10 fascinating facts & legends about Inverness and Loch Ness
Most people know that Loch Ness is near Inverness, is the largest lake in the UK by volume, has historic Urquhart Castle on its shores, and is home to the Loch Ness monster, affectionately referred to here as “Nessie”. But there is much more to Loch Ness than a monster.
The following are just a few snippets of information and legends about Inverness, Loch Ness and the surrounding areas which you don’t hear about in everyday blurb and perfect for filling those gaps in conversation over the Holiday period.
Did you know? Urquhart Bay on Loch Ness and the surrounding woods near Drumnadrochit is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The woods, lying between the Rivers Enrick and Coiltie, are one of Britain’s last remnants of swamp woodland and a haven for birds, of the warbler kind!
Did you know? The Corrimony Chambered burial cairn in Glenurquhart was built circa 2000BC, and is of a type known as a passage grave, encircled by 11 standing stones.
Did you know? On the 29th September 1952, whilst travelling at 206mph on Loch Ness in his craft Crusader in an attempt to gain the world water speed record, John Cobb lost his life. The people in the area had so taken to the quiet, unassuming Englishman that it was decided to erect a simple cairn, to commemorate the man, from the people of Glen Urquhart, on a site overlooking the measured mile.
Did you know? Inverness meaning “mouth of the river Ness” is the most northerly city in the United Kingdom. Earliest evidence of a settlement here is thought to date back to the 6th century when it was a Pictish stronghold. Roughly one third of the population of the Highlands of Scotland lives in or close to Inverness which is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities with a population of approx. 63,000.
Did you know? When Johnson and Boswell set off from Inverness to Fort Augustus on the morning of Monday, August 30, 1773, they travelled on horseback, accompanied by a guide and translator, Joseph, and two other Highlanders on foot. “I perceived a little hut, with an old looking woman at the door of it,” wrote Boswell. “I thought there might be a scene that would amuse Dr Johnson.” Sure enough, in they went to the hovel, lit only by a hole punched in the turf and the light of peat fire in the middle of the floor and goats tethered to one end. Where, wondered Dr. Johnson aloud, did the woman sleep? Something must have been lost in translation because the old crone interpreted this as an alarming invitation to go to bed. The misunderstanding and her dignity were saved with humour.
Did you know? Cherry Island near Fort Augustus, about 100m from the shore, is the only island on Loch Ness. In fact is not an island, nor is this its real name! The ‘island’ is in fact a man made structure known as a ‘crannog’. Designed to provide a fortified retreat for the local people when threatened, they were built and used for this purpose between the Iron Age and the 16th century. The real name of the crannog is Eilean Mhuireach or Murdoch’s Island.
Did you know? The RSPB purchased Corrimony reserve in 1997 with the aim to regenerate a large area of Caledonian pinewood. Black Grouse, Golden Eagles, Scottish Crossbills, Crested tits & Greenshanks can all be found there. Source: www.rspb.org.uk
Did you know? Shinty is a form of Hockey derived from the Irish game of Hurling mostly played in the Scottish Highlands. Strathglass & Glenurquhart Shinty Clubs competed in the fixture considered to be the origin of the rules applied today in modern shinty at Bught Park, Inverness in 1887.
Did you know? Urquhart Castle is located on the shores of Loch Ness on the rocky promontory of Strone Point. It dates from early in the thirteenth century, and was built by Alan Durward, son-in-law of King Alexander II. For a time, it was a strong-hold of Robert de Brus (the Bruce), and it met its end in 1692, when English forces blew it up to thwart the Jacobites. It is now in the care of Historic Scotland, and is open to the public.
Did you know? IN 1890, when Queen Victoria was still using paraffin lamps in Balmoral Castle, some villagers in Fort Augustus had the unlikely luxury of electric light because of a small water turbine installed by the monks at the nearby Benedictine Abbey. This is believed to be Scotland’s first electrical installation and began operating eight years after Edison opened his station at Holborn Viaduct in London in 1882.
See - Did You Know - Part 2
Do you have any facts or legends or trivia about Loch Ness that you would like to share?