Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s most famous bodies of water, and it’s all thanks to the famous monster we call Nessie. Many people go to the surrounding towns in Loch Ness as it is so near the Inverness City where one of the biggest airports in the country is situated.
There are plenty of towns and villages around its 56.4 square kilometers, but Fort Augustus can let you experience so much more of Loch Ness and Scotland in one trip.
And here are 8 reasons you should base your Loch Ness adventure in Fort Augustus.
1. The Views
The views are the real reason why any of us want to visit Loch Ness, and you’ll get some corkers around Fort Augustus. The wide expanse of water stretching out further than you can comprehend, mountains with meandering footpaths, little streams, a canal where visitors can hop into a boat. The icing on the cake for me was visiting in autumn and getting to enjoy the rich and vibrant hues of the trees and shrubs.
2. The Caledonian Canal
Constructed during the early 19th century, the canal is hard to miss as it is at the very center of Fort Augustus. When you get to the canal, stay to see a boat come through it. Kids will be amazed at the changing water levels of the lock whilst running over the lock bridges.
Fun fact: Connecting the Caledonian Canal to Loch Ness increased the water level of Loch Ness so much that it submerged a natural island!
3. The Haggis or Any Traditional Scottish Food
In a few local restaurants, such as The Boathouse (the only local restaurant on the shores of Loch Ness), The Bothy Restaurant, The Loch Inn or The Moorings, you can find haggis, Scotland’s national dish made up of meat, oatmeal, onions, salt, spices and traditionally cooked in a sheep’s stomach. Vegetarian alternatives of haggis can be bought in supermarkets. Alternatively, you can always cook your own Scottish meal at home with these recipes.
4. The Woodland
Fort Augustus is a fantastic spot for some hiking, and the famous Great Glen Way passes through. Both the Allt Na Criche route and Inchnacardoch Forest Circular walk will leave you in awe of the tall, straight trees, the fresh piney smell, and the colorful bracken.
It’s hard to imagine, from the point of a city-dweller, what life is like for the people living in the small communities nestled around the forest. The houses look Scandinavian and everyone has huge gardens and outbuildings. The view will give you a paradise-vibe like view.
5. The Loch Ness Viewpoint and Pepperpot Lighthouse
Where the Canal enters Loch Ness, there are two places worth visiting in Fort Augustus. On one side of the canal is Loch Ness Viewpoint, an area with a serene panorama of the Loch. On the other side is Pepperpot Lighthouse, supposedly the smallest lighthouse in the UK. Built in 1822 and still in use, it measures only 3 metres wide and 7 metres tall!
6. The Urquhart Castle
The Highland Club’s Fort Augustus Abbey is not the only historical building around. Further down Loch Ness is Urquhart Castle, a medieval castle that has played a role in Scottish history. After passing between Scottish and English hands, the castle was destroyed in the 14th century to ensure Scottish control and since then has descended into ruins. From this point of history, you can still look out onto Loch Ness with more of the views the Highlands are famed for.
7. Golfing and Angling
Fort Augustus hosts its very own golf club, with the course designed by James Braid (a five-time British Open winner). The nine-hole course is surrounded by the Highlands landscape and makes for a great afternoon activity.
There are plenty of places to fish in and around Fort Augustus or on Loch Ness. In Fort Augustus you can catch brown trout, salmon, sea trout, pike and rainbow trout. However, fishing requires more forethought, especially when planned independently to a tour. The fishing seasons for each fish varies, and there are laws according to fishing in Scotland that you should check out before going fishing.
8. The Vibes
The general atmosphere in Fort Augustus is something special. It is largely a tourist town, with people arriving on buses from all over Europe with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster.
However, unlike many tourist towns, there seems to be an understanding, a respect for the nature of the community.
There is a selection of pubs and cafes, which aren’t particularly remarkable, but that offer comfort and a welcoming space to stop for a midday break. They feel authentically British, and I can imagine some hearty pub food and quality banter from a local establishment goes down a storm with people from overseas.
There is a busy atmosphere around the canal, where boat tours are on offer, or if you’re like me,
another it’s another great spot for walking.
How to Go to Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus is 35 miles from Inverness and is about an hour’s drive from Inverness Airport via A82. A bus leaves at King Street Inverness where you must pay £7-£10 per head. A more comfortable way to get to Fort Augustus, though, is to hire taxis in Inverness which can drive you straight to your hotel there. One of the taxis in Inverness you can check out is the Inverness Taxis which offers to drive you to
Fort Augustus for only £65 for the regular taxi and £92 for the 8-seater taxi. Getting there with Inverness Taxis will also only take over 43-minute drive. So, if you can’t wait to experience all the wonderful things that For Augustus offers, then pre-book your Inverness Taxis service and a driver can pick you up from the airport to drive you straight to where the adventure begins.