ON THE HUNT FOR NESSIE
For most children, LOCH NESS needs no introduction. This is home, of course, to the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, the mythical (or maybe not) creature that inhabits the deepest corners of Scotland’s most famous lake. Unfortunately, neither of the places that attempt to tackle the subject in DRUMNADROCHIT do it much justice, but if you did want to give your kids some background on the mystery, the more science-focused LOCH NESS CENTRE & EXHIBITION [open daily from 9.30am | £7.95, under-16s £4.95, under-6s free; family tickets (up to 2 children) £22.95; price includes 35-minute tour] is the better of the two. There are a few artefacts from the centre’s Loch Ness Project, including the world’s smallest submarine, although the informative videos that constitute the tour will prove far too humdrum for most children.
Far better to get out onto Loch Ness itself, where it doesn’t take too much to imagine the dark, glassy waters harbouring a plesiosaur-like beastie. You can join your very own hunt for Nessie with Loch Ness Cruises, who run hour-long boat trips between Easter Friday and the end of October [hourly from 10am to 6pm | £16, under-15s £10, under-1s free]. Even if you don’t spot Nessie herself (or himself?), it’s great fun encouraging your kids to scan the sonar screens for monster-shaped shadows, and they’ll also get the chance to play skipper for a while, sitting behind the wheel and "steering" the boat past the historic ruins of URQUHART CASTLE.
From Drumnadrochit, your afternoon drive back to Glen Coe follows the A82 south for 41 miles to Spean Bridge, where it’s worth stopping at the poignant COMMANDO MEMORIAL, just north of town – the magnificent views take in an area that was used to train the elite British forces during World War II. It’s then a further 28 miles, via Fort William, to GLEN COE and the Red Squirrel campsite, which enjoys an idyllic setting alongside a stream and beneath towering mountains – and just a mile down the road from one of Scotland’s most historic pubs. The site is just off the B863, a left turn as you enter Glencoe Village (signed for Kinlochleven).
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