Nessie where are you?

Route: Loch Ness and Torr Woods circular, Dores

Date walked: 12/02/2024

Time taken: 1.5 hours

Distance: 8km

Dores beach and Torr woods is a favourite walk which we've done many times and depending on the weather and season it's always different. We used to park by the Dores Inn but now we turn off the B862 at a sign for Dores beach parking, crossing a small bridge and turning sharp right into what was the church car park. An old stone wall makes the turning a bit tight so it's advisable to go straight on to a wide turning area and approach from the other direction.

Dores church

Car park

Bank of snowdrops

From the car park it's a short walk down the road towards the Dores Inn. Parking there became so congested it is now reserved for customers of the inn, although it appeared a lot of walkers are still using it as the parking area was well filled despite the inn being closed.

Dores Inn

Nessie hunt caravan

For over 30 years Steve Feltham has kept watch for Nessie from his caravan. The fact he has come up with no conclusive evidence that Nessie exists must say something. I'm saying that despite my grandfather seeing something monster-like break the surface of the loch in the 1930s... and he wasn't a man given to an over vivid imagination either.




Loch Ness is 23 miles long, 1.5 miles wide, 755 feet deep and contains more water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. The presence of peat makes the water murky, meaning exploration at any depth is difficult and I suppose as long as there's any doubt the legend will continue to be good for tourism. Most of the international visitors I've met said the two places they wanted to visit in Scotland were Edinburgh and Inverness and all of them had heard of the Loch Ness Monster. Maybe not on quite the same scale as the Great Wall of China - but a close second.


With all the recent rain running off the hills into the loch the water level was higher than usual and the upper half of the stony beach was covered with a thick layer of washed up sticks and twigs.


Keira evidently doesn't believe there's a monster lurking in these waters as she loves to swim whether I throw a stick in for her to fetch or not. My friend Julie is similarly laid back about it and will be here for her 100th cold water dip to raise money for Mikeysline. That's 100 dips since 1st December and a crowd of us will be here on 9th March to cheer her on.



Helicopter on training exercise, February 2021

Towards the west end of the beach we moved up to the path which leads through a gate into the woods. As soon as we were in the trees we were sheltered from the wind and it felt significantly warmer.


A good track and surprisingly dry

After about 2km we passed through a gate and turned left towards the loch and Aldourie jetty.

Small beach by jetty


View towards Lochend, February 2021

Over the years the jetty has provided a good spot for group photos, a bit like the cairn on the top of a hill.

This one was taken in April 2023
WhatsApp Image 2023-04-14 at 13.08.55.jpg

From the jetty we kept going in the same direction as before and when the path swings uphill at a junction we took the left fork passing in front of a house. This path is narrower than the main track but is much improved from the first time we used it and leads to a gate into the grounds of Aldourie Castle. There is no sign forbidding entry to the grounds and several paths radiate off from it but we didn't go through.


Aldourie Castle is a Category A listed building and is classed as the only inhabitable castle on Loch Ness. It is used primarily for private use castle stays and on site activities include clay pigeon shooting, archery and chartered boat tours from its own marina. From this angle it reminds me of Sleeping Beauty's castle in one of my childhood books, except the grounds are much tidier!

Aldourie Castle

February 2021

From the sighting of the castle the path swings to the right and then at a fork we went left. We crossed over a main forest track and turned right at the next one, then left, before arriving back at the gate into the woods.


Track we crossed

Open fields on left

Loch Ness and temporary lake visible through trees

Zoomed over field to houses on left of church

Path behind beach, looking back

Temporary lake due to heavy rainfall

It was a good walk on a beautiful spring morning and on the way home we stopped at Holm Mills for a bowl of soup. :D

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Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Dava Way    Great Glen Way    Moray Coastal Trail    Speyside Way    South Loch Ness Trail    Loch Ness 360   

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