Visitors to Loch Ness can now explore the less travelled south side of the iconic loch more easily with the opening of a new 28 mile trail taking in the best the area has to offer. The South Loch Ness Trail was officially launched this month creating a continuous, managed track down the south side of the Loch. It offers an ideal way primarily for walkers, as well as off-road cyclists and horse riders, to enjoy the outstanding outdoor landscape and scenery and superb sites in this spectacular area. The trail runs from Loch Tarff near Fort Augustus in the west to Torbreck on the outskirts of Inverness in the east and connects existing and upgraded tracks with new sections along the way.
Alternately bordered by stunning mountainside moorlands, dense pine forests and amazing wilderness landscape, highlights of the South Loch Ness Trail include the stunning falls at Foyers (made famous by Scottish bard Robert Burns), the site of an Iron Age fort at Inverfarigaig and the finest surviving example of a single span General Wade bridge dating from 18th century. At some points, the South Loch Ness Trail runs alongside the waters of the iconic loch and climbs to over 1200ft at others, offering spectacular panoramas up and down this section of the Great Glen and across the loch itself to impressive Urquhart Castle standing on the northern shore. Trail users are guided by newly installed way markers and informed by strategically placed interpretation panels helping them to understand the local environment, which is rich in exciting examples of flora and fauna (including, if local lore is to be believed, the legendary Loch Ness monster).
Visitors will also be able to benefit from a range of exciting enterprises on the south Loch Ness shore from excellent accommodations and enticing eateries to artisanal craft studios and art galleries. Activities on offer in the area include horse riding, mountain biking, mountaineering and water sports such as kayaking and canyoning. In the coming years there are plans to link the trail to the ever popular Great Glen Way on Loch Ness’s northern side; from Spring 2012, visitors will also be able to take advantage of the new Great Glen Canoe Trail from Fort William to Inverness. For further information on the South Loch Ness Trail and to download a detailed trail map visit the Destination Loch Ness website at www.visitlochness.com.