Tony will collect you from your hotel or station etc. and firstly head for the River Ness, one of the shortest rivers in Europe. Here we make a stop for an introduction to the natural history of the area with particular regard to the formation of the Great Glen and Loch Ness. You will also learn about a strange sighting of something in the river in the nineteen thirties which was, more or less, ignored and yet, today, is seen as a very important component of the mystery.
From here we head along the river, over the Caledonian Canal and make a stop at Dochgarroch to see a set of lochs built around two hundred years ago. We then travel the short distance to the loch passing the point where one of the most famous and definitely the most important sightings occurred. Mrs Mackays sighting from 1933 which is credited as being the sighting which started all the monster furore. You will also see a short interview with Mrs Mackay on Tony's portable DVD equipment.
After a short stop on the lochside we travel to the harbour which was used for the biggest ever expedition on Loch Ness in 1987 - Operation Deepscan. Your guide was the administrative co-ordinator of this expedition. The name was coined by Bob Kass in a planning meeting. Here you can board a boat for a short cruise to Urquhart Castle where Tony will meet you off the boat. Alternatively we may be able to get you out for a one hour trip on the Loch Ness Project research boat depending on the time of year. We'll ask you about this option after you have booked.
At Urquhart Castle you will learn how these fortresses controlled the loch and Great Glen for centuries. The castle is the location where St Columba had a second encounter with a beast at the loch, this time the Water Horse. Were his sightings true or just parables. We have the answer to that these days and you will learn it here.
We now head into Drumnadrochit where you have the option to visit the Loch Ness Centre which was set up by your guide in 1980. In 2000 Project Leader Adrian Shine set up a new exhibition there which has received numerous awards and you have an option to visit it.
In the village of Drumnadrochit there is an opportunity to grab some lunch to eat "on the hoof" to make the most of your day and we head west, making a short stop to view the John Cobb memorial. Your guide will tell you about this ill-fated world water speed record attempt.
Continuing west we pass important landmarks - the original HQ of the Loch Ness Bureau in the sixties; the location where the infamous Frank Searle petrol bomb was thrown; the SYHA hostel which was once the Half-Way House Tea Room where several sightings occurred and we arrive in Invermoriston to view one of Wade's bridges and, often, some hairy cows.
Eventually we arrive in Fort Augustus and park in the village. Tony will tell you about the monks who used to call the abbey home and for whom he set up a visitor centre in the nineties which sadly closed in 1998. You will learn about the monks who claimed to see things in the loch, in particular you will see a video of the most famous monster sighting of all time by Fr Gregory Brusey. Also in Fort Augustus there is a chance to see the staircase of locks on the Caledonian Canal which lift boats up to the level of Loch OIch.
Half of our trip is now complete and we take the Suidhe road out of Fort Augustus past Loch Tarff and we make a stop at the Suidhe viewpoint ... a vista which stretches for miles to the east.
After passing through the Fairy Glen and Foyers we rejoin Loch Ness at the location of the infamous Frank Searle's exhibition from the nineteen seventies and eighties. The story of this monster rogue is recounted by your guide who had many unpleasant encounters with him in the past.
Leaving the Foyers harbour we continue along General Wade's road making a moody and mysterious stop at Boleskine House where there is time to visit the cemetery and to see the famous musket ball marks in an eighteenth century gravestone. Is there really a tunnel from the house to the cemetery?
After some photostops on the lochside we arrive in Dores where Steve Feltham has his "Nessiesary" Investigation HQ. Tea and buns at the Dores Inn.
Finally we leave the loch and return to Inverness where there is some time to spend your hard-earned cash in the Pringles Woollen Mill if you wish.
Once your trip is complete you will be fully aware of the true story of Loch Ness and much better informed than most of the so-called monster experts around the world.
Tony's Loch Ness book was published less than a year ago, so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn most of its contents directly from the author. Signed copies are available if required.
PRICE £405 for up to six passengers - a unique experience