Loch Ness is located about 23 miles southwest of Inverness and is the second largest loch (lake) in Scotland with a surface area of 22 square miles. Loch Ness is fed by the River Oich and is a section of the Caledonian Canal with traverses Scotland connecting the east and west coasts. The Loch Ness water flows through the Bona Narrows opening into Loch Dochfour and becoming the River Ness which eventually flows to the North Sea.
Loch Ness is about 22.5 miles long and at its widest about 1.7 miles. At its deepest, it is about 750 feet with an average depth of 430 feet. It is the extreme depth which gives it an overall volume of 263,000 million cubic feet. This is as much water as all the rest of the fresh water lakes in England and Wales combined.
The rocky crag overlooking Loch Ness where Urquhart Castle sits has been occupied for over 1500 years. The location is first mentioned in a history of St Columba who visited the Pict Chieftain Emchath in 580 and baptized him. The castle fell to Edward I in 1296 and for the next 300 years shifted back and forth between the Highland kings and the English. In the 1500s Clan Grant was given the castle to repair and hold as stronghold for the English.
After the Catholic King James VII was exiled and replaced by Protestants William II and Mary II in 1689, the Castle was never again occupied by troops. In order to keep the castle from falling into Highland Chieftain hands in 1692 the Clan Grant filled the gatehouse with barrels of gun powder and blew the structure apart. They set fire to the rooms burning all the inside of the castle and the thatched roofs making the structure unusable.
Today the castle's remains belong to the national trust and it is one of the most visited places in Scotland.