Loch Ness boat trip (optional)
After leaving Inverness it is possible to take an optional 30 minute boat trip on Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle. Onboard, learn about the legend of Loch Ness and it’s infintble monster ‘Nessie’ before arriving at Urquhart Castle near Drumnadrochit.
Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, only a few parts of Urquhart remain standing today, but they provide an incredible insight into the important history of Loch Ness. The fort was built sometime during the middle of the 13th century, although there may have been another large fort on the site in the past.
The castle was seized by Edward I of England in 1296. Later in the period, it was held alternately by Scottish and English forces. John Grant was given the castle and the lands of Glen Urquhart adjacent to it by James IV in 1509.
Following their defeat during the Jacobite uprising of 1688, the Grants opposed the rebellious Jacobites at the castle, butafter their defeat, government troops occupied the site. After the rebels were defeated in 1692, its walls were blown up as to prevent it from being occupied again.
Fort Augustus is a picturesque village that sits at the southern end of Loch Ness on the Caledonian Canal. Enjoy watching boats traversing the locks, designed by prolific Scottish engineer Thomas Telford in 1822, and soak up the relaxed atmosphere.
The Commando Memorial is a Category A listed monument which has been built in memory of the men who served in the British Commando Forces during World War II. Around one mile from Spean Bridge, the memorial overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot, a military training facility established by the Royal Navy in the early 1940s at Achnacarry Castle. The location has fantastic views over the Nevis range to Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the Uk.
Highland Folk Museum
Founded in 1935, The Highland Folk Museum is an open air museum, most famous for “Baile Gean” Township, an authentic Highland crofting village recreated to look like it would have looked in 1700. Traditional methods were used to construct the houses, barns, and other buildings, and most of them are furnished. The township is brought to life by re-enactors and livestock wandering around, and many of the houses have central peat fires that are left burning all day long. In Gaelic, “Baile Gean” means Township of Goodwill, but it never existed. The settlement does, however, closely resemble Easter Raitts village which stood on a slope of the Spey Valley until abandoned in the 1800s.
Right at the heart of The Cairngorm National Park is Loch Morlich, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Step onto the shores of the loch and witness panoramic views to Cairngorm Mountain. Crisp pine forrest borders the loch and the area abounds with wildlife.
Boat of Garten
On the return leg towards Inverness we’ll stop at Boat of Garten village on the River Spey. Built as a halt on the old Highland Railway, it is frequently possible to see a steam-hauled heritage train that runs on part of the original tracks from Aviemore to Broomhill.