The deep fault splits the Scottish Highlands diagonally from coast to coast. The bottom of the fault is largely covered with lakes, which are now connected by canals. The stretch between Fort William and Inverness is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland. A 6th century abbey along the way marks the spot where the Irish monk St. Columban allegedly encountered the famous Loch Ness Monster – the first known reference to the mythical beast.
Somberly defiant island castle
This medieval tower house stands on a tiny island in an inlet of Loch Linnhe and has been authentically restored. The picture-perfect silhouette of this gloomy island castle set against a dramatic mountain backdrop has become a popular motif in photographs and movies. The tower house can be reached by foot at low tide or by boat.
Bloodbath and the end of a Scottish dream
In the swamps of Culloden, the dream of the Highlanders of rule over Great Britain came to an end on 16 April 1746. The Battle of Culloden is a turning point in the history of Scotland. Not only did it put an end to the Stuarts' final attempt to assert their claim to the throne, it also marked the demise of traditional Scottish culture and the powerful special position of clan leaders and sealed the integration of the formerly independent country into an English-dominated Great Britain. Today only a lonely tower and a museum remind of the bloodbath.
Scottish Heritage Pass (Culloden Battlefield)
Scotland's most mysterious lake
The lake, which is actually a fjord, is situated in one of the most scenic regions of the British Isles. The second largest lake in Scotland is the biggest body of fresh water in Britain owing to its incredible depth of over 800 feet. The lake is part of the 60 miles long Caledonian Canal, which bisects the Highlands from north to south and joins the four lakes created by the Great Glen geological fault. The man-made sections of the canal were built in the early 19th century. Of course, Loch Ness is less known for its sublime beauty than for the legendary monster of the same name, which was first sighted by the Irish missionary St. Columba in the 6th century, then disappeared for hundreds of years before suddenly reappearing in 1933. Two extensive exhibitions can be found in the nearby town of Drumnadrochit, which provide some useful information on the geological history of the region in addition to a large supply of knickknacks.
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Castle ruins overlooking Loch Ness
These wild and romantic castle ruins overlooking Loch Ness date all the way back to the 6th century. While St. Columban was travelling through Scotland as a missionary, he was allegedly threatened by a monster coming out of Loch Ness (this is the first documented encounter with Nessie). The original fortifications were enlarged in 1230 when the Urquhart Clan saw a need to protect their lands in the area. At the time, the castle was one of the largest in Scotland. Yet since the castle no longer served a military purpose around the year 1600, it was left to become a ruin. Large quantities of stones from its walls and lead from its roof have been found in nearby cottages.
Historic Scotland Explorer Pass
Scottish Heritage Pass