Fort Augustus Scotland
Fort Augustus Accommodation Guide - quality accommodation in Fort Augustus for holiday or business travel. Scotlands Fort Augustus accommodation options include hotels, lodges, guest houses, camping, bed and breakfast and self catering accommodation including holiday homes and apartment rentals. Whatever your Scottish Fort Augustus accommodation requirements we will help you find the right place.
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Welcome to Fort Augustus Scotland
Fort Augustus & Southern Loch Ness District
On the most southern tip of Loch Ness Fort Augustus is situated on the Great Glen Way and the Caledonian Canal and is half way between the Capital of the Highand’s Inverness and Fort William. The original name for the village was Cill Chuimein, literally "the Church of Chuimein", after the said Chuimein, then the Abbott of Iona, established a church here in the 6th Century.
In the early 17th century, the village became known by the name of the fort built by General Wade, Fort Augustus, named after the second son of King George. Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, became infamous in the Highlands as "Butcher Cumberland" owing to the many atrocities inflicted on the Highland population by his orders.
Running through the village is the River Oich and the impressive 60 mile
long Caledonian Canal and lock system, built by Thomas Telford in the
early 1800s. The Caledonian Canal stretches from Fort William to Inverness,
is linked by a series of natural lochs and has a flight of 5 locks from
the top of the canal in Fort Augustus down onto Loch Ness.
Fort Augustus offers stunning views down Loch Ness, with many beautiful walks and an excellent golf course, or if you prefer, idle your time away watching the boats negotiate up and down the locks. The Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre is a British Waterways Museum about the history of the canal and the village. The village hall holds the local ceilidh [traditional Scottish dancing and music] every week during the summer months. The Fort Augustus car park is in a central location with public toilets, telephone and bus stop next to it.
From a base in Fort Augustus, you can easily visit the best that the Loch Ness region has to offer. Inverness, the capital city of the Highlands, and Fort William "the outdoor capital" are less than an hour's drive. The iconic Urquhart Castle at around 30 minutes, and the cinematically famous Eilean Donan Castle at around an hour (possibly the two most photogenic Highland Castles of all) are equally accessible. The Skye Bridge and the Isle of Skye itself are less than 90 minutes away, as is the mysterious and atmospheric Glencoe. Further, but still well within the scope of a day trip are West Coast destinations such as Oban, Mallaig, Gairloch and Ullapool.
Since the Great Glen Way was opened in 2002, Fort Augustus has become a favourite stopping place for walkers and cyclists to take a well earned rest and recharge while enjoying the beauty of Loch Ness.
Accommodation in and around Fort Augustus
Price Guide - per person based on sharing room: under $40 - $41 - 70 - more than $70
How to Find Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus is in the historic and scenic Highland region of Scotland, situated between Fort William and Inverness on the shores of Loch Ness. Although the town only boasts a modest population of around 400 people it is a popular and busy tourist destination and with a wide range of activities to keep you occupied during your stay.
Try a cruise on Loch Ness, where you can try and find the Loch Ness Monster or perhaps a trip to the nearby Urquhart Castle. This is an ideal base for touring or relaxing and for keen walkers and cyclists there are many walks around Fort Augustus, the most popular being the Great Glen Way which passes through the village.
The History & Heritage of Loch Ness & the Great Glen
About 400 million years ago, the rocks that now form Scotland came together during an event called the Caledonian Orogeny. Prior to that event, most of what is now Scotland was attached to the North American and Scandinavian continent, separated from the rest of Northern Europe. During cataclysmic volcanic and tectonic activity around 60 million years ago, the North Atlantic came into being and the basic shape of today's Scotland (and the rest of the British Isles) was formed.
This was not the end of the tectonic activity. Scotland has many fault lines, the greatest of which stretches from Inverness in the East to Loch Linnhe in the West (the fault continues underwater out towards Ireland, and cuts through the south end of Mull) and is represented on the surface as The Great Glen. The fault is still active, minor earthquakes being recorded regularly as the northern plate slips very gradually toward the South West.
During the last major Ice Age, very heavy glaciation shaped the landscape we know today, scouring out deep U shaped depressions in the rock and forming the Lochs that are such a feature of the area. The largest and most famous of these is Loch Ness which, with an average depth over 700 feet and surrounding ridges rising some 800 feet more, is a testament to the power of the glacier that gave birth to it.
The Great Glen cuts the Highlands in two and has been inhabited since the Neolithic Era. It offers the only relatively easy communication between the East and West coasts, and this has been recognised over and again by those peoples occupying the land. In the present day it is the only East-West corridor with recognised routes for walking, cycling, travel by boat and by road (and previously by rail). Its importance in the historical, industrial, cultural, political and natural heritage both of the Highlands and of Scotland is unequalled.
Vikings, Jacobites, Covenanters. Saints, Generals, Kings, Queens. Engineers, Builders, Sailors, Fishermen. Authors, Poets, Painters, Musicians. And Nessie. All have played their part in the heritage of this, the most mysterious, the most magical and the most famous place in the world.
Wildlife & Nature
Any visitor driving up to the Loch Ness area has a chance of seeing Britain's largest land mammal, the red deer - unless summer heat has made them retreat to the higher mountain corries. Even the casual observer should spot basking seals on coastal rocks. In short, some Highland wildlife is easy to spot - and more than one western seaboard hotel with a shoreline outlook boasts that otters are frequently seen from the dining room!
Many a bird table is visited daily by photogenic red squirrels - and
there are plenty of woodlands where this charming animal is conspicuous.
However, not all wildlife is quite so cooperative. It takes luck, sometimes,
to encounter a pine marten, the shy denizen of the old pinewoods, and
it could be that your wildcat sighting will just be a glimpse in the headlights
as you drive through some northern glen. But from roe deer at the woodland
edge to otters foraging along the tide-line, be ready with your eyes open
(and your camera handy) for a Highland wildlife encounter.
Wild, unspoilt and spectacular country tends to mean wildlife to match - so that the Highlands are the stronghold of a number of 'high profile' species. By their nature, birds of prey usually have large territories and cover large distances while hunting - so that a sighting of a diving peregrine, a soaring golden eagle or just a glimpse of a merlin skimming the heather-moor can never quite be predicted, nor ever forgotten as a part of a Highland wildlife experience.
There are more than 400 pairs of golden eagle in Scotland, many in the Highland area. Summer visiting osprey can be surprisingly conspicuous and have spread beyond their old strongholds along the River Spey. Red kite can be seen frequently while driving on the A9 north of Inverness, though the other re-introduced species, the sea eagle, takes more spotting in the Skye area. Both these areas are easy day trips from your base in the Great Glen.
Closed circuit tv cameras at osprey, hen harrier, red kite and sea eagle
nests in various parts of the Highlands deliver a close-up portrait to
the visitor - but nothing will compare to your own first eagle sighting
in the wild. It looks much bigger and darker than the widespread (and
much smaller) buzzard.
The wild and unpolluted seas are more than just a blue backdrop to fine scenery - they offer a good chance to see wildlife such as whales, dolphins and most commonly, seals. The bottlenosed dolphins of the Moray Firth are perhaps the most famous cetacean species in the northern waters. Here, the cool rich feeding grounds allow them to grow bigger than bottlenose dolphins anywhere else in the world. The mouth of Cromarty Firth, Chanonry Point, North Kessock (visitor centre) and Fort George are all good watching places and dolphin cruises are also available. Minke and killer whales can also sometimes be seen.
However, the western seaboard also offers cetacean watching. Mallaig, Armadale, Kyle of Lochalsh and Gairloch, all easily accessible from the Great Glen, are some of the places offering sea-life cruises. A variety of dolphin species may be encountered, as well as minke and killer whales. Harbour porpoises are the smallest species regularly seen. While sightings of cetaceans cannot be absolutely guaranteed, the records suggest that you are never quite sure what you may see - Atlantic white-sided dolphins, pilot whales and even sperm whales are just some of the sightings - and in any case, seabirds and seals in plenty will keep you entertained!