I would have to say that I never thought that we would get to Stand Up Paddleboard on Loch Ness. Many years ago on may first visit I was told just how cold and dangerous the water is. I’ve had and have had a very wary respect for the loch. Later on I found that the Great Glen Challenge was sometimes completed on paddleboard. This made me feel a little more confident that paddleboarding Loch Ness was possible with the right equipment. But on the right day, in the right location and with the right conditions – there were actually people in their bathers swimming in it!
The Main Points
- Location – Dores Beach, Loch Ness, Scotland
- Cost – Free beach access with nearby public parking
- Conditions – Freshwater Loch
- Other users – Swimmers and Beach goers
- Entry Point – Stoney Beach
- Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- The Dores Inn has public bathroom
A Wee Blether
We couldn’t have chosen a better day for our paddle, the weather was simply stunning!! I had felt a bit trepidatious at the thought of paddling Loch Ness. When you are travelling up the Great Glen it’s enormity is a little intimidating. But finding the beach at Dores was the perfect location to paddle. If you are a customer of the Dores Inn you can use their car park. I think most of the beach goers may have been doing this, but there is also public car park. This one is about 400m up the B862 towards Inverness which is nice and shady. This public car park has lots of grass to inflate your board. It was a bit of a mission carrying our boards along the narrow footpath. We had extra gear to carry with all our props (see video below). Being so close to the road you have to be careful when buses and trucks pass. Even cars going a little too fast also create a wind draw. We found placing our boards down while bigger vehicles passed was the best way to stop them flopping about.
But once we were onto the beach it was totally worth the walk! The beach was quite busy and expectedly so. Weather like this isn’t too common in this area. Dores Beach has to be one of the best places to access Loch Ness. There are a couple of places along the sides of the loch which get deep really quickly. Dores Beach has a more gentle slope and is a lot further away from traffic noise.
Paddleboarding with Nessie
The other good thing about Dores Beach on Loch Ness for Stand Up Paddleboarding is that it is relatively protected. It is a south facing beach but as soon as you go to paddle around the edge of it and into the last northern parts of the loch the wind really picks up. We were looking for a place to film the video below and checked it out but decided it was way too windy. It is really awkward to film on a paddleboard at the best of times but windy conditions makes it that much more challenging! It also gives you what I recon is the best view down the Great Glen without having to paddle right out into the deepest part of the loch where there are boats, ferries, and…. The Loch Ness monster!!!
Join us next week as we continue through Aberdeenshire look at more castles, find some great options for paddling and see a not quite so famous white horse.
If you missed part one of our SUP Safari Scotland to the Isle of Arran you can read about it here.