Fort Augustus, although small, has a lot going on! This is perhaps due to its geography. It is situated on the shore at the extreme southwestern end of Loch Ness. With a population between six and seven hundred, the village is compact, beautiful and sometimes bustling with activity. This is especially so with tourists during the high summer period! However, it’s never congested.
Boats travel north and south along the Caledonian Canal. This cuts through the centre of the village as does the road from Fort William to Inverness via a swing bridge. A lovely tourist (and local) pastime is to sit outside a Fort Augustus bar or restaurant with a drink or meal. Spend a lazy hour or two watching the boats of all shapes and sizes passing through the series of locks on the canal.
Fort Augustus village takes its name from a fort built after the defeat of the 1715 Jacobite uprising. Today, almost nothing remains of the original structure. However some parts were incorporated into the Benedictine Abbey, which dates back to 1876. Today Fort Augustus Abbey is no longer an abbey but converted into luxury apartments.
The Caledonian Canal effectively cuts the village in two. To the north, the canal joins Loch Ness. An impressive flight of locks cleverly assist the water traffic from one vertical level to another.
It was designed by the famous civil engineer Thomas Telford and opened in 1822. The lock system is part of the 60-mile Caledonian Canal that links Inverness to Fort William. The canal was originally built to provide a shortcut for merchant skippers between the east and west coasts of Scotland. They welcomed the chance to reduce their journey times. It also meant they could avoid unwelcome approaches from French pirates on the open sea! Today, the canal is still in use – and Fort Augustus is an ideal spot to watch the yachts and cruisers drift by.
In 2002, the Great Glen Way was born. More recently the Great Glen Canoe Trail was opened. It’s a 73-mile route connecting Fort William to Inverness. Fort Augustus is always a popular resting point for weary walkers and cyclists. Relax and enjoy the view.
The village itself offers a super selection of visitor attractions. The Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre is well worth your time. The Clansman Centre allows you to experience a slice of Highland life as it was 500 years ago. A trip to the Rare Breeds Croft just outside the village will give you a chance to see some unusual farm animals and birds.
While you’re in the area, a visit to the pretty village of Invermoriston and lovely Glenmoriston is always worthwhile. Steeped in Jacobite history, Invermoriston, with its white harled cottages, is a popular resting place for walkers tackling the Great Glen Way.
Moriston is Gaelic for ‘river of the waterfalls’. The dramatic Moriston Falls are spectacular in spate. Try and view them from the Old Bridge. It was built by Thomas Telford in 1813 during the construction of the Caledonian Canal. Look out too for St Columba’s Well and the spectacular gorge at the entrance to the Glenmoriston Road to the Isles.
Fort Augustus and surrounding areas are perfect for relaxing and enjoying the fresh Highland air. Enjoy the scenic beauty of these places, and don’t forget to let us know your favourite!Popular Visitor Attractions
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