ralph Reply

    oh it looks so beautiful there, i would love to go there too someday

  24. Hayley Todd Reply

    We love castles, and living in Wales have many beautiful and historic castles to visit! We have never been to Scotland before but it looks absolutely stunning.

  25. Kayleigh Watkins Reply

    It sounds like a lovely day out, and I’m glad the weather was good for you all too, it would be a great family day out too xxx

  26. Looks like an amazing time was had. Such beautiful scenery and lovely clear skies. I would love to visit. Thanks for showing us.

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