Saturday, 19 July 2014

Falls of Foyers

There are two sides to Loch Ness. On the west side the busy A82, with Urquhart Castle on Scotland's main Edinburgh - Glencoe - Inverness - Aviemore - Edinburgh tourist circuit.

Loch Ness:

The other side is almost deserted in comparison, and makes for a great bike ride from Dores to the Falls of Foyers, up into Inverness' mini 'lake district' around Lochs Mhor and Duntelchaig and back.

Our ride started at the car park in Dores. This is right on the shores of Loch Ness with a great view down the length of the loch. The panoramic situation means it is no surprise that one of the Loch's longest-standing monster hunters bases himself here.

Loch Ness from Dores:

It was a beautiful time of year, the summer leaves fresh and woodland flowers still in abundance all along the loch shore. A deer crossed the road in front of us, our silent bicycles enabling us to close in without spooking her.

Flowers in the undergrowth:

This is the side of the loch where the tabloid-styled 'wickedest man in the world', early 20th-century occultist Aleister Crowley, conducted rituals at his house of Boleskine - a gothic reputation that also led Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page to buy it in the 1970s. It is a peaceful spot today.


Across the loch, Urquhart Castle on its headland, crowds visible through binoculars, as we soaked up the peace and tranquility of the eastern side, the occasional fishing boat drifting by.

Urquhart Castle:

The road climbs steeply to a cafe and shop at the top of the Falls of Foyers, where what few tourists on this side of the loch had gathered. The falls were one of Victorian Scotland's premier attractions, but were severely attenuated in 1895 as the water was diverted for an aluminium works. However in heavy rainfall it reverts to something of its former majesty and is worth seeing in spate.

Below the Falls:

Below the falls a gorge drops steeply to Loch Ness, with Meall Fuar Mhonaidh rising above the opposite shore.

Above the Falls:

We had enjoyed our ride but had taken our time: and a deadline meant we left the lakes above Loch Ness for another time, retracing our outward route back to Dores.

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