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Robert’s guidebook

Robert

Robert’s guidebook

Sightseeing
One of the 'must dos' when in the Great Glen. Best to book tickets in advance and be aware that the car park does get full quite quickly. It is a safe walk for just over a mile from Willow so you can leave the car. If you are going to visit a lot of Historic Scotland's properties including Edinburgh and Stirling Castles then you might consider an annual membership.
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Urquhart Castle
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One of the 'must dos' when in the Great Glen. Best to book tickets in advance and be aware that the car park does get full quite quickly. It is a safe walk for just over a mile from Willow so you can leave the car. If you are going to visit a lot of Historic Scotland's properties including Edinburgh and Stirling Castles then you might consider an annual membership.
If you are heading out on a day trip towards Skye then do call in at Eilean Donan Castle, even if just to take a photo. You may recognise the castle from the films Highlander, The World is Not Enough and Entrapment.
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Eilean Donan
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If you are heading out on a day trip towards Skye then do call in at Eilean Donan Castle, even if just to take a photo. You may recognise the castle from the films Highlander, The World is Not Enough and Entrapment.
Jacobite are the largest of the companies which runs cruises on Loch Ness. They have a number of different cruises varying in duration and departure points. The closest departure point to Willow is from the Clansman Harbour. All cruises are popular so please do book in advance. A visit to the area would not be complete without a cruise on the Loch.
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Loch Ness by Jacobite - Clansman Harbour
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Jacobite are the largest of the companies which runs cruises on Loch Ness. They have a number of different cruises varying in duration and departure points. The closest departure point to Willow is from the Clansman Harbour. All cruises are popular so please do book in advance. A visit to the area would not be complete without a cruise on the Loch.
Cruise Loch Ness run cruises on the Loch departing from Fort Augustus. For those who are wanting a faster experience they also run Rib trips. Cruises are popular and best to book in advance.
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Loch Ness Cruises
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Cruise Loch Ness run cruises on the Loch departing from Fort Augustus. For those who are wanting a faster experience they also run Rib trips. Cruises are popular and best to book in advance.
Fort Augustus is a lovely village at the southern end of Loch Ness. Well worth seeing are the set of locks for boats heading on to the Caledonian Canal. In addition, there are pubs, cafes and a visitors' centre as well as fish and chip shops. The car park charges a small fee and if this is full there is a small overflow car park up a small hill on entering the town.
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Fort Augustus
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Fort Augustus is a lovely village at the southern end of Loch Ness. Well worth seeing are the set of locks for boats heading on to the Caledonian Canal. In addition, there are pubs, cafes and a visitors' centre as well as fish and chip shops. The car park charges a small fee and if this is full there is a small overflow car park up a small hill on entering the town.
Site of the last battle fought on British soil which saw the end of the ill-fated Jacobite rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie against Government forces in 1746. This lead to the subsequent suppression of the traditional Highland way of life including the Clan system, language and the wearing of tartan. An atmospheric walk around battlefield and there is an excellent visitors' centre (charge applies). There is a car park which has a small charge. Nearby (short car ride) are the Clava Cairns, Bronze Age burial tombs.
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Culloden Battlefield
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Site of the last battle fought on British soil which saw the end of the ill-fated Jacobite rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie against Government forces in 1746. This lead to the subsequent suppression of the traditional Highland way of life including the Clan system, language and the wearing of tartan. An atmospheric walk around battlefield and there is an excellent visitors' centre (charge applies). There is a car park which has a small charge. Nearby (short car ride) are the Clava Cairns, Bronze Age burial tombs.
Following the defeat of the Jacobite rebellion in 1746 (Culloden Battlefield), the government built Fort George, one of the mightiest artillery fortifications in Europe. Entrance fee applies. If you do intend to visit a number of Historic Scotland properties (Urquhart, Edinburgh or Stirling Castle for example) you might want to consider membership of Historic Scotland.
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Fort George
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Following the defeat of the Jacobite rebellion in 1746 (Culloden Battlefield), the government built Fort George, one of the mightiest artillery fortifications in Europe. Entrance fee applies. If you do intend to visit a number of Historic Scotland properties (Urquhart, Edinburgh or Stirling Castle for example) you might want to consider membership of Historic Scotland.
In addition to cruising on Loch Ness, visitors might like to consider a drive around the Loch as the southside of the Loch is very different from the North. A good place to stop for coffee or lunch on the southside is the Whitebridge Inn. Please be aware that portions of the road are single track with passing places which need extra care. A visit to the Falls of Foyers is a must if you are on the southside of the Loch. Another good stop is at Dores at the northern end of the Loch where there is excellent access to the edge of the Loch.
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Loch Ness
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In addition to cruising on Loch Ness, visitors might like to consider a drive around the Loch as the southside of the Loch is very different from the North. A good place to stop for coffee or lunch on the southside is the Whitebridge Inn. Please be aware that portions of the road are single track with passing places which need extra care. A visit to the Falls of Foyers is a must if you are on the southside of the Loch. Another good stop is at Dores at the northern end of the Loch where there is excellent access to the edge of the Loch.
Situated in Glen Urquhart and described by Historic Scotland as a "Walk amongst a circle of standing stones and discover this ancient passage grave, dating back 4,000 years"
Corrimony Chambered Cairn
Situated in Glen Urquhart and described by Historic Scotland as a "Walk amongst a circle of standing stones and discover this ancient passage grave, dating back 4,000 years"
Glen Affic is said to be one of the most picturesque glens in Scotland. There are many well-marked walks around the glen and not to be missed are the Plodda Falls. Glen Affric is also the location where the Golden Retriever was first bred by Lord Tweedmouth. For more information on Glen Affric do visit the Forestry and Land Scotland website which includes downloadable walking maps.
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Glen Affric
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Glen Affic is said to be one of the most picturesque glens in Scotland. There are many well-marked walks around the glen and not to be missed are the Plodda Falls. Glen Affric is also the location where the Golden Retriever was first bred by Lord Tweedmouth. For more information on Glen Affric do visit the Forestry and Land Scotland website which includes downloadable walking maps.
This is just 500 metres from Willow and is a lovely 30 minute circular walk through woodlands. Recommended for an evening stroll.
Urquhart Bay Wood
This is just 500 metres from Willow and is a lovely 30 minute circular walk through woodlands. Recommended for an evening stroll.
One of the two permanent exhibitions in Drumnadrochit. This one looks at the geological and and natural history of the Loch and the famous ... well you know who!
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Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition
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One of the two permanent exhibitions in Drumnadrochit. This one looks at the geological and and natural history of the Loch and the famous ... well you know who!
Situated halfway between Drumnadrochit and Inverness, the Abriachan Trials provide routes for both walking and mountain bikes of various degrees of difficulties. There is also a community café for refreshments. Excellent views over Loch Ness. See walkhighlands website for more information and routes.
Abriachan
Situated halfway between Drumnadrochit and Inverness, the Abriachan Trials provide routes for both walking and mountain bikes of various degrees of difficulties. There is also a community café for refreshments. Excellent views over Loch Ness. See walkhighlands website for more information and routes.
Something for all the fans of Harry Potter out there as well as train enthusiasts. The car park is quite small and busy in summer. Nearby is the Glenfinnan Monument which marks the spot where the 1745 Jacobite uprising began with 1200 Highlanders pledging allegiance to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
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Glenfinnan Viaduct View Point
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Something for all the fans of Harry Potter out there as well as train enthusiasts. The car park is quite small and busy in summer. Nearby is the Glenfinnan Monument which marks the spot where the 1745 Jacobite uprising began with 1200 Highlanders pledging allegiance to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Twelve miles from Culloden Battlefield is Cawdor Castle made famous by Shakespeare as the location where Macbeth murdered Duncan (not historically accurate), is well worth a visit if you have space for another castle! The nearby Cawdor Tavern is recommended for its food and refreshment.
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Cawdor Castle and Gardens
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Twelve miles from Culloden Battlefield is Cawdor Castle made famous by Shakespeare as the location where Macbeth murdered Duncan (not historically accurate), is well worth a visit if you have space for another castle! The nearby Cawdor Tavern is recommended for its food and refreshment.
Room for another castle? Dunrobin Castle is quite unlike other castles in Scotland, looking like it has been lifted and gently deposited from the Loire Valley. Home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland, Dunrobin makes for a grand day out (it is a bit of a drive from Willow so an early start is recommended). Leave time to visit the gardens and along the way a stop in Dornoch is well worth considering. Do read up on the Highland Clearances of tenant farmers to make way for sheep farming and the controversial played by the 1st Duke and Duchess of Sutherland in this during the early 19th Century.
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Dunrobin Castle
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Room for another castle? Dunrobin Castle is quite unlike other castles in Scotland, looking like it has been lifted and gently deposited from the Loire Valley. Home of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland, Dunrobin makes for a grand day out (it is a bit of a drive from Willow so an early start is recommended). Leave time to visit the gardens and along the way a stop in Dornoch is well worth considering. Do read up on the Highland Clearances of tenant farmers to make way for sheep farming and the controversial played by the 1st Duke and Duchess of Sutherland in this during the early 19th Century.
Spean Bridge is included here because of a very impressive memorial to the Commandos who trained in the area during WWII. The spot also offers a fine view of Ben Nevis. We have had guests trek up Ben Nevis. The most straightforward route is the Tourist or Pony Track, starting from the Glen Nevis Visitors' Centre and is an 8 mile trek. The Mountain Track is reserved for experienced hill walkers.
Spean Bridge
Spean Bridge is included here because of a very impressive memorial to the Commandos who trained in the area during WWII. The spot also offers a fine view of Ben Nevis. We have had guests trek up Ben Nevis. The most straightforward route is the Tourist or Pony Track, starting from the Glen Nevis Visitors' Centre and is an 8 mile trek. The Mountain Track is reserved for experienced hill walkers.
A recommended daytrip is to the village of Applecross in Wester Ross on a fine day. There are two routes to Applecross. The Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) is one of the highest in Britain, reaching 2,053 ft with Alpine hairpin bends but do stop for incredible views out across the bay to Raasay and Skye. A more sedate route is via the winding coast road from Shielding, to the north on Loch Torridon, but again with great views all the way. For those who fancy fish and chips whilst in Applecross, head to the outdoor catering van opposite the Applecross Inn. Same quality as found in the pub but cheaper and fish and chips always tastes better outside!
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Applecross
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A recommended daytrip is to the village of Applecross in Wester Ross on a fine day. There are two routes to Applecross. The Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) is one of the highest in Britain, reaching 2,053 ft with Alpine hairpin bends but do stop for incredible views out across the bay to Raasay and Skye. A more sedate route is via the winding coast road from Shielding, to the north on Loch Torridon, but again with great views all the way. For those who fancy fish and chips whilst in Applecross, head to the outdoor catering van opposite the Applecross Inn. Same quality as found in the pub but cheaper and fish and chips always tastes better outside!
The museum has both geologic exhibits including finds from the Iron Age and Pictish periods as well as information about Highland culture and wildlife along with the story of the Jacobites. Great thing is it is free.
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Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
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The museum has both geologic exhibits including finds from the Iron Age and Pictish periods as well as information about Highland culture and wildlife along with the story of the Jacobites. Great thing is it is free.
Another historic visit in Inverness is to the National Trust for Scotland's Abertaff House, the oldest house in Inverness (1593). Not a huge exhibition though.
Abertarff House
71 Church Street
Another historic visit in Inverness is to the National Trust for Scotland's Abertaff House, the oldest house in Inverness (1593). Not a huge exhibition though.
If you plan to head out towards Beauly you might want to visit Reelig Glen, home to Britain's tallest trees. There are two walks, one which is one mile and a second which is a mile and a quarter. There are some steep sections but they are rewarding and not too long.
Reelig Glen
If you plan to head out towards Beauly you might want to visit Reelig Glen, home to Britain's tallest trees. There are two walks, one which is one mile and a second which is a mile and a quarter. There are some steep sections but they are rewarding and not too long.
This is the closest distillery to Willow in the Muir of Ord. Advanced booking is essential and there is a small charge for a tasting tour.
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Glen Ord Distillery
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This is the closest distillery to Willow in the Muir of Ord. Advanced booking is essential and there is a small charge for a tasting tour.
Food scene
Don't want to cook tonight but want to eat at home? There are two takeaway restaurants in Drumnadrochit, Shack's Fish and Chips next door to the Scotmid Co-op Supermarket.
Shack's Fish & Chips
Don't want to cook tonight but want to eat at home? There are two takeaway restaurants in Drumnadrochit, Shack's Fish and Chips next door to the Scotmid Co-op Supermarket.
A recent addition to Drumnadrochit is the Taste of China takeaway on Kilmore Road, a three minute drive from Willow. Feedback has been very good from former guestes.
Taste of China
A recent addition to Drumnadrochit is the Taste of China takeaway on Kilmore Road, a three minute drive from Willow. Feedback has been very good from former guestes.
If you are heading north on the A9, perhaps to Tain, Dornoch or Dunrobin, do pop into The Storehouse just to the south of Evanton (27 miles from Drumnadrochit) off the A9, taking great care crossing the A9 if heading north. An excellent café as well an opportunity to shop for boutique Scottish produce.
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The Storehouse
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If you are heading north on the A9, perhaps to Tain, Dornoch or Dunrobin, do pop into The Storehouse just to the south of Evanton (27 miles from Drumnadrochit) off the A9, taking great care crossing the A9 if heading north. An excellent café as well an opportunity to shop for boutique Scottish produce.
Like Oysters and you are visiting the Isle of Skye, then do include a visit to the Oyster Shed if possible.
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The Oyster Shed
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Like Oysters and you are visiting the Isle of Skye, then do include a visit to the Oyster Shed if possible.
A small farm shop near Beauly with a small petting farm too. In addition to farm produce there are gifts for sale in the shop. Not huge but if you are after some local produce worth popping in if you are passing or nearby.
Robertsons The Larder Beauly
A small farm shop near Beauly with a small petting farm too. In addition to farm produce there are gifts for sale in the shop. Not huge but if you are after some local produce worth popping in if you are passing or nearby.
City/town information
Around 10 miles from Drumnadrochit is the pleasant town of Beauly. Linked with the Lord Lovat family (one of whom was famous for having his piper play his bagpipes during the D-day landings) with sights including the ruined 13th century Priory and the Old School lifestyle shop along with cafes. A good way to spend a pleasant hour or so.
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Beauly
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Around 10 miles from Drumnadrochit is the pleasant town of Beauly. Linked with the Lord Lovat family (one of whom was famous for having his piper play his bagpipes during the D-day landings) with sights including the ruined 13th century Priory and the Old School lifestyle shop along with cafes. A good way to spend a pleasant hour or so.
Portree is the principal town of the Isle of Syke. Skye is about 2 hours' drive from Willow so makes for an excellent day trip. Make the most of the drive to Skye as the views from the road are excellent. Skye is quite large so do plan your visit to make the most of your time there and options include Dunvegan Castle, the rocky hills called The Storr, Museum of Island life and for those who love Oysters - The Oyster Shed.
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Portree
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Portree is the principal town of the Isle of Syke. Skye is about 2 hours' drive from Willow so makes for an excellent day trip. Make the most of the drive to Skye as the views from the road are excellent. Skye is quite large so do plan your visit to make the most of your time there and options include Dunvegan Castle, the rocky hills called The Storr, Museum of Island life and for those who love Oysters - The Oyster Shed.
The Capital of the Highlands! A walk by the River Ness from St Andrew's Cathedral and over the pedestrian bridge to the Ness Islands is recommended. Inverness Castle is provides for some great views of the town, river and beyond from the Turret Viewpoint. The Botanic Gardens are within walking distance of the town too. Plenty of good restaurants to be found e.g. Mustard Seed, Rocpool and Cafe 1.
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Inverness
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The Capital of the Highlands! A walk by the River Ness from St Andrew's Cathedral and over the pedestrian bridge to the Ness Islands is recommended. Inverness Castle is provides for some great views of the town, river and beyond from the Turret Viewpoint. The Botanic Gardens are within walking distance of the town too. Plenty of good restaurants to be found e.g. Mustard Seed, Rocpool and Cafe 1.
Heading north on the A9 is the lovely town, full of interesting and historical buildings along with a links golf course. Just to the north of Tain is the Glenmorangie Distillery with guided tours available and a shop.
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Tain
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Heading north on the A9 is the lovely town, full of interesting and historical buildings along with a links golf course. Just to the north of Tain is the Glenmorangie Distillery with guided tours available and a shop.
Lovely town heading north on the A9 just after Tain and the Glenmorangie Distillery. It became a hive of activity for a brief period when Madonna chose Dornoch Cathedral as the venue to marry Guy Richie. It has a number of interesting shops, cafes as well as access to a great beach.
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Dornoch
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Lovely town heading north on the A9 just after Tain and the Glenmorangie Distillery. It became a hive of activity for a brief period when Madonna chose Dornoch Cathedral as the venue to marry Guy Richie. It has a number of interesting shops, cafes as well as access to a great beach.

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Getting about in the area
Having a car is by far the easiest way of getting to Drumnadrochit and touring the area. For those who need or prefer to use public transport, there are some excellent and direct buses to Inverness as well as to the Isle of Skye (Portree). Search for CityLink on the web for times and prices.
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Local Supermarket
There is a modern, well-stocked supermarket (Scotmid Co-op) five to seven minutes walk from Willow for all your essential supplies and more.
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Petrol Station
Drumnadrochit has an Esso petrol station which also has a garage if you have difficulties with your vehicle. The next nearest fuel stations are in Inverness or in Fort Augustus.
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Pharmacy
The Great Glen Pharmacy is three minutes drive from Willow and has excellent parking outside, next door to the surgery.
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Taxi Service
Drumnadrochit has a local taxi service which is available on a pre-book basis only. The cost of a single journey to Inverness is around £40.