Loch Ness

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Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Loch Ness from Urquhart Castle
Loch Ness location within Scotland

Location: Highland, Scotland

Coordinates: 57°18′N 4°27′W

Type: Freshwater loch, oligotrophic, dimictic

Primary inflows: River Oich/Caledonian Canal, River Moriston, River Foyers, River Enrick, River Coilte

Primary outflows: River Ness/Caledonian Canal

Catchment area: 1,770 km2 (685 sq mi)

Basin countries: Scotland

Max. length: 36.2 km (22.5 mi)

Max. width: 2.7 km (1.7 mi)

Surface area: 56 km2 (21.8 sq mi)

Average depth: 132 m (433 ft)

Max. depth: 226.96 m (744.6 ft)

Water volume: 7.5 km3 (1.8 cu mi)

Surface elevation:15.8 m (52 ft)

Islands: 1 (Cherry Island)

Settlements: Fort Augustus, Invermoriston, Drumnadrochit, Abriachan, Lochend; Whitebridge, Foyers, Inverfarigaig, Dores.

Loch Ness (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Nis) is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 kilometres (23 mi) southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 15.8 m (52 ft) above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie". It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil.

Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area at 56 km2 (21.8 sq mi) after Loch Lomond, but due to its great depth, it is the largest by volume. Its deepest point is 230 m (755 ft), making it the second deepest loch in Scotland after Loch Morar<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/features/featurefirst2397.html</ref> It contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, and is the largest body of water on the Great Glen Fault, which runs from Inverness in the north to Fort William in the south.


The only island on Loch Ness is Cherry Island, visible at its southwestern end, near Fort Augustus. It is a crannog, which is a form of artificial island. Most crannogs were constructed during the Iron Age. There was formerly a second island (Dog Island) which was submerged when the water level was raised during the construction of the Caledonian Canal.


Loch Ness lies along the Great Glen Fault, which forms a line of weakness in the rocks which has been excavated by glacial erosion, forming the Great Glen and the basins of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness.


Loch Ness serves as the lower storage reservoir for the Foyers pumped-storage hydroelectric scheme, which was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. The turbines were originally used to provide power for a nearby aluminium smelting plant, but now electricity is generated and supplied to the National Grid. Another scheme, the 100 MW Glendoe Hydro Scheme near Fort Augustus, was begun in 2006<ref>http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/highlands_and_islands/7591395.stm</ref> It opened in 2009 but less than a month later was closed due to a major rockfall in the tunnel, necessitating the construction of two further tunnels to divert water and allow access.<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/features/featurefirst11862.html(accessed 11th July 2014)</ref> The scheme became operational again in August 2012.<ref>http://www.scottish-places.info/features/featurefirst11862.html(accessed 11th July 2014)</ref>

A further scheme, which would be Scotland's largest, is proposed.<ref>http://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/Home/New-Loch-Ness-hydro-scheme-would-be-Scotlands-biggest-5340959.htm (accessed 11th July 2014)</ref>