Starting from Loch Tarff a few miles outside Fort Augustus, the trail rises sharply to Suidhe Viewpoint at 1200ft. From here south Loch Ness stretches out before you. It is a land of mystery and legend, bountiful wildlife and flora, forest, heather, peat clad moors and awe inspiring views. It is also the peaceful 'undiscovered' side of Loch Ness dominated by quiet minor roads and small communities – the population of the area is today still less than 1000.
From Suidhe Viewpoint the trail drops down through woodland and follows a minor road to Whitebridge. Whitebridge is dominated by the finest surviving example of a single span General Wade Bridge built in 1732. From Whitebridge it roughly follows the line of the old Wade road to the village of Foyers.
Foyers has a rich history dating back hundreds of years, but today is best known for the Falls of Foyers. Romanticised by Rabbie Burns back in 1787, they have been the area's major tourist attraction since Victorian times although they were more important for many years as the source of power for the aluminium industry that once employed 500 people at Foyers.
The trail then goes up several hundred feet again and over to the hamlet of Inverfarigaig. En route there are fantastic views out over Loch Ness and the woodland it passes through is rich and varied. Inverfarigaig is today no more than 20 houses nestling by the shore of Loch Ness but it has a richer social and cultural history than any other area along the length of the trail – from the remains of an iron age fort to the Thomas Telford pier, General Wade bridge and the famous 'Black Rock' section of Wade road, there is a lot to explore at Inverfarigaig. And let's not forget Boleskine House, former home to Aleister Crowley, 'The Beast of Boleskine' (and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin!) and once the most infamous house in Scotland.
From Inverfarigaig the trail follows what is know locally as the Corkscrew road to a high point on forest track 1300ft above Loch Ness. It is here that the trail affords the most spectacular views up and down the length of Loch Ness and directly across to Urquhart Castle and Drumnadrochit. From here the trail then drops down gradually to the village of Dores at the head of Loch Ness
At Dores you get the best views down the length of the loch. It also has a beach, which is very popular in summer, and excellent pub and restaurant for sustenance!
From Dores the last few miles of the trail are on a mixture of minor road and woodland path before coming to an end at Torbreck on the edge of Inverness.
To purchase South Loch Ness Trail Maps call +44 (0)1463 219219 - cost £5.95 plus £1 ppp