Loch Ness is one of the most well-known places in all of Scotland. Located in the Highlands, the loch is the second largest lake in the country, spanning almost 23 miles long and reaching depths of up to 755 feet, and surrounded by beautiful landscapes of hills and trees. It is also the site of maybe the most notable attraction around the loch, the Urquhart Castle, which has beautiful views that overlook Loch Ness.
However, many will know that’s not what made the loch so famous. Loch Ness is infamous for the sighting of the Loch Ness Monster, which was affectionately named Nessie. Though records show claims of monster sightings dating back to the 6th century, the monster grabbed international attention in 1934 when a photograph, known as the “Surgeon’s photograph,” showed the creature’s head and long neck protruding out of the lake.
There have been many theories to what the creature could be, the popular suggestion was that it could be something like a plesiosaur, a dinosaur with a long neck and flippers for swimming. After years of searching and research, however, Nessie has yet to be discovered.
Before we delve further into the monster, lets first take a look at the Urquhart Castle. For us, we drove about two hours from the Oyster Shed the day before to the town of Lewiston, just a few minutes away from the castle, and crashed for the night there. It’s also located 30-35 minutes southwest of the city of Inverness, the capital city of the Highland area.
Note: Along the way, we did pass by the Eilean Donan Castle (photos below), a very picturesque castle during the day but we only could take a look at night with lights illuminating it.
The next morning, we went to check out the Urquhart Castle. We were pretty much the first ones there, as we arrived little earlier than the 9:30 AM opening time and admission for adults was 9 euros. Eventually, a few other people checked out the castle, though no more than 10 people were there at any given time that we were there, which made the visit very serene and peaceful. The castle is actually the third most visited castle in Scotland, but the crowds really die down during the winter time. The receptionist told us during the winter, they sometimes only see as few as 100 visitors a day.
The castle dates back to the 5th century and is one of the largest castles in all of Scotland. It had a very active history spanning the 13th and 16th centuries, which includes enduring several invasions and takeovers between England and Scotland. By the late 16th century, the castle had been blown up so that it could no longer be a military stronghold and then pillaged for materials to the point where the castle is mostly in ruins.
Despite the damaged state of the castle, you can still take the stairs to the top of the Grant Tower, which gives ones of the best views of Loch Ness and the castle grounds. It is still impressive to see the grandness of the entire grounds, but it also makes for some stunning photography with the landscape and sunrise.
As we walked around the castle grounds, we struck up a conversation with the security guard about the Loch Ness Monster. He told us that although the lake has been thoroughly searched and scientific research has 99.875% ruled out the monster from existing, most locals are still hopeful that it’ll one day show up, or until it is 100% conclusive that it can’t be found. At the very least, they want to keep the folklore alive for hopeful tourists and those with an imagination.
We were indeed one of those hopeful ones, regardless of how unlikely it was. After exploring through the castle, we decided to go down to the lakeside if we could get any glimpse of activity on the water surface. When we got there, the lake was very calm, very quaint, but seemed pretty void of any lifeform, especially when temperatures were around below freezing.
We hung around the edge for a couple minutes just to enjoy the peacefulness and take a few photos. It didn’t seem like anything would show up so we started to head to our car. But all of a sudden, we heard a splash of activity on the lake’s surface and turned to see what it was. INCREDIBLY, a creature emerged on the surface in the distance!! I told my brother to quickly grab a shot before it went under and was able to capture the creature on camera! We screamed to other people to look over the lake but by the time anyone else got there, it went back into the depth. But at least we got a photo of the creature. HERE IS THE DEFINITIVE, 1000% COMPLETELY REAL PROOF THAT THERE IS A LOCH NESS MONSTER:
So, there you have it: the legend of the Loch Ness Monster is real! No disputing it whatsoever! (Unless asked for further inspection…which I doubt it…because it’s real…for sure!!)
But if you have no interest in the monster, you can still check out the Urquhart Castle, which is a fantastic place to visit and immerse yourself in Scottish history. Give it a pin if you are inspired to check out Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and even Scotland’s other collection of castles.
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