- Additional Info
- 5 Nights Accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast Basis
- Mountain Bike Hire
- Luggage transfers
- Travel Insurance
- Items of a personal Nature
- Entrances to attractions
Loch Ness continues to enjoy worldwide recognition even though it’s most famous resident has been extremely camera shy in recent years. The north of Scotland is divided from coast to coast by the Great Glen, a geological fault line which has been further eroded by successive ice ages. Loch Ness occupies roughly half of this Great Glen filling a stretch 23 miles / 37km long and nearly 2 miles / 3km wide with up to 750ft / 230m of cold dark water.
The Loch Ness 360 cycle route follows quiet country roads and off-road trails by the shore of Loch Ness and into the hills and forest that rise above it. It is not a technically challenging route, but it is hilly, and baggage transfer will make for a much more enjoyable trip. A mountain bike is essential.
Day 1 Arrive Inverness:
Check in to your accommodation and explore Inverness. There are several good pubs and restaurants. The Castle Tavern is always very popular, and you might want to make a booking with Rocpool Rendezvous as a treat on your return at the end of the week.
Day 2 Inverness to Foyers:
20 miles / 1394ft | 32km / 425m
After breakfast, collect your bikes and cycle from Inverness at the mouth of the River Ness and head south-west along the signposted cycle route number 78. The route passes along quiet farm roads, and the profile of The Great Glen soon looms on the horizon. Loch Ness appears for the first time as you reach the loch-side village of Dores. Stop off at The Dores Inn for refreshments or an early lunch and take time off the bike to explore the beach on foot. The beach at Dores is home to full-time Nessie Hunter Steve Feltham who has kept a watchful eye on the water since 1991. He’s bound to have clocked up some incredible sightings, right?
Back on the bike, stick to Route 78 and follow the road by the shore. At Inverfarigaig you can again explore on foot through tall conifer trees on waymarked trails. The gorge of Inverfarigaig was cut by meltwater at the end of the last ice age. The Falls of Foyers are easy to find and all the more impressive if it has just rained. Cameron’s Tearoom serves fantastic afternoon teas in a welcoming environment amidst the resident highland cows and deer.
Day 3: Foyers to Fort Augustus
14miles/1407ft | 23km/429m
It’s not the hilliest day today, but there is a big climb to the highest point of the whole 360. Take the waymarked South Loch Ness Trail which follows the river Foyers to the tiny village of Whitebridge. The hotel offers lunches 12-2 pm every day except Mondays. Stick to the South Loch Ness Trail as the track
climbs to the magnificent Suidhe (soo-ee) Viewpoint. The views are truly panoramic, and there are often deer to be seen on the hillside if you look closely. You need a bit of luck to spot a golden eagle, but your best chance is around this point. You’ve earned the long descent past Loch Tarff to Fort Augustus. The village was initially called Kiliwhimin but became known as Fort Augustus after the 1715 Jacobite uprising when a military base was built here and named after the Duke of Cumberland. The fort is long gone, but today the village bustles with visitors catching a cruise on Loch Ness or watching boats pass through the locks on the Caledonian Canal. If you’ve still got energy to burn, you can explore the paths by the canal. Following Great Glen Way signs to Loch Oich and back adds a further 10miles / 16km to the day.
Day 4 Fort Augustus to Drumnadrochit:
22 miles / 3257ft | 35km / 993m
The Great Glen Way is a coast to coast path linking Fort William on
the west coast with Inverness on the east, and you’ll follow this
waymarked trail the rest of the way. Today is not quite the longest, but it has the most hills, so an extra-large bowl of porridge at breakfast is a good idea. Set off early, take it steady and remember that most visitors to Loch Ness won’t have earned the views that you have. The village of Invermoriston provides refreshment before the three big hills of the day. Drumnadrochit is a great wee village with a great choice of pubs and restaurants. Urquhart Castle is close by, and you should plan a couple of hours for a visit on arrival or first thing the following morning. If you’re still looking for evidence of Nessie, the Loch
Ness Centre and Exhibition is an excellent place to start.
Day 5: Drumnadrochit to Inverness
23 miles / 2043ft | 37km / 623m
It’s slightly longer today, but only one significant climb and the payoff is an excellent descent towards Inverness, and that’s the bit you’ll remember. Along the way you’ll find Abriachan Forest a community-owned woodland with blue and green graded mountain bike trails. You can play here safe in the knowledge that the hard work is behind you and refreshments are available at the nearby Eco Cafe and Campsite. Sandra and Howie offer a unique fresh air dining experience that’s off-the-beaten-path. When you reach Inverness, you’ll meet the Caledonian Canal again and pass through the beautiful forested Ness Islands before completing your Loch Ness 360 at Inverness Castle. Drop off your bikes and enjoy your last evening in Inverness.
Day 6: Departure
After breakfast departure Inverness in your own time.
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