Loch Ness - Nessie
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Loch Ness and Inverness

Loch Ness and Inverness
Via Loch Ness to Inverness – Routing

The highlight of today’s stage is certainly Loch Ness. But before we get there, we want to have a look around the Cairngorms. That’s why we first turn left at Aviemore and drive steadily upwards through a wonderful landscape. At the end of the road, a relatively large car park awaits us, which is already quite full. But what are all these people doing up here?

Well, probably the same as us! It’s the Cairngorm Mountain Resort and there’s a funicular railway here, a kind of inclined lift that takes you almost all the way to the summit, where the Ptarmigan Restaurant awaits us. Unfortunately, just like us, the other visitors don’t seem to have realised that the Funicular Railway is not in operation during the summer season – apparently it’s already summer! – is not in operation due to renovation work. What a disappointment!

So back on the road towards Fort Williams. We make good progress at first, but once the road is dual carriageway again, we dawdle around a little too slowly. Another pick-up truck overtakes us and after the next bend a policeman stops us. No, we haven’t done anything wrong, except that we were too slow. In front of us is a low loader with a huge excavator on top, completely blocking the road. The pick-up truck that had just overtaken us was probably the last car allowed to pass.

All right, we’ll just creep along behind the vehicle. And sneaking is to be taken literally here. After many kilometres with plenty of time to take in the scenery, a policeman finally guides us past the heavy goods vehicle and we follow the River Spean downstream.

Our next destination is the lock stairs of the Caleonian Canal near Banavie. This has been nicknamed “Neptune’s Staircase”. And really: we are lucky enough to be in the middle of an upward lockage process. Three sailing ships want to sail from Fort Williams to Loch Ness and on into the North Sea. To do this, they have to climb the eight steps, which is watched with interest by a number of spectators.

We follow the canal in the direction of Loch Ness and turn off at the south-western tip of Loch Ness onto the smaller road on the south-eastern shore, which takes us up to an altitude of almost 600 metres. Shortly after the bridge over the River Foyers, we turn left and follow the small river. We get out at a bend in the river and enjoy the romantic surroundings.

A few kilometres further on, every travel guide promises us a spectacular waterfall. Of course we have to see it! So we stop and trudge the 800 metres downhill to a viewpoint! And then we try to catch the spectacular view that we came here for. But in reality, the impressive waterfall consists of a small rivulet that trickles into an almost black mountain lake that is really worth seeing.

After the steep climb, we treat ourselves to a small drink and Gerald to a mighty milkshake, which keeps him busy digesting for a few more hours!

Now all we have to do is visit the Loch Ness Visitor Centre and spend a few minutes looking for the monster. That’s all we have to do and we drive the remaining few kilometres to Inverness, where we check into the Columba Hotel. Here we are served a reasonably good dinner after a tour of the town.

Afterwards, we play a few rounds of sheepshead, a typical bavarian card game, before having a nightcap in Inverness’ oldest pub, the Gellion. This evening Max MacPherson plays live music there and the atmosphere is quite authentic and cosy. But even a great evening comes to an end at some point, so we say goodbye for the night.

Good night!

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