The South Loch Ness Trail stretches 28 miles along the peaceful, ‘undiscovered’ side of Loch Ness, dominated by quiet minor roads and small communities. This day walk forms one part of the trail, and starts by the picturesque Loch Tarff, where you may see deer. From there it’s a peaceful wander alongside rivers and through forests, with the mighty loch never far away. Make sure to stop at the Falls of Foyers – one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Highlands, the site has been a tourist attraction since the Victorian era.
Where to stay: Inverness is the cultural capital of the Highlands, and is packed with amenities, making it the perfect base from which to explore. For a touch of luxury head to the Glenmoriston Town House Hotel, a 30-room boutique hotel offering 4-star contemporary comfort, where staff can arrange activities including bluefin tuna fishing! Elsewhere, the Castle View Guesthouse offers a selection of newly-refurbished rooms in a renovated Victorian guesthouse with great views of Inverness Castle.
Where to eat: On the way back to Inverness, stop off at The Dores Inn for its hearty home-cooked food, selection of Scottish malt whiskies, and stunning views of Loch Ness.
Meall Fuar-mhonaidh (Gaelic for ‘hill of the cold slopes’) is the most prominent summit around Loch Ness and offers fantastic views of the water below. It is known as a Graham – a mountain between 2,000 and 2,500 feet high with at least 150 metres of descent on all sides. Scotland has more than 200 of these to conquer, along with hundreds of other peaks variously categorised as Munros, Murdos, Corbetts, Donalds, and even the occasional Marilyn!
Where to eat: A short drive from the peak is Fiddler’s, a Highland restaurant in the town of Drumnadrochit. The menu features a selection of game and Scottish dishes, including an award-winning haggis.
Glen Affric, often referred to as the ‘most beautiful glen in Scotland,’ is a short drive away from Inverness. Explore some of its 30 miles of ancient pinewoods with this hiking circuit around Loch Affric, which passes through trees and across moors, with great mountain views.
Where to eat: Go back to Inverness and enjoy dinner at the unique Mustard Seed – located on the banks of the River Ness, the restaurant is housed in a former church, with a double-height ceiling and open log fire, and serves dishes incorporating local ingredients.