• Meghan Bartok

Loch Ness & the Scottish Highlands – a day trip from Edinbugh

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

If you read my first Scotland blog post, you know that I went to Edinburgh in May of 2016. If you didn’t read it already, you can check it out here! While we were in Edinburgh, my friend Luke and I decided we wanted to go up to the Scottish Highlands to try our hand at looking for Nessie! Not really, but we had heard the Highlands were beautiful and our decision the take the three-hour train journey from Edinburgh was made when we found return train tickets for less than £10! On the morning of our second day in Scotland, we were up early and on the train headed up to Inverness. The views on the way up there were incredible and sparked my desire to spend more time there later on in life (especially to hike the West Highland Way!)

After walking around Inverness for a little bit, we caught the bus down to Drumnadrochit, which is about halfway down Loch Ness. We really had no idea what we were going to do for the day, so we just decided to wing it and see what we stumbled across. We walked along the Loch for a while, passing the ruins of the Urquhart Castle. The Loch itself is beautiful – definitely, a glacial lake, surrounded by rolling emerald green hills. The Highlands are so rural, and it has this quaint charm to it that made me want to go back to spend more time there camping and hiking. I love anywhere with bodies of water, and lots of trees and green grass, so the area around Loch Ness fit the bill perfectly. The weather was beautiful, warm enough that I took my flannel off as we walked and enjoyed some rare Scottish sunshine.

As we were walking we found a path down to the shores of Loch Ness, where there was a small pebble beach with mossy banks and overhanging trees. We ended up sitting down there to eat lunch, take a bunch of photos, and talk for a while. Hanging out there, wading in Loch Ness, remains, to this day, one of my very favorite travel memories.  After we were done with our lunch break, we kept on walking back towards the town – stopping on the way for a much-needed Calippo (popsicle) before continuing on the beautiful walking trails that took us past a creek and through some glens. Then we caught the bus back to Inverness so we could walk around the city and check it out until we had to be on the train back to Edinburgh.

Inverness, ‘the gateway to the Highlands’, is a smaller city, and still has the charm of a small town. We walked along the banks of the River Ness, passing Inverness Castle, which now houses the Sheriff Court, and the Old High Church, which is the oldest church in Inverness. It was a very pretty and rather quiet city, but a great jumping-off place to check out the Highland region (and apparently it is also ranked as one of the best places to live in the UK!) We spent the last bit of our time there walking around the shopping mall – they have an American sweet shop there, and I always love looking around those to see what other places consider ‘American’. I did give in and buy an Arizona Arnold Palmer, which was definitely worth the £2. Then we bought some snacks for the train ride home and sadly it was time for us to leave the Highlands.

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