On your journey around Loch Ness, you’ll see many amazing sights. From mountains and waterfalls to wild animals and water monsters (well, maybe!). But what really makes a holiday special is seeing the smaller details in an area. The parts that most people would drive past without a second thought. The little village of Invermoriston is such a place. It’s certainly worth stopping here for a rest stop, but also to see Invermoriston Bridge and, at the right time of year, salmon leaping in the water below.
Invermoriston is to the western edge of Loch Ness, just a few miles away from Fort Augustus. It’s a place to stop on your travels and visit a cafe, buy some gifts and enjoy being in the Highlands. But stay a bit longer and you can explore a bit of Highland history, and maybe see some amazing natural sights too.
Just down from the car park is a path that leads towards Invermoriston Bridge. This was built in 1813 by the famed Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. Telford is known throughout the world for his engineering work. These include building the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, the Gotha Canal in Sweden and the Menai Straits Suspension Bridge in Wales.
One of his biggest jobs, which he worked on for twenty years from 1804, was the design of the Parliamentary Highland Roads. These were upgrades to the road network in Scotland. However he was tasked with designing completely new roads around Loch Ness. He began building bridges along the west shore as he wanted to join up all the small communities along the way. This meant he had to design bridges to span all the rivers there. In all, nearly a thousand bridges were built as part of the plan to improve Highland roads.
The Telford Bridge at Invermoriston began construction in 1805 but wasn’t opened until 1813. This has been blamed on ‘idle workers’ and a ‘languid and inattentive contractor’ – no sugar coating there! The delay resulted in a loss of £2,000 for Sir John Campbell of Ardnamurchan, the Guarantor. This amounts to around £140,000 in today’s money.
The bridge has two stone arches, meeting in the middle of the river on a large rocky outcrop. This design has ensured the bridge has lasted well, and copes in times of flood. You can walk across the bridge (although it’s a bit damaged at one end) and really take in the views.
Salmon leaping in Scotland
Watching salmon leap is a wonderful experience. It’s even better from atop a bridge! Salmon will leap up the river towards the end of October, as they swim back to their spawning grounds. Your best chance to see them tends to be in early morning or early evening. If you like photography, then get your camera ready. But you’ll need to be quick – they are fast!
Invermoriston is just off the A887 before it meets with the A82. It’s just a short walk from the cafe and shops to Invermoriston Bridge, and it’s a great area to sit awhile and perhaps eat your lunch. After that, you can explore the stunning area and river. If you are looking for a perfect stop-off point on your journey around Loch Ness, then this is it. You will pass Invermoriston on the Loch Ness 360° trail, specifically in Section Three.