Drumnadrochit is a village in the Highlands of Scotland; it sits on the shores of the world famous Loch Ness at the head of Urquhart Bay. Because of its celebrity location it has become a hit with tourists who have discovered a hidden gem amongst the throngs of monster spotters.
The name “Drumnadrochit” is said to derive from the Scottish Gaelic meaning “Ridge of The Bridge” as its inhabitants spread around the bridge that crossed the River Ehrick. In 2006 it celebrated its centenary.
As Drumnadrochit is so intrinsically linked to the Loch it rests on, no visit is complete without finding out about one of the world’s most famous stretches of water.
The Loch Ness Exhibition is a fantastic way to submerge yourself in the sights, sounds and history of this much visited and researched area. The Exhibition is housed in the grand stone building that was built in 1986 as an extension to the Drumnadrochit Hotel. The exhibition was opened by adventurer extraordinaire, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and has gone on to establish award winning standards. It chronicles the history of the loch in seven stages from the Ice Age to the present day using a number of high tech wizardry including: lasers, digital projections and 3D special effects. It charts the geology and folk lore of the area along with the conclusions drawn from the numerous projects that have been conducted in the deep, dark depths. Narrated by Adrian Shine, whose life’s work has been dedicated to researching the Loch, this really is the definitive Loch Ness experience.
The Exhibition wouldn’t be complete without a delve into the depths of the Loch to uncover the myths surrounding the mysterious beast that some say lives in the dark. He exhibit houses many of the articles of evidence that have been put forward in various attempts to prove existence of the Loch Ness Monster; there are photos that have become famous after having been pasted on front covers the world over to declare that the definitive spotting of the beast had finally been made. There are also the testimonies of eyewitnesses such as fishermen and sailors whose stories have yet to be disproved. Many items of equipment on display have actually been used to seek out the Loch Ness Monster including submersibles, inflatables, sonar equipment and various research vessels. Along with the evidence that still holds water are the numerous fakes, hoaxes and illusions concocted over the years are also on display.
One activity not to be missed is the chance to take a trip aboard “Deepscan”, the vessel used in Loch research. “Deepscan” was named after the large sonar sweep that was made of the Loch in 1987. This investigation was the largest ever launched . This vessel takes cruises out into the Loch on most days and is a great way to get a good look at Urquhart Caslte as well as allowing passengers the chance to spot the elusive Nessie!
Prices for a visit to the exhibition are as follows and at least 3 hours should be given over to it:
7-16 year olds: £4.50 (under 7s can visit for free)
Family tickets are also available.
There are a number of gift shops to spend your pennies in once your tour is over including: The Nessie Shop, The Cashmere Shop, The House of Heraldry, The Kilt Maker and Woollens Shop along with other craft stores.
Of course, there are a number of non-nessie activities to fill your time in Drumnadrochit including pony trekking and mountain biking that takes in the surrounding forest area. There are also the ruins of Urquhart Castle to explore. These ruins are one of the most visited sites owned by Historic Scotland. They stand on the peninsula that juts out into Loch Ness providing visitors with a panoramic view of the water. There are numerous opinions as to what the site was originally used for. Some believe it was the site of a pictish fort that St Columba visited in 597. However evidence points to the castle being built after 1230 when a revolt in Moray was crushed by Alexander II. If the ruins aren’t enough there is a great little model of the castle on the village green, all cut into hedges and shrubs!
Drumnadrochit, by association, is a great and well-trodden tourist destination and as a result isn’t short on places to stay and there are many top quality hotels to choose from. This is a location to fully explore, in terms of its famous legends and also its many hidden treasures.