It seems like our trip is now fast approaching, with our departure date in roughly five months—and boy did January fly!

Last time we were in Scotland, we didn’t really do the whole Loch Ness Monster thing, in favour of spending our time on some activities that were more important to us, and also because we were only passing Loch Ness by.

This time, however, we’ll be staying at Fort Augustus for five nights, and we’ll have kids in tow.

Jacobite Cruises – Contemplation – The Queen’s Cruise

I have my eye on this two hour cruise. It takes us down the Caledonian Canal (or Neptune’s Staircase) so you can experience the full canal and lock experience. This appeals to be because last time we were here we saw Neptune’s Staircase from the Jacobite Train, but also we did the Falkirk Wheel—so knowing how they do it now I’m interested to try out how they did it before.

The cruise takes you down the canal, with views of the Great Glen, and on to Loch Ness. We drove past Loch Ness last trip, and I expect the view is quite different from the water. You can also see Urquhart Castle (which we drove past last time) and Aldourie Castle (which we did not).

There is also a cruise that lands you near Urquhart Castle, but we’re undecided yet whether we’ll visit or not.

Loch Ness and Exhibition Centre

Loch Ness

We did stop in here last trip, mostly because we were passing and we decided not to take a cruise. I got a cute Loch Ness Monster keychain—which has since broken. No, we’re not visiting here again just so I can look for a new keychain….

The Exhibition explores the loch from prehistoric times, considering whether prehistoric creatures could really have survived the Ice Age that created the loch, and the more recent mythology. The legend of the Loch Ness monster goes back to the Celtic tradition of the “water horse” (probably a kelpie, which I have another blog on here), but developed into something new in the 1930s, which spawned a series of hoaxes.

The Exhibition has detailed sections on the efforts to determine if the Loch Ness Monster was real, and you can even see and touch The World’s Smallest Submarine (Machan) responsible for revealing some of the loch’s deepest secrets. It also examines Operation Deepscan, the Timecapsule Science, and Operation Groundtruth and some of the startling things they discovered.

Touring Scotland with Ciara Ballintyne

Ciara Ballintyne is visiting Scotland in 2016 – join her on a virtual tour of Scotland and other parts of Great Britain as she plans her trip. Somewhere you think she should go or stay? Please comment!

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