Urquhart Castle is located on the west bank of Loch Ness between Inverness and Fort William near the village of Drumnadrochit. Although it is not known exactly when the castle was built, history mentions a castle on this site early in the thirteenth century. In 1296, Edward I captured this castle on his way north. (See Stone of Scone under S). Radiocarbon dating indicates a stronghold of some type was on this site as early as the time of Saint Columba (the late sixth century). It was at one time one of the largest strongholds in Medieval Scotland.
In 1692, forces loyal to England destroyed the castle to prevent the Jacobites from using it as a stronghold. To this day, it remains in ruins.
The dock at the castle serves as a turn-around point for the boat tours out of Inverness. Due to its location on the bank of Loch Ness, it is a popular place for Nessie sightings.
I have to admit, we did not see Nessie the day I was there. I think she stayed out of sight because of the rain. The only other American on the boat was a man from Indianapolis who had been studying Nessie since he was four years old. One of his remarks alluded to the fact that one of the most important sporting events in America was happening that day in Indianapolis, and he was in Scotland. (It was Memorial Day – the Indy 500 was being run.)
Urquhart Castle from the deck of the Jacobite Queen
Docked at Urquhart Castle
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