Myths and Legends Surrounding Loch Ness

The Myths and Legends of Loch Ness

We all know about Nessie, but Loch Ness isn’t all about monsters. The famous Scottish loch has got many other tales to tell. Here, we have found a few Loch Ness myths and legends that you may not have heard of yet!

Early morning on Loch Ness in Scotland

Loch Ness Monster

First thing’s first, the infamous Loch Ness Monster! Did you know the first ever Nessie sighting was way back in 565 AD by St Columba? According to legend, a “water beast” attacked the Irish monk’s servant. However, this is said to have happened on the River Ness rather than the Loch itself. Find out more on our Loch Ness Monster page.

Elephants of Loch Ness

Of all the theories that explain sightings of the Loch Ness Monster throughout the years, this is one of the more unusual ones.  A Scottish palaeontologist claimed that the famous “three humps” could have been elephants swimming in the loch! Apparently, travelling circuses were common in the area from the 1930s onwards and they used to rest near Loch Ness and allow their animals to have a refreshing swim. He thought the elephants’ trunk, head and back may have been the three humps!

Urquhart Castle as seen from Loch Ness lake in the Highlands of Scotland

Daly’s Well

At one time the Great Glen, in which the loch now lies, was a place of rich pasture with plenty of corn, fish, deer and game for its numerous people. And in the glen there was a well, which had been blessed by Daly the Druid. The sacred well produced magical healing waters. If anyone drew water from it, they must remember to replace its stone cover.

Many years later, a woman was taking water from the well, when she heard her child cry out. So she rushed to her child, forgetting to cover the well. As a result, the water overflowed and flooded the whole glen. As the people escaped, they looked back at the water and lamented “Tha loch’ nis ann” (there is a lake now). Legend has it that the name Loch Ness came from this saying.

Monie the Viking Prince

During the 11th century, Monie, a Viking prince landed in Argyll, accompanied by an army of men and his sister. Defending their and, the Scots  pursued him northwards. Eventually, he reached a rocky crag. Although Monie and his companions fought bravely, the Scots defeated and killed them. That rocky crag is now a local landmark, known as Craig Monie, after the legendary Viking prince.

Ghosts on the Moor

If you visit Drumashi Moor, then you might get more than you bargained for. Northeast of the village of Dores is Drumashie Moor. Here is where Fingal and his Gaels fought a battle against A’ishidh (pronounced ‘Ashie’) and his Norsemen. And it is now said that the spirits of the battle haunt the moor. If you visit at dawn on the 1st May, it is said you can see the ghostly columns of soldiers and horsemen march on the moor and silently enact the battle.

The “Witches’ Rock”

According to local legend, two powerful witches lived on opposite shores of Loch Ness in days gone by. They were constantly arguing and fighting with each other. Eventually, they started throwing rocks across the Loch. One of them landed just on the shoreline near the Clansman Harbour, where you can see it to this day.

Dun Bonnet’s Cave

Made famous by the Outlander TV series, this well-hidden cave on the South Side of Loch Ness is said to have been the home of the Jacobite fugitive “Dun Bonnet” (named after his distinctive hat) after the battle of Culloden. Dun Bonnet (or James Fraser!) lived in the cave for seven years and was looked after by the locals, who only referred to him by his nickname in order to not alert the redcoats to his presence.

Woods near Foyers in Scotland