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Loch Ness

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Loch Ness

Loch Ness
With Urquhart Castle in the foreground
Location Highland, Scotland
Type freshwater loch, oligotrophic, dimictic
Primary inflows River Oich/Caledonian Canal, River Moriston, River Foyers, River Enrick, River Coilte
Primary outflows River Ness/Caledonian Canal
Catchment area 1,770 km2 (685 sq mi)
Basin countries Scotland
Max. length 36.2 km (22.5 mi)
Max. width 2.7 km (1.7 mi)
Surface area 56 km2 (21.8 sq mi)
Average depth 132 m (433 ft)
Max. depth 226.96 m (744.6 ft)
Water volume 7.5 km3 (1.8 cu mi)
Surface elevation 15.8 m (52 ft)
Islands 1 (Cherry Island)
Settlements Fort Augustus, Invermoriston, Drumnadrochit, Abriachan, Lochend; Whitebridge, Foyers, Inverfarigaig, Dores.
Loch Ness is located in Scotland
Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Location in Scotland

Loch Ness (; Scottish Gaelic: Loch Nis, ) is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 23 miles (37 km) southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 52 ft (16 m) above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie". It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil. Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area at 22 sq mi (56 km2) after Loch Lomond, but due to its great depth, it is the largest by volume. Its deepest point is 755 ft (230 m),[1][2] making it the second deepest loch in Scotland after Loch Morar. It contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined,[2] and is the largest body of water on the Great Glen Fault, which runs from Inverness in the north to Fort William in the south.

Villages and places

Places on Loch Ness
Shores Western Eastern

At Drumnadrochit is the "Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition"[3] which examines the natural history and legend of Loch Ness. Boat cruises operate from various locations on the loch shore, giving visitors the chance to look for the "monster".

Urquhart Castle is located on the western shore, 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Drumnadrochit.

Lighthouses are located at Lochend (Bona Lighthouse) and Fort Augustus.


Loch Ness is the alleged home of the Loch Ness Monster (also known as "Nessie"), a cryptid, reputedly a large unknown animal. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next. Popular interest and belief in the animal's existence has varied since it was first brought to the world's attention in 1933.

Fish species

Urquhart Bay and Loch Ness viewed from Grant's Tower at Urquhart Castle.
European eel Anguilla anguilla
Northern pike Esox lucius
White sturgeon Acipenser transmontanus
Three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus
Brook lamprey Lampetra planeri
Eurasian minnow Phoxinus phoxinus
Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
Sea trout Salmo trutta
Brown trout Salmo trutta
Arctic char Salvelinus alpinus


The only island on Loch Ness is Cherry Island, visible at its southwestern end, near Fort Augustus. It is a crannog, which is a form of artificial island.[4] Most crannogs were constructed during the Iron Age.

There was formerly a second island (Dog Island) which was submerged when the water level was raised during the construction of the Caledonian Canal.[4]


Loch Ness serves as the lower storage reservoir for the Foyers pumped-storage hydroelectric scheme, which was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. The turbines were originally used to provide power for a nearby aluminium smelting plant, but now electricity is generated and supplied to the National Grid. Another scheme, the 100 MW Glendoe Hydro Scheme near Fort Augustus, began generation in June 2009 producing 76 gigawatt hours in its first months of operation[5], It was out of service between 2009 and 2012 for repair of the tunnels connecting the reservoir to the turbines[6][7]


Loch Ness lies along the Great Glen Fault, which forms a line of weakness in the rocks which has been excavated by glacial erosion, forming the Great Glen and the basins of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness.


Loch Ness records

John Cobb lost his life in an attempt at the water speed record when his boat Crusader struck a wake on the surface of the loch in 1952.

On 31 August 1974, David Scott Munro, of Ross-shire Caberfeidh Water Ski Club, became the first person in the world to water ski (mono ski) the length of Loch Ness. From Lochend to Fort Augustus and back, he covered the 48 miles (77 km) in 77 minutes at an average speed of 37 miles per hour (60 km/h).[8]

Brenda Sherratt was the first person to swim 22 12 miles (36.2 km) along the length of Loch Ness in Scotland in 31 hours and 27 minutes in July 1966.


  1. ^ "Bathymetrical Survey of the Fresh-Water Lochs of Scotland, 1897–1909".  
  2. ^ a b "Ness, Loch". The Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  3. ^ "The Loch Ness Centre". 
  4. ^ a b Blundell, O. (1909). Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 43. pp. 159–164. 
  5. ^ "Glendoe Hydro scheme".  
  6. ^ "Hydro-electric scheme's dam close".  
  7. ^ "SSE Glendoe". 
  8. ^ Press & Journal newspaper. Inverness edition. 2 September 1974. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Loch Ness travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Loch Ness information Website, Editor Tony Harmsworth
  • Loch Ness Project Research Site, Editor Adrian Shine
  • Loch Ness Investigation website, Editor Dick Raynor
  • Loch Ness Pictures
  • Virtual Tour of Loch Ness and surrounding area
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