The Loch Ness Bus Tour: Scotland’s Can’t Miss Excursion

After traveling around Scotland, we decided a Loch Ness bus tour is the can’t miss excursion. Scenic views of the Scottish highlands, light hikes, and exploration of charming local towns will fill your day. 

The most common bus tours of Loch Ness depart from Edinburgh and Inverness. The all day trip from Edinburgh is very popular. However the distance between the two is over three and a half hours. Inverness to Loch Ness on the other hand is less than a half hour. This leaves plenty of time for sightseeing and exploring.

What Makes The Loch Ness Tour a Great Tour 

I am a tour loving traveler. You’d be hard pressed to find a tour that I didn’t enjoy. However what really puts a tour over the edge, into the elite category, would be a stellar tour guide and great people on the tour. Well, a stellar tour guide and great people is exactly what we got on our Loch Ness bus tour. 

We had a small group, around 20 people and right off the bat our guide broke the ice by asking everyone where they were traveling from and what brought them to Inverness. Our group was filled with people from across the UK. Some were there on a couple’s trip, others there while they were waiting for their new job to start. If I could give one piece of advice to people who are traveling, it would be, talk to people. Talk to your guides, talk to other tourists, and talk to the locals. The conversations and stories will not only grant insight and perspective but also change the way you view the world. 

Loch Ness Bus Tour View of the Loch

What put Loch Ness on the map was the folklore of the mysterious Loch Ness Monster.  Whether you believe in the tale of the creature that lurks the waters or not, you’ll quickly realize that the backdrop to these stories is the most breathtaking lake that spans for 23 miles and is surrounded by rolling mountains. 

Which brings us to our first stop, a picture perfect view down the length of Loch Ness that you will have to stop and admire. However this picture perfect view is accompanied by a very interesting RV, home to a man named Steve Feltham. In 1991, Felthman travel to the Loch on holiday with his girlfriend where he found the place so beautiful that he decided then and there it was his life’s mission to hunt down the Loch Ness monster. Feltham, bought an RV, parked it and has been on the lookout ever since. 

The Loch Ness Monster

This is a great place to dive into the lore of the loch’s greatest mystery, the Loch Ness Monster. The myth of the large marine creature dates back to ancient times and still holds strong today. Though many believe it is just a myth and there is no actual water monster lurking in Loch Ness there are plenty that believe it is real, including Felthman and a team of Nessie Hunters. That’s right. There is a whole team whose mission is to find Nessie, and to this day they use sonar equipment to scan the deep waters of Loch Ness.

If you don’t know much about the Loch Ness monster and you’re visiting the area, you’re in luck. Any Tour that you take around the lake will be sure to fill you in on all the stories, sightings (real and fake), and all the funny stories that go along with the continued effort to hunt down this monster.

Light Hikes

If you aren’t a hiker, no fear!  The tour excursions will consist of short walks, a few stairs, and great views of waterfalls, mountains and wildlife. Not only is Loch Ness beautiful, but the charming Scottish highlands surround it.  

On one of our stops we spotted salmon making their way upstream, attempting to jump up the waterfalls. I quickly came to realize that this was a very calming and delightful spot and apparently others thought so too. There, along the stream was a gazebo built in, I’d estimate, in the 1700/1800. This quaint gazebo was a spot for the “ladies” to watch the salmon and other wildlife while giving them protection from the sun and rain. 

Fort Augustus

On our trip around the Loch we stopped at Fort Augustus for lunch. If you’re visiting Loch Ness on your own and spending the night, this is the place to be. Fort Augustus is located right on the water with the canal going through the village. Since there’s plenty of water access your days can be filled with boat rides, kayaking and hiking the surrounding terrain. 

For us, we escaped Scotland’s persistent drizzle and chatted with our new friends from the tour while enjoying fish and chips next to the crackling fire of The Lock Inn. Once again, I always find that good company can make a great experience the most memorable experience of the trip.  We all spent the next two hours getting to know each other and discussing the differences of our countries, from what we learned in school to popular places to go “on holiday”. After lunch we still had one last adventure: a boat rideout to Castle Urquhart.

Castle Urquhart – The Last Loch Ness Bus Tour Stop

The beautiful castle that overlooks the waters of Loch Ness was not only a beauty but also highly sought after between the 12th and 17th centuries. Over the years, Castle Urquhart passed between hands many times. In 1692, it was blown up by its occupants to prevent others from using the fortress. 

For us, the round trip out to the castle was about an hour. As the drizzle carried on outside, we warmed up inside with hot chocolates and more lively conversations. Luckily there are plenty of windows for everyone to enjoy the view while taking shelter from the rain. Unfortunately, with the tour we were on, we weren’t able to get off the boat to go explore the ruins. However walking the castle grounds is definitely an option for those making the trip without a tour group. Nevertheless the views and history of Urquhart Castle were a fascinating part of our trip to Loch Ness. 

Heading Home

After a long day of exploring, learning and site seeing, our Loch Ness bus tour wrapped up and headed back. If you made the trip to Loch Ness from Inverness, there is only a 30 minute bus ride back before you are walking the town, settling into a pub for dinner and enjoying the live music that fills the city. 

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