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Highland Tour company achieves Top Accolade.
Highland Experience Tours have been awarded 5 Stars by the National Visitscotland Tourism Board, the highest possible grade available. Michael Bremner, a Director of HE said, "It is a testament to all the hard work our staff have put in over the last year, and we are delighted with our award. Now the customer can be assured of a first class product and service on any of our Highland Experience Tours".
The family run "Drum Hotel" ... Offers you a very warm and friendly visit to the Highlands of Scotland. Whether you are arriving by car, bus, cycling or walking the Great Glen Way, the hotel caters for all needs. 29 rooms ...Book now >>
Award Winning Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition 17 Language translations and 11 language narrations. A hi-tech multi-media presentation leads you through 7 themed areas and through 500 million years of history. More >>
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Loch Ness Information
There is so much Loch Ness information out there - so many websites churning out the same old information time after time. Loch Ness is over 700 feet deep - it is 22 miles long and holds more water than ... blah blah blah. We know what you really need is answers to your questions - fast and without the waffle. Many Loch Ness Information websites are merely concerned with promoting their business and for this reason, the very information you are searching for is often missing.
Our aim in creating this Loch Ness info page, which will build over the coming months, is to give you answers to your everyday questions, and provide the information you need in plain language. Some of the questions here we are asked year after year by visitors to Loch Ness and the Highlands, we even mention the dreaded Scottish Midge!
For speed and ease of use we have divided our Loch Ness information page into easily identifiable sections so you can quickly find the information you are looking for. If you want info on Loch Ness cruises, for example, you will quickly find answers in the cruise info section. You will find answers to questions like, "can I get a mobile phone signal at Loch Ness?" - in the Q&A tab (online shortly). Other more involved subject matter is given its own page, in order to more fully impart the information on that particular subject.
If you plan to visit Loch Ness or seek information about Loch Ness and you can't find it here, we would like to hear from you so that we can build our info pages for the benefit of others.
Loch Ness Q & A
Can I get a signal on my mobile phone at Loch Ness?
- Yes, but some places around the Loch are more difficult and I have seen men standing on all manner of pedestals in an attempt to get a good signal!
Where can we see wildlife?
- It's all around you, and depends what type of wildlife you want to see, there are lots of information leaflets wildlife tours and attractions in the Loch Ness area, as it is principally a nature lovers paradise. You will find a wealth of information in the Hotel and other tourist information centres at Loch Ness.
What is there for children to do?
- You will find that children in this rural environment are in their element just splashing about, throwing stones in the loch climbing trees and doing all the things that kids love to do, and the great thing about it is it doesn’t cost you a thing! In bad weather there is a wide choice of indoor activities for kids and families in Inverness and of course the Loch Ness Exhibition is a great way to spend some quality time with the family.
We have been thinking of coming to Loch Ness for a holiday but we are concerned about Midges, are they likely to cause us problems?
- Well it partly depends when you plan to come and what type of holiday you want. Generally speaking midges are less problematic around Loch Ness than some other areas of Scotland. There is some useful information about midges on this page (see tabs above) along with some hints and tips from local experts in helping you to avoid them.
What is best way to get around during our holiday?
- There are buses to all villages but they are not frequent so it is advisable to either bring your car or hire a car as so many places around the Loch are off the beaten track.
What is the weather like in the Highlands?
- Just like in the south, but a couple of degrees cooler, altitude has the greatest effect on the temperature that’s why you can walk in snowfields even when the lowlands are basking in hot sun.
Does the Loch Ness Monster really exist?
- Of course that's why we have live web cams on Loch Ness watching out for her, though few people have had the privilege of spotting Nessie. Some folk say that she is just a gimmick to bring in tourists, but we say The Loch Ness Monster was seen many times over the centuries way before tourists arrived!
Where can I see the Loch Ness Monster?
- At the Drumnadrochit Hotel in the pond!
Loch Ness Information - Scottish Midges
For those of you planning a visit to Scotland in the Autumn Winter or Spring you will be happy to know you almost certainly won't get to encounter Midges!
For those of you planning a summer holiday in Scotland, you will no doubt have heard about the dreaded Scottish Midge or Culicoides. Generally speaking, most tourist operators forget to mention minor things! like Midges, Mosquito's, Ticks etc. But by coming clean we hope that "forewarned is forearmed", and that by telling you a bit about midges habits and life cycle you will know how best to avoid midge attacks. Incidentally, I have never seen a mosquito here at Loch Ness.
The Midges reputation is, in our honest opinion worse than their bite! and just by taking a few simple precautions, your holiday or stay in Scotland will not be disrupted by them. The first time you encounter them you will probably just feel itchy as the bites are not painful just irritating, and they are so small you can hardly see them. Everyone has different reaction to Midge bites, some hardly notice they have been bitten with not even so much as a red spot, whilst others have a reaction rather like a rash.
It is only the female midge which bites, and of the thirty odd species of midge in Scotland, one in particular is responsible for most of the attacks on humans, Culicoides impunctatus.
They are not usually a problem in this area of Loch Ness, as it tends to be drier here on the south side of the Loch. Yes, we do get some, but not as many as some other areas in Scotland, and midge populations vary from year to year, mostly due to the weather conditions during the breeding season.
Normally we first start to notice midges in early June and they can be around right up to the end of October. There are exceptions to this but it is broadly true.
Midges Love ...
Tourists especially unprepared ones!! they also like cool, shady, calm conditions and are most active early morning and evenings. Wet summers helps their breeding cycle, with a resulting increase in numbers. Armed with a little knowledge, you should be able to minimize the inconvenience to your holidays in Scotland and enjoy the "Great Scottish outdoors" relatively free of them. Below is a few tips and precautions you can take to avoid them altogether, or at least to minimize their nuisance factor.
Midges Hate ...
If you want to spend time fishing, birdwatching, painting, etc or other sedate pastimes, and do not want to use chemical repellants, there is some excellent protective clothing on the market that we know from first hand experience are good and really do work.
There are now commercially available machines which are very effective in attracting midges, and hence reducing their numbers around patios and outdoor sitting places, such as open air restaurants etc. they run on Calor gas and the midges are attracted to the machine which gives out a Bovine scent, apparently highly desirable to a Midge. Some self catering cottage owners in high risk areas are now using these machines in a bid to help you enjoy the outdoor life even during the height of the midge season.
To update the above, we have this year seen how effective these midge machines are and we have sat in high midge population area completely free of midges. we have not invested in one because we are not in a problem area but it is a good idea when booking accommodation to ask if these calor gas driven midge machines are in use, it could make all the difference to your holiday.
If all these precautions fail to work, or you cannot avoid high risk situations then it is time to get out the repellant, we have found Boots Midge repellant gel to be excellent and has a lasting effect, but there are other equally effective products on the market. And for those of you that are reluctant to use chemical repellants you could try Herbal repellant www.stopbite.com made with Bog Myrtle, (a plant which grows readily in the Scottish Highlands) and is not tested on animals, we have not personally tried this product so you might let us know how good it is if you decide to try it. So come on! No need to spend any time at all worrying about midges, you now know how to beat them, or should I say, live with them. Here's to midge free days in the Scottish hills!
We have recently come across a product that some locals have been using for years, we tried it and it is an excellent midge repellant and it is actually nice to use on your skin. It must be the best keps secret in the fight against midges. the product is called, Skin So Soft, it is produced by Avon and its use against midges was, it seems a complete accident! have a look on their website www.avon.uk.com
This section applies mostly to dog owners, but also occasionally to humans. In areas where sheep and deer graze, and that applies to most of the hills and forests in the Highlands, you will find ticks. They find their host by climbing up a blade of grass or heather, and when a host brushes past, they jump aboard.
You may see one on your dog - it looks like a black speck of dirt (with legs!) in the early stages and when it finds a suitable place on the dog, it starts to feed, and as it feeds it can fill up almost to the size of a small beige coloured pea. If left, it will then drop off and neither you nor your dog will have known it was ever there - it is quite painless but can be itchy. If you do find one though, you should remove it at the earliest opportunity. To do this, you can use tweezers, grip the body and gently twist and pull the tick out, taking care not to leave the head in or it could turn septic, though we have never known this to happen, it normally it just forms scab and falls off. Alternatively, smear Vaseline or dab whisky over the tick. It should soon drop out. To ease the itchiness, treat with anti-histamine, such as Boots Sting relief.
We are sometimes approached by distressed dog owners because Fido has picked up a tick or two after rolling about in the heather. This is more often during the summer when ticks sit on the tops of plants and grass waiting for Fido to come along. ( but more likely they would prefer venison ) There is a simple tool available from most vets and pet shops which makes romoving Ticks a breeze, they operate like tweezers in reverse in that you squeeze them and they open.
We would advise you as dog owners coming to the Highlands with your dogs, to visit the vet before you leave home, to get them treated with Frontline tick repellant. We use it on our own dogs regularly and it is simple to apply - just pour the drops of Frontline on to the skin at the back of the dogs neck to keep them totally free of ticks for one month and fleas for up to two months. You can then spend your holiday romping through forest and glen without any nasty surprises when you get home!
Loch Ness Circumnavigated
The information here is not so much about accommodation, but more about what you can expect to find when you arrive at your chosen destination and a snippet or two of information about the villages around Loch Ness.
There are very few villages actually on the shores of Loch Ness, the whole Great Glen area being primarily rural. South Loch Ness is especially quiet with only B roads which run the entire length of the quiet south side. Generally this side appeals to those seeking solitude and looking for wildlife and lone wandering.
Dores is a small village at the north end of the loch you might call it the northern gateway to south Loch Ness. There are a couple of B&B establishments and a couple of holiday cottages here, no shops! But there is one excellent pub on the lochside which is legendary for its meals.
Inverfarigaig, 8 miles from Dores down the south side with a couple of B&Bs and a holiday cottage or two. Lots of walking forest trails, but no shops!
Foyers 3 miles further south from Inverfarigaig, with a famous waterfall. There is a shop! Post office and tea room, and a limited amount of accommodation. These include Bed and Breakfasts and holiday cottages, and a hotel and 2 guesthouses.
Whitebridge 6 miles south of Foyers if you are not alert you might pass through Whitebridge without noticing! There is a holiday park with quality lodges and a hotel at Whitebridge.
There is an alternative scenic route which runs through the higher ground parallel to the Loch Ness side road, it branches at Dores & runs through Torness Errogie and Gorthleck in that order from north to south. There are no shops or filling stations on this road for its entire 23 miles and views of Loch Ness are not possible.
Fort Augustus is at the extreme southern tip of Loch Ness - a picturesque little village with a selection of small shops pubs and restaurants. There is a tourist information office and a good selection of accommodation. Here you round the southern end of the loch and start up the busy northern side. The A82 takes the lions share of traffic to Inverness.
Invermoriston: This small village with a post office, shops, hotels, pub and other accommodation, is located between Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus and is at the junction between the A82 & the A887 road to the West Coast & the Isle of Skye. Limited accommodation here but picturesque so worth looking for information.
Drumnadrochit is the largest village on Loch Ness and offers more or less every facility for tourists, including a tourist information centre with a FREE car park! shops, bars, restaurants and of course and excellent and informative Loch Ness Monster Exhibition The village enjoys a vibrant seasonal tourist trade that attracts over 200,000 visitors a year and yet still manages to keep its village feel. Situated on the junction of the A831 through Glenurquhart to Glen Affric makes it a good base for outdoor pursuits. There is a good choice of accommodation at Drumnadrochit the Nessie capital of Loch Ness.
Abriachan is a small scattered rural community of about 120 people set above the shores of Loch Ness, half way between Inverness and Drumnadrochit and is on the route of the Great Glen Way little in the way of accommodation and no shops here.
Lochend as its name suggests is at the northern end Loch Ness, just across the bay from Dores village. About seven miles from Inverness on the A82, Lochend completes our circumnavigation of the famous Lake.