THE GREAT GLEN, HARRY POTTER AND WHISKY
- Urquhart Castle
- The Great Glen & Commando Memorial
- Glenfinnan Viaduct
- Dalwhinnie Distillery
LOCH NESS & URQUHART CASTLE
Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s largest and most famous lochs, known around the world thanks to its elusive monster Nessie.
Just a short distance from Inverness, this impressive stretch of water is 23 miles long and over 700 ft at its deepest, making it Scotland’s largest loch in terms of volume.
Halfway down the loch we visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle. There is an interesting visitor’s centre and the opportunity to enter and tour if you wish. From here we continue around the loch, passing the lovely Thomas Telford bridge at Invermoriston, to Fort Augustus where the loch is met by the Caledonian Canal, built by that man Thomas Telford again. There may be time to join a RIB tour of the loch if you wish.
THE GREAT GLEN & COMMANDO MEMORIAL
We follow the line of the Great Glen passing Loch Oich and Loch Lochy to visit the famous Commando memorial around a mile west of the Spean Bridge that offers a stunning panoramic viewpoint. Erected in 1952, it commemorates the elite soldiers who fell during the Second World War and who gained their Green Berets at the Commandos Basic Training Centre in nearby Achnacarry. A Commando exhibition at the Spean Bridge Hotel explains the story.
We continue to the end of the Caledonian Canal near Fort William and look at ‘Neptune’s Staircase’, the set of canal locks (the longest in Britain) that lead into Loch Linnheand then to the sea.
We take a small detour to view the Glenfinnan Monument which was erected in 1815, in tribute to the Jacobite clansmen who fought and died in the cause of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. It was designed by eminent Scottish architect, James Gillespie Graham. The raising of the Prince’s Standard took place at the head of the loch on 19 August, 1745, in the last attempt to reinstate the exiled Stuarts on the throne of Great Britain and Ireland. We also visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and possibly catch a glimpse of the Jacobite Steam train made forever famous in the Harry Potter films.
DALWHINNIE DISTILLERY & CARRBRIDGE
We now head east along Glen Spean until we enter Strathspey near Laggan (location for the hit BBC series Monarch of the Glen & recently film location for the new James Bond). Now back into whisky country so it be rude not to visit Scotland’s highest distillery… Dalwhinnie Distillery is home to a famous Highland Single Malt Whisky renowned for its gentle flavours accentuated with notes of heather honey, citrus, vanilla and sweet malt. The site of the distillery was chosen for its access to clear spring water and abundant peat from the surrounding bogs. Set in splendid mountain scenery at the heart of the Cairngorm National Park, Dalwhinnie is the highest distillery in Scotland at 1164 feet above sea level.
Feeling refreshed we head back up north through the Cairngorms with stunning mountain views until we reach the historic village of Carrbridge, famous for its 18th century packhorse bridge, the river Dulnain snakes its way through this picturesque village before emptying into the River Spey.