14 Interesting Facts About Loch Ness

It’s one of the most famous lakes in the world because of the alleged sightings of a peculiar creature.

In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about Loch Ness.

1. It’s located in the Scottish Highlands

The most famous historic region in Scotland is referred to as the “Scottish Highlands.” It covers all of the northwest of the country and isn’t very populated.

The region has many mountain ranges and the highest and most famous mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis, is located in this region. Loch Ness is located right in the middle of the Scottish Highlands.

2. Its surface area isn’t really that high

Even though the lake is located in the Scottish Highlands which is basically a mountainous area, the lake itself isn’t located all that high.

One of the most remarkable facts about Loch Ness is that its surface is just 16 meters (52 feet) above sea level. It is, however, surrounded by hills that provide amazing scenery.

facts about Loch Ness scenery
Loch Ness scenery. / Riccardo Speziari / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

3. How did the lake get its name?

There’s a river flowing from the northern end of the lake called the “River Ness,” and the lake got its name from it. Loch is the late 14th-century Gaelic word for lake, as well as the Old Irish word for “body of water.”

The river’s name is probably derived from the meaning “point of land running into the sea.”

4. The capital of the Highlands is not too far away

Loch Ness is located about 37 kilometers (23 miles) to the southwest of Inverness, a cathedral city referred to as the “Capital of the Highlands.” It’s also the county town of the county of “Inverness-shire,” a historical county in Scotland.

What’s interesting about Inverness is that it’s also named after the River Ness and its name basically means “Mouth of the River Ness.” That’s because the river runs through the city and flows into the North Sea here as well.

River Ness and Inverness
River Ness and Inverness. / Source

5. There are multiple loch’s in the area

Loch Ness is part of a network of lakes, rivers, and canals that are interconnected with each other and flow all the way into the North Sea.

In the southern end, it’s connected with the River Oich and part of the Caledonian Canal, as well as with Loch Oich. In the north, it’s connected through the Bona Narrows with Loch Dochfour. This lake feeds the River Ness which in return flows into the final section of the canal.

Connection in the south / aeroid / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

6. The water of the lake is straight up dirty

Even though the lakes and rivers look amazing, the water isn’t all that nice. It’s brownish and hardly has any visibility.

The reason for this is that the soil surrounding these bodies of water contains a lot of peat. This is a sort of compost consisting of decayed vegetation and organic matter.

This means that diving in Loch Ness isn’t possible as you wouldn’t see a thing!

7. It’s the second-largest lake in Scotland by surface area

Even though Loch Ness is by far the most famous lake in Scotland and even the British Isles, it’s not the biggest by surface area. Loch Ness has a total surface area of 56 square kilometers (21.8 square miles).

This makes it the second-largest lake in the British Isles. The biggest lake in Great Britain is Loch Lomond which covers an area of 71 square kilometers (27.5 square miles) and is located 23 kilometers (14 miles) northwest of the center of Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow.

Loch Ness is very long with a length of 36.2 kilometers (22.5 miles) but it’s also quite narrow with a maximum width of just 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles).

Aerial view of Loch Ness
Aerial view of Loch Ness. / Source

8. Loch Ness is incredibly deep

One of the most fascinating facts about Loch Ness is that even though it’s not even the biggest lake by surface area, it contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined!

The reason is simply that it’s an enormously deep lake. It has an average depth of 132 meters (433 feet) and a maximum depth of 226.96 meters (744.6 feet).

Regardless of this depth, it’s still only the second-deepest lake in Scotland. Loch Morar is even deeper with a maximum depth of 310 meters (1,017 feet).

Loch Ness depth
Loch Ness is very deep / Ad Meskens / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

9. The lake only has 1 island, but there used to be 2

Loch Ness has only 1 island, but it’s an artificial island referred to as a “crannog” and is extremely small. It used to have a size of about 49 meters (160 feet) by 51 meters (168 feet) across but has been seriously reduced in size when the Caledonian Canal was constructed and the water rose because of it.

The lake used to have a similar second island like this called “dog island,” but this was completely submerged when the lake became part of the canal.

Both islands are believed to have been constructed during the iron age.

10. It has 2 lighthouses, one on each end of the lake

The most famous lighthouse in Scotland is one of the 7 wonders of the industrial world called the “Bell Rock Lighthouse,” located on the eastern coast of the country.

One of them is located in the south of the lake near Fort Augustus, the other one is located in the north and is called the “Bona Lighthouse.” The one near Fort Augustus is mockingly referred to as the “Pepper pot lighthouse.”

Granted, these aren’t nearly as impressive as the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

Lighthouse near Fort Augustus
Lighthouse near Fort Augustus / Tim Heaton / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

11. This castle provides the most iconic view of Loch Ness

Have you ever seen a picture of Loch Ness? Then it’s very likely that you have seen the one with Urquhart Castle in the foreground. This castle is located on the western shore of the lake and is part of the most picturesque location around the lake!

Not much more than ruins remain of the castle that was built between the 13th and 16th centuries and which played a major role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century.

Want to take an amazing picture of Loch Ness? This is the place to go!

Loch Ness Castle
Loch Ness Castle / Source

12. Some incredible records have been set at the lake

Amazing places always attract daredevils who want to achieve, well, something amazing!

One of these records was set by David Scott Munro of the Ross-shire Caberfeidh Water Ski Club on August 31, 1974. He was the first person who managed to waterski from one end of the lake and back. He covered the 77 kilometers (48 miles) in 77 minutes at an average speed of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph), a pretty astounding achievement.

An even more impressive record was set by Brenda Sherratt in July of 1966 who managed to swim the entire length of the lake! She was the first person to achieve this and it took her exactly 31 hours and 27 minutes.

For the daredevils out there, it doesn’t always end well though. In the year 1952, English racing motorist John Cobb attempted to break the World Water Speed Record on Loch Ness. Unfortunately, he lost his life when his speedboat hit a wake in the lake and crashed.

A memorial can be found in the area where he lost his life.

John Cobb Memorial
John Cobb Memorial / Paul Hermans / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

13. Tourists can enjoy amazing cruises on the lake

One of the most popular tourist attractions at the lake is the Loch Ness Cruise, which allows visitors to enjoy the amazing scenery of the lake’s surroundings.

The Loch Ness Center and Exhibition is the main venue for tourists and the location where the cruises start.

Boats on Loch Ness
Boats on Loch Ness. / Source

14. Is there really a monster living in Loch Ness?

The main reason that Loch Ness is so famous is because of the alleged sightings of “Nessie,” the common name for the monster that has been spotted living in the lake. Descriptions of the monster usually talk about a long-necked creature with one or more humps sticking out of the water.

One of the first sightings is believed to have happened in 1870, but the first publications, which resulted in the story becoming world-famous, didn’t happen until 1933 when the newspaper the “Inverness Courier” talked about a large “beast” or “whale-like fish.”

So is there a real Loch Ness Monster?

Most probably not, but this doesn’t mean that sightings are all nonsense. The scientific community categorizes these as “the misidentification of mundane objects.”

Loch Ness Monster
Loch Ness Monster / Ad Meskens / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en