Get acquainted with two well-known Scottish destinations on this tour that showcases Loch Ness, home of Scotland's best loved legend, the `Loch Ness Monster` - and Inverness, the `Capital of the Highlands`.
Traveling from Invergordon to Dingwall and Beauly, the Highland hills, rich in plants and wildlife serve as a backdrop to the Cromarty Firth. Sit back and enjoy the lovely scenery of typical Scottish glens, each with its own charm as you take this scenic route towards Loch Ness.
Loch Ness is world famous, thanks to Nessie, although the possible existence of the monster is still a matter of considerable speculation. However, setting aside whisky-induced hallucinations, and wishful-thinking sightings, many eye witness accounts of Nessie come from people whose honesty and integrity are beyond doubt. No matter how logical one is, it is impossible to drive alongside Loch Ness without hopefully scouring the dark waters.
The loch is also extremely beautiful, long and narrow, with steep wooded banks and a depth of 900 feet in parts. Navigating your way through the village of Drumnadrochit, it's on to Urquhart Castle for a visit. Urquhart Castle was built both as a fortress and as a residence and in war-time, its strategic military position provided the lord and those under his protection with as secure a defense as it was possible to achieve. Through its 500-year history, Urquhart Castle has witnessed a considerable amount of warlike activity, figuring prominently in the Scots` struggle for independence from England in the fourteenth century. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the castle and glen were frequently raided and plundered, chiefly by the Macdonald lords of the Isles; and the Castle was last inhabited by government troops during the Jacobite troubles in the 1690`s. Sadly, In 1692 it was blown up to save it from the Jacobites and today, a jagged keep rises from crumbling walls against a lovely backdrop of loch and rolling hills. The pathway from the bus park down to the lower level of the castle is fairly steep in parts; however, visitors can remain on the upper level and obtain good panoramic views and photo opportunities.
Following your visit to Urquhart Castle, you'll next travel alongside Loch Ness and into Inverness for a brief panoramic tour. Its sheltered position beside the sea made Inverness a natural place for trade to develop and it has been an important center from earliest times. Leaving behind the bustle of Inverness, where a few minutes walk from the shops, anglers cast for salmon and trout, you'll cross the modern and elegant Kessock Bridge which spans the Beauly Firth, and links the Northern and Southern Highlands.
Your return to the ship begins by crossing Black Isle with its gentle rolling sweep of green farmland, and then follows alongside Cromarty Firth to reach Invergordon.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 3/4 hours of walking, at times over uneven ground, as well as a significant number of steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and is not considered suitable for those guests with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested. Guests should be prepared for the possibility of rain. The order of sites visited may vary.