Monster Hunting at Loch Ness; The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition or Nessieland?

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Judge away, I know it makes me the most basic of American tourists, but I couldn’t go to Scotland with out visiting Loch Ness!  The unpronounceable (for me) town of Drumnadrochit in the Scottish Highlands boasts not one, but two monster hunting museums on Loch Ness!

~The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition~

The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition is the original and came recommended by Colin Mairs at Excursion Scotland, so that was my first stop.  In fact, it was my first stop in all of Scotland, and I almost didn’t make it.  I was just thrilled that Scottish roadside assistance got me back on the road so quickly after my pretty dumb (but totally understandable) auto mishap.

The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

That’s the stuff dreams are made of.  I can think of no better way to kick off a trip to Scotland.  The Loch Ness Centre  takes visitors through several themed areas focusing on the natural history of the loch as well as it’s most famous potential resident and presents a wealth of evidence along side thousands of eye witness accounts and photographs.

The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibiiton in Drumnadrochit, Scotland - These heads were once identical but we sent one down 230m to the bed of the loch... clearly he felt a bit pressured! At 230m depth- 325 psi (22kg/cm2)

While the scientific evidence is interesting, it does leave the visitor feeling rather skeptical as to the existence of a monster at all, which is not what I want from my visit to Loch Ness. Of course, it’s impossible to say one way or the other, but it definitely felt like the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition debunked much of the Loch Ness monster lore.

It’s not all bad though, they do sell this amazing whisky monster.

Whisky monster at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

I’m not going to say I want to remain ignorant, but I do really really want there to be a monster in that loch!

This gap in the market is where Nessieland steps in!

~Nessieland~

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

I hate to say, I almost missed out on Nessieland due to limited time and the assumption that it was just a poor man’s version of the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition.  I was so wrong, it’s more like the Loch Ness Centre’s wacky little brother.  As the name suggest, Nessieland takes a lighter approach to the Loch Ness lore.  Just one glance at Nessieland and I knew this place was more my speed!

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

If you’ve followed me on some of my other adventures, you may already be familiar with my penchant for photos ops with giant fiberglass animals.  This place is heavenly.

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

This is the kind of monster sensationalism I flew to Scotland for!  Nessieland takes you through simulated underwater caves much like where Nessie herself lives.

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

In addition to the fiberglass Loch Ness monsters, there are plenty of fun facts, and not-so-facts to be seen everywhere!

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Apparently I have more in common with Charlie Sheen than I thought, he digs the Loch Ness Monster too!

Ever wonder how baby Loch Ness Monsters are made?  They cover that!

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Of course it’s not all fun and games, this is a museum after all.  Nessieland explores many of the theories surrounding the Loch Ness Monster, in a less skeptical (and arguably less scientific) manner.

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

“It is not possible to say that just because something hasn’t been seen or caught that it doesn’t exist.”

That’s the attitude I want in a Loch Ness Monster museum!

And what museum would be complete without an educational film?

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

I almost left without seeing this gem, as it’s pretty well hidden within the museum, but the nice man in the gift shop directed my attention to this painting of St. Columba and the Loch Ness Monster.

Painting of St. Columba and the Loch Ness Monster at Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

This is apparently quite popular with the Russian tourist oddly enough, but is a great story.  Apparently in 565 St. Columba had a run-in with a monster in the loch.  Legend has it that St. Columba witnessed the Pict people burying a man that had been bitten by a creature in the water.  He then sent his buddy, Lugne, into the water to retrieve a boat.  Apparently saints aren’t always good friends, but Lugne went into the water anyway.  The monster came after him and and St. Columba evoked the name of God and told the monster not to eat his friend, which I guess redeems him in the most minor way possible.  Most claim that this is the earliest written account of the Loch Ness Monster.

Nessieland in Drumnadrochit, Scotland

I have to side with Nessieland if you’re only going to see one Loch Ness attraction, but I think the two work well in conjunction with each other if there is time.  As nice as it is to be presented with only what I want to hear at Nessieland, the healthy dose of scientific skepticism at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition is probably a necessary foil.

My opinions on the existence of the Loch Ness Monster have not changed.  There is definitely something in there, it’s probably not the plesiosaur I want it to be, but as long as it’s not a giant eel I’ll be happy.  I just find it hard to believe that there would be that many eye witness accounts, well before media (social or otherwise), without any sort of justification.  Whatever your opinion, it’s always fun to speculate.

The best part of course was being able to look through the thousands of photos of the alleged monster, caused by wind, giant eels, boat wakes, and the like and even take one of my own that definitely could have passed before high resolution cameras.

Passing bird or Loch Ness Monster?

It’s definitely a passing bird, but I like to think that I would be a notorious kook 80 years ago.

~

~

I was helped in the planning of this trip by Colin Mairs of Excursion Scotland.  As well as guided tours in 4 languages, Excursion Scotland offers a travel consulting service to help you plan your perfect self-guided tour of Scotland.  Learn more at www.ExcursionScotland.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ExcursionScotland .


 

#weekendwanderlust

This post is part of the weekly blog link up, #weekendwanderlust hosted by A Brit and A Southerner, A Southern Gypsy, Carmen’s Luxury Travel, Justin Plus Lauren, and Outbound Adventurer.

 

39 thoughts on “Monster Hunting at Loch Ness; The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition or Nessieland?

  1. I had no idea something like this existed! I love your photos – you can really tell you had an awesome time.
    Amanda recently posted…In The Bell Tower of Notre Dame CathedralMy Profile

    • Mags

      Thanks so much. It really was amazing. A fulfillment of a childhood dream!

  2. It looks fun. I mean, you went there knowing exactly what you were in for, so I doubt you were going to be let down by it. Sometimes we have to be touristy.
    Laura Lynch recently posted…Seattle’s Top 12 Best RestaurantsMy Profile

    • Mags

      It’s so true. I know it’s frowned upon in some travel circles, but sometimes attractions are popular for a reason!

  3. I’m Scottish and I’m struggling to pronounce it! I’m in Canada and they boast to have their own Loch Ness Monster! I did the see version’s ripples when I was very young.
    Gemma recently posted…West Trek & The Rockies TourMy Profile

    • Mags

      That’s awesome! Where in Canada? I may have to go visit him (her?) too!

  4. Athena would have the time of her life here! What a great experience for the entire family.
    Lesley recently posted…The Lion King Musical is Bucketlist WorthyMy Profile

    • Mags

      Nessieland is a great place to take kids. Everyone can enjoy climbing on Loch Ness monsters!

  5. This looks like such a fun place to stop! I’d like to learn more about Nessie and I’ll definitely stop when I eventually visit Scotland. Looks like you had a great time, too!
    Lauren recently posted…Torre Argentina Roman Cat SanctuaryMy Profile

    • Mags

      I loved Scotland so so so much. It quickly became one of my favorite places. I definitely recommend going.

  6. Looks like a great fun trip. Thanks for sharing.
    Himanshu recently posted…Quick View: Self Drive Road Trip to Spiti Valley, Himachal, IndiaMy Profile

    • Mags

      It was a blast! Thanks for reading!

  7. I don’t care if it makes me a cliche of a tourist, this looks interesting and I’d still definitely go!
    Erica recently posted…9 Things That Happen When You Marry A (South) CalifornianMy Profile

    • Mags

      I know in the professional travel world “tourist” is a dirty word, but sometimes you’ve just got to!

  8. How nice! I have went to the same place in search for Nessie!I also did a boat tour which was really fun!
    chrysoula recently posted…Hilton Athens – A luxury stay in the heart of the cityMy Profile

    • Mags

      I really hate that I didn’t have time for a boat tour! I guess now I have a reason to go back (as thought I needed one)

  9. How fun! I didn’t know about this before reading your post, great pictures. This is why one should never stop exploring, you never know what you’ll discover!
    Alyssa | Adjust Your Focus recently posted…DO The Damn Thing 2015My Profile

    • Mags

      I just wish there were time to see it all!

  10. Cute post! I remember seeing the place but my group didn’t go tour the museum. We did have our cheesy photos made with one of the Nessie’s. 😉 Did you stay in Inverness by chance? i really loved the charming town. 😉
    Melody Pittman recently posted…A Little Bit About My Town- Vero BeachMy Profile

    • Mags

      I didn’t quite make it up to Inverness, but I can’t wait to go back and I will definitely hit it next time!

  11. I was recently in Scotland and near the lake EVERYTHING was Nessie. I can neither confirm nor deny that I saw the creature, but the area sure is gorgeous. 🙂
    Pola (Jetting Around) recently posted…A relaxing week in southern France with Viking River CruisesMy Profile

    • Mags

      I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed I didn’t get an irrefutable Nessie pick, but it was still well worth the trip!

  12. Mia

    How cool, I didn’t even know this place existed! Looks like a fun way to spend the afternoon. I hope you’re one step closer to finding that monster.
    Mia recently posted…Bottles & Bridges in San Francisco, CaliforniaMy Profile

    • Mags

      Well, I didn’t catch her this time… but I have a good feeling about my next trip.

  13. I love stuff like this! It must have been so fun!! At least Charlie Sheen thought so hahaha
    Francesca One Girl: One World recently posted…My First Impressions of Martinique – p.s. I MOVED ABROAD!My Profile

    • Mags

      Charlie Sheen can’t be wrong… oh wait.

  14. Wow, so bad Loch Ness Monsters 🙂 I would be scared to meet them on my visit to this lake. 🙂 But it can be really adventurous trip especially with kids!
    Julius from Traveltipy recently posted…Prague’s Astronomical clock, Orloj, celebrates its 605. anniversaryMy Profile

    • Mags

      Kids would definitely love it. The kid in me sure did.

  15. It looks like you had a great time. And I’m with you … Nessieland seems to be the better spirit of Scotland!
    Cherri Megasko recently posted…Bering Sea Gold Star Shelby Johnson Shares AllMy Profile

    • Mags

      It really was. I don’t want to be too down on the Loch Ness Centre either, it was fascinating. I just like being told what I want to hear 🙂

  16. Great post! Love all the captures and details. Totally on my bucket list. Thanks!
    Vi Dotter recently posted…Guest Post: The Diamond-Beaked RockpeckerMy Profile

    • Mags

      Thanks so much for reading. Loch Ness is certainly bucket list worthy.

  17. Very cool! I love the way that there is a museum dedicated to a fantasy beast.
    Shobha recently posted…The Weekly RTW Roundup Ed. 5: Celebrating DifferencesMy Profile

    • Mags

      Only in Scotland!

  18. […] Loch Ness?” is a question I got from many Scots I spoke with before my trip.  The answer was a resounding, […]

  19. K.

    ALWAYS wanted to go. This post has just pushed me further into the wanting! 🙂 x
    K. recently posted…Brunch: So far.My Profile

    • Mags

      It so so worth it. Go if you get the chance. I don’t know what took me so long!

  20. Well, I haven’t seen the pictures of you having a dip in the lake. I very hope you haven’t missed that part of the fun! 😀

  21. Fatima

    I’m so happy after you posted, like its so hilarious!

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