Urquhart Castle is a ruinated 13th century castle in the Scottish Highlands located on the banks of the Loch Ness, the largest (by volume) lake in the British Isles. It is one of the most picturesque landmarks in Scotland lying close to the village of Drumnadrochit and easily approachable by road from Inverness. The castle, situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness, is one of the largest in Scotland in area. It was raided through the centuries and was completely abandoned in the 17th century. In the 20th century, it was placed in state care and opened to the public and is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland.
Even though I had only a day and a half in Inverness, I made sure I got to see the castle when I was there. The weather being unexpectedly cold, I hurriedly picked up a stormwear jacket from Marks and Spencer which was in walking distance of the Mercure Inverness hotel where I was staying. At the bus station, I was told to get the ticket for the next shuttle going to Loch Ness from the shuttle service driver himself. However, when I arrived at the bus stop, there was a long queue and by the time my turn came to get on the bus, the tickets were already sold out. My advise to those visiting Loch Ness is to get a ticket in advance even if it means a later departure, so that you won't be standing in line wasting a beautiful day in Inverness!
Anyway, I did get a seat in the next bus and riding through beautiful meadows, fields and a golf course, we finally arrived at the Loch Ness and the iconic Urquhart Castle. The return journey from Inverness to the castle costed me 5.40GBP. However, this was an ordinary bus and a more comfortable shuttle can cost about 10GBP for the return ticket.
After buying the entry ticket to the castle, we were invited for a video show which explained briefly the history of the castle. There was also a cafe there and a gift shop where one could buy souvenirs.
The castle with it's ruinated walls, dungeons and terraces offered a glimpse of how life must have been centuries ago. The view of the Loch Ness, from different spots from the castle was breathtaking. I was hoping to see the dreaded Loch Ness monster, that is said to be inhabiting this lake for several years now. With a hump back and long neck, this query monster was said to have been spotted by somebody years ago. Having no luck with the monster, I had to satisfy myself with a Loch Ness monster tee-shirt, that I bought as a souvenir to remind me of my visit in this distant part of the world.
I returned to the hotel late in the evening and tired from my adventures of the day, settled comfortably in my bed, admiring the sun set over the river Ness and the old town of Inverness from the window of my room at the Mercure.