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Loch Ness, Highlands

Loch Ness
Loch Ness is not the largest Scottish lake, or loch, by surface area as Loch Lomond is larger. Despite this, Loch Ness is undoubtedly the most famous. The freshwater lake lies to the south west of Inverness and is world famous because of the enduring legend of the Loch Ness monster , or Nessie.

The loch stretches across Scotland for just under 25 miles, almost cutting the Highland region in two as it reaches south westerly in the direction of Oban . The long ribbon lake has a surface area of 21.8 square miles. The water level on the lake is 52 feet above sea level. The waters of the lake are not famous for being crystal clear, in fact quite the opposite! The waters of this, and many other Scottish lochs in the region, are very cloudy due to the high peat content of the surrounding areas that drain into the lakes. Loch Ness is one of a series of murky, interconnecting bodies of water in the region. Perhaps this dark and mysterious quality of the water itself helps to fuel the stories of a monster lurking in the depths of Loch Ness.

Loch Ness is very deep at 754 feet, only Loch Morar is deeper in Scotland. This, when combined with the length of Loch Ness, means it is the largest Scottish loch by actual volume of water. The principal inflows to the loch are the rivers Oich, Moriston, Foyes and Enrick, and of the Caledonian Canal. The main outflow are the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal . The loch is connected to the open waters of the North Sea in the region of Inverness via the Bona Narrows at Loch Dochfour, the River Ness and a section of the Caledonian Canal. The southern end of Loch Ness is connected to Loch Oich via the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal. Lighthouses are located at Lochend, the Bona Lighthouse, and at Fort Augustus .

Urquhart Castle is located on the Western shore, between Drumnadrochit and Invermoriston and is just one example of the long history of man in the area. However endearing and atmospheric these antiquities may be, they cannot help but take second place to the extraordinary legend of the Loch Ness monster. The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit examines the legend of Nessie by looking at the natural history of Loch Ness.

Nessie is almost certainly a myth but that little bit of uncertainty means you will always be able to take one of the many boat cruises that operate from the loch shore. Craft leave from various points along the loch shore taking hopeful passengers out for the chance of a glimpse of the monster of the deep.

More British Natural features?

Other Highlands Naturals

Ben Nevis
Cairngorms
River Spey
Lake Morar
Loch Maree
Loch Lomond
Moray Firth
Great Glen
Falls of Glomach
Lochaber Mountains
Cape Wrath
Cairn Toul
Ben Macdhui
Aonach Mr

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