Loch Ness

The Facts

Loch Ness is located at the North Eastern end of the Great Glen in the Scottish Highlands. It is the largest of three freshwater lochs in the Great Glen, the other two being Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. Loch Ness is about 52 Ft above sea level, around 23 miles long and one mile wide.

The average water temperature throughout the year is about 5.5 degrees centigrade and the waters of Loch Ness never freeze over. It is the second largest loch in Scotland by surface area (21.8 square miles) and the largest by volume (ca 1.8 cubic miles). With a depth of 786 Ft (239.5m) at its deepest point, Loch Ness is deeper than the North Sea and contains more freshwater than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.

There are about forty small rivers, streams, burns and waterways running into Loch Ness and the Loch is connected to the sea via the Rives Ness and Caledonian Canal, which both feed into the Moray Firth.

A Brief History

Loch Ness is situated south west of Inverness on the Great Glen fault line, which divides the Grampian Mountains from the Northern Highlands. Loch Ness was formed approximately 10,000 years ago, towards the end of the last Ice Age, when the Great Glen was filled by a huge glacier.

At the same time as Loch Ness was formed, the glacial erosion along this line of weakness carved out Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. The three freshwater lochs form one of the finest examples of glacial scouring found along such a fault. Earlier seismic activity along the fault line had produced a shatter belt of rock and the ease with which the erosion could move this accounts for the precise shape of Loch Ness. The U-shaped valley, which is home to Loch Ness and the Great Glen, is one of the greatest glacial troughs in the British Isles.

There is still seismic activity along the Great Glen fault but during the last 150 years, only minor tremors have been recorded.


’Nessie’ from the Gaelic ‘An Neassidh’, meaning ‘female of the Ness’.

The Loch Ness Monster is the most famous cryptic in the world (‘cryptic’ is used in Cryptozoology and refers to a hidden or living creature that might exist). The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster dates back to 565AD by St Columba, who saw ’Nessie’ twice that year.

In 1933, Mr and Mrs. Spicer reported seeing a large animal crossing the road in front of their car. This “sighting” sparked a great deal of public interest in the Loch Ness Monster, with several reported sightings and alleged photographic evidence.

The most famous photograph of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1934 by Dr. Robert Kenneth Wilson. The photo shows a head and long neck rising out of the water. Dr. Wilson refused to allow his name to be associated with the photograph, so it became known as the “surgeon’s photograph”. The photograph was revealed to be a hoax some sixty years later.

Do you believe in the Loch Ness Monster?