Many people looking for things to do when they visit Loch Ness only stick to the north roads of the loch. This is a huge mistake! You absolutely must visit the beautiful, historic South Roads too. It’s an amazing trip along the southern banks of the loch. The history of the area is second to none, ingrained in the people and places around the shore. You just have to know where to look to hear the real stories that will inspire and stay with you. So whether you are visiting on day trips from Edinburgh to Loch Ness, or coming from further afield, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
If you want to get to know the real Loch Ness, then follow our one-day itinerary. It’s an insiders guide to the side of Loch Ness that many people miss, where you can experience amazing views, get close to rare wildlife and get so close to soldiers preparing for battle that you can almost touch them. If you visit Loch Ness, these are fantastic places to stop into.
A view along Loch Ness
It only takes ten minutes to get from the centre of Inverness to the unspoiled wilderness of the Highlands. Heading south along the B852and stopping at Dores will allow you your first proper view of Loch Ness.
As you admire the scenery, take a moment to consider that there’s more water in this Loch than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. If you want more facts about the loch to impress friends and family, there’s plenty more here.
Dores Beach is home to Steve Feltham, otherwise known as the Nessie Hunter. Steve has been hunting for Nessie full time since 1991 and is a wealth of knowledge on the subject. This is a great opportunity to spot our mythical monster as you can see far down the length of the loch on a clear day.
Bird Watching and a touch of history
Carry on south but on the B862, and take the road marked “Loch Ruthven Nature Reserve”. This area of water is a very special place for bird watchers. It is home to half the UK’s population of the Slavonian grebe, a beautiful and colourful bird. It is also very rare, but this area is an excellent place to spot one without causing any disturbance.
Continue eastward from Loch Ruthven before heading north onto the B851. Turn left when you get to a sign pointing towards Dunlichity. Follow this road until you reach a junction opposite a walled churchyard. This is your next destination.
It is an innocuous looking graveyard but holds a fascinating chance to touch history with your fingertips. This is a fascinating site in its own right, with a watchtower to protect against graverobbers built in 1820. However, this graveyard holds another secret.
The graveyard was where many soldiers met, before departing to the Battle of Culloden. At this point, they knew most of them would never return home. However, the wanted to give themselves the best chance of survival, and so sharpened their swords on some of the brick wall that surrounded the cemetery. Amazingly, the marks the swords made are still visible today, and by touching them you can stand in the footsteps and feel a connection with the men who were about to fight to their deaths on a battlefield many miles away.
Cows and canals
Hungry for lunch? Heading west towards Loch Duntelchaig and you will eventually rejoin the B852 alongside Loch Ness again. Keep an eye out by the roadside for a monument to geologist James Bryce. A wonderful place to stop for lunch is The Camerons Tea Room and Farm Shop, near Foyes. You might even get a chance to get up close with the highland cows and deer who live on the farm!
This is also a great opportunity to visit the Falls of Foyers. Admire a gorgeous 140ft waterfall which plunges into a gorge leading towards Loch Ness.
Enjoy the views of Loch Ness as you continue to its most southerly tip, and enter Fort Augustus. Famous for its beautiful river and canal and locks, it’s a great place to wander and buy those all-important souvenirs for friends back home.
Enjoying the South Side of Loch Ness
And that concludes your Loch Ness tour of the south side! This has only scratched the surface of the many sights to see along the area. If you have time, it’s a wonderful place to stop and explore your surroundings.
Perhaps you’ll see a Golden Eagle or deer? It’s a beautiful area, and you are sure to appreciate the sheer beauty of this wild side of the Highlands when you visit Loch Ness. Find out a bit more about the activities available in the area by looking at our itineraries page.