The Bare Traveller

Things to do in and around Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus, on the western shore of Loch Ness, borders the Caledonian Canal, which connects Loch Lochy and Fort William. Fortifications were built here after the Jacobite uprising of 1715, giving the settlement its name. The hamlet is really scenic, and it has an unmistakable appeal about it.

Although it is a popular spot for visitors to see Loch Ness, it is nice and relaxing to visit. Follow the loch along its southern shore to get to Inverness if you prefer natural places to Nessie-related sights. 

Stop in Invermoriston if you’re on the north shore: this little town has numerous wonderful walking routes.

Fort Augustus, Scotland

A mystery, a lake, and a terrifying creature known as Nessie! Loch Ness is without a doubt one of the most well-known in the world, due to the incredible tale that has hung over the whole region for years. 

It is the biggest lake in the United Kingdom and is located in Scotland, west of the Highlands. It runs 37 kilometres from Inverness to Fort Augustus and was formed by an old glacier.

In the 1930s, tales began to circulate about a creature that lived in the lake’s waters and was dubbed Nessie since it was compared to a marine dinosaur. 

The creature has become so well-known around the world that the lake has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom: with breathtaking views, lush green landscapes, ancient castles, and traditional villages, you will undoubtedly be charmed by this Scottish pearl, unique in the world.

Fort Augustus - Scotland

When you think of Scotland’s most renowned lake, you automatically think of Britain’s most famous monster: Nessie, commonly known as the Loch Ness Monster. 

Although Nessie hasn’t been seen in decades, no institution does a better job of keeping the age-old tale alive than the Loch Ness Center and Exhibition, which has displays about the renowned beast and its history.

Even without the enthralling monster stories, Loch Ness is breathtakingly gorgeous, particularly near the majestic remains of Urquhart Castle on its coast. Loch Ness follows the Great Glen, a fault line formed when tectonic plates clashed to form the surrounding highlands. 

It is also Scotland’s second deepest lake, at 755 feet. The best part is that Loch Ness and its surrounding tourist sites are very near to Glasgow and an easy drive from Edinburgh, making it a great day excursion from either city. 

If you don’t want to deal with the logistics, either city has a variety of good scheduled tour choices. For the very daring, the Loch Ness 360° Trail allows you to trek the whole length of the loch.

What to do in and around Fort Augustus

1) Nessie: The Loch Ness Monster Legend

When the monster took the soon-to-be-saint into the impenetrable depths, St. Columba, an Irish missionary, was supposed to have been the first human to encounter the eldest of Loch Ness’s occupants. 

In his book “The History of Scotland”, Hector Boece described how a “terrible creature” appeared out of the river and consumed three men.

In 1933, a couple sitting on the north bank witnessed a bizarre writhing monster cross the road in front of them. A slew of photographs and eyewitness accounts followed, as well as an influx of tourists.

Fort Augustus - Loch Ness Monster Structure

Nessie is described as a giant sea reptile with a long neck, small head, fins, and many bumps in most accounts.

Robert Wilson, a London gynaecologist, took the most famous shot of Nessiteras Rhombopteryx, as Nessie is officially known.


Wilson claimed seeing something on the lake and taking a photograph on April 19, 1934: the monster’s long neck had barely emerged from the frigid water. Wilson was subsequently revealed to be part of a group that intended to perform a media prank.

Christian Spurling, one of the “coup plotters,” revealed his involvement in the big deceit shortly before his death in 1993. 

Spurling, a hobbyist carpenter, had installed a phoney dinosaur on a toy submarine, according to The Sunday Times. The trick was flawless.

2) Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle’s spectacular remains exist on a spit of land projecting into Loch Ness, mere minutes from Drumnadrochit. 

The castle, once one of Scotland’s largest fortresses, is at the centre of numerous old mythology against a backdrop of lake and mountain. 

It was a classic motte and bailey fortress in the 12th century, but stone walls replaced the original timber structure in the 14th century.

Urquhart Castle Inverness Scotland

The castle was then given to John Grant of Freuchie in 1509, who had the keep enlarged, and the fortified stronghold was destroyed by fire in the late 17th century. 

The castle was a recording venue for one of the Outlander’s blockbuster series. Visitors may now enjoy on-site amenities such as a café, gift store, and breathtaking loch views.

Address: Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6XJ

3) Drumnadrochit Village

Drumnadrochit is an excellent site to start exploring Scotland’s most renowned lake, with its numerous stories and tales, and neighbouring Urquhart Castle, which is located at the head of Urquhart Bay on the north coast of Loch Ness. 

Drumnadrochit Village - Fort Augustus

There are many things to do in this town. It is home to the Loch Ness Center and Exhibition, which relates the amazing storey of the most renowned resident loch, Nessie, as well as guesthouses, bed and
breakfasts, cafés, and gift stores.

It’s also a great spot for a boat ride to observe the monsters up close, fishing, or simply taking in the splendour of the lake. Horseback riding and pony trekking are also popular in the hamlet.

4) Lock Ness Exhibition Centre

The exhibits here utilise audiovisual and static displays to convey the tale of the region’s evolution and the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. 

You may witness the most recent advancements in the monster hunt, as well as portrayals, media headlines, and underwater images. The most fascinating exhibit is on Operation Deepscan, which took place in 1987 and included sonar scans of Loch Ness murky waters.  

Fort Augustus - Lock Ness Exhibition Centre

The photographs appear to corroborate the existence of something out there, and the research hasn’t ruled out the possibility of the fabled monster’s existence.

The complex also has a cafe, souvenir store, and a small hotel, as well as frequent boat cruises on the Deepscan research vessel for people interested in learning more about the monster and the loch while taking in the breathtaking environment. 

Another monster-themed exhibit may be seen in Nessieland, a local
amusement park.

Address: Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6TU


5) Fort Augustus

For its magnificent site on the Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus, near the southern end of Loch Ness, is a popular tourist destination. Sitting by the lake and watching the boats go by is one of the nicest free things to do here. 

Don’t miss the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre, which has a wealth of information on the building and following history of this remarkable engineering marvel.

Fort Augustus, Scotland

The stronghold, which gave the town its name, was constructed in 1715 to serve as the headquarters of English General Wade in 1729. After multiple ownership changes, the most of it was destroyed in 1876. 

Since then, Benedictine monks have constructed an abbey and a popular school on the property. The majestic Cascade aux Foyers is another local sight.

6) The Caledonian Canal

Since 1803 when Thomas Telford created the Caledonian Canal, the Caledonian Rift has been exploited for transportation. 

The canal, which runs from Fort William to Inverness, has saved ships from having to navigate the treacherous Pentland Firth between the Scottish peninsula and Orkney.

The Caledonian Canal - Fort Augustus

Only one-third of the channel’s extent is man-built, with the rest made up of tiny lochs such as Loch Linnhe, Loch Lochy, Little Loch Oich, and the longest and most famous, the 40-Kilometer-long Loch Ness. 

The canal, including the lochs, is 100 kilometres long and runs through 29 locks, the most magnificent of which are the eight locks of Neptune’s Staircase. 

Today, the canal is mostly used for recreational purposes, with tourists renting boats and canoes to enjoy the magnificent surroundings along the waterway.

6) Loch Ness 360° trail

There’s no better way to get to know Scotland’s most renowned lake – and a few days to spare – than to tackle the fantastic 360 Loch Ness Trail °. 

Picturesque city of Inverness taking in just about everything you’ll have listed in your list of Loch Ness must sees along the route. This fantastic activity route is in fact accessible from just about anywhere around the Loch, and even links easily to larger trail networks such as the Great Glen Way. 

Loch Ness 360° trail

It is suitable for everything from a casual stroll to a hard hike, as well as being popular for cyclists and equestrians. 

Expect to spend six days hiking the entire route on foot or three days cycling it, stopping at gorgeous lodges and inns each evening to recover and relax.

You’ll see the majority of Loch Ness’s main landmarks along the way. It’s not just the spectacular Canal Calédonien, but also the charming Telford Bridge and the famous Château d’Urquhart. 

There are also a number of possibilities for organised trips, with reputable travel and excursion agencies offering to manage all reservations and reservations. 

They will also provide detailed routes; you can find some of the best of these detailed routes on the official route webpage, which is shown below.

You can find all the information you need by visiting this website:

7) Spean Bridge

The drive to Spean Bridge, a little south of Loch Ness, offers spectacular views of the Caledonian Rift and the north side of Ben Nevis. Spean Bridge is an ideal starting point for excursions in the Glen Roy National Nature Reserve, which is known for its parallel roads or terraces that run up the hill.

They depict the various water levels of a Pleistocene lake dammed by Ice Age glaciers. The Commando Memorial, a monument dedicated to the troops of the British commando forces who trained at nearby
Achnacarry Castle, is also located here.

8) Loch Oich et Invergarry

Loch Oich’s little islands, south of Loch Lomond, are located against a backdrop of rugged hills and provide stunning vistas. 

A fascinating memorial to a terrible episode that occurred in the 17th century lies on the west side of the loch, near a spring known as Tobar nan Ceann.

Seven brothers were hanged here for the murders of two members of the Keppoch family, and their heads were washed in the spring before being given to the clan leader. 

Invergarry is a popular destination for mountain walkers and anglers, as well as horse rides through lonely Highland valleys and mountain peaks.

Affordable accommodation around Fort Augustus

Serendipity Bed and Breakfast in Dalchreichart, a renowned Glenmoriston guesthouse nestled amongst magnificent countryside, offers a wonderful value budget stay with amazing hosts and a superb breakfast served with jams House.

Loch Ness Lodge Hotel is another excellent option, with reasonable prices, hilly scenery, hiking paths, traditional Scottish food, and free parking.

Finally, check out Morag’s Lodge near Fort Augustus, which provides dormitories and separate family rooms at a reasonable price.

How to make the most of your vacation around Loch Ness?

1) Group Excursions

  • On the 12-hour Small-Group Day Trip to Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands from Edinburgh (put link), you’ll drive by minivan with an expert guide to the highlands, stopping at Spean Bridge, Cairngorms National Park, and Fort Augustus, where you’ll have opportunity for an optional Loch Ness cruise.
  • The Small-Group Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Day Trip from Glasgow departs from central Glasgow and follows a similar schedule, with plenty of time for a Loch Ness cruise.

2) Travelling alone

The train ride from Edinburgh to Loch Ness takes around 3.5 hours. It takes roughly 30 minutes via bus to go to Drumnadrochit from there.

To go from Glasgow to Loch Ness, take the train or drive to Inverness, where you may easily take a day excursion or cruise.

Final Thoughts

Fort Augustus represents an ideal destination if you want to explore a unique site at the heart of Scotland highlands. Depending of the time you want to spend there, I would recommend to stay at least 3 days to have enough time to explore.

What about you? – Have you even been to Fort Augustus? What was your experience? – Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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