A Walk Around Fort Augustus
We recently visited Fort Augustus Abbey to deliver a couple of items that needed replacing in our holiday apartment. I think it was a measuring jug and a new wok. Not sure why we thought the jug was missing because it was right there in the cupboard when I went to put the new one in! Anyway, I left the new one in the cupboard. The wok! This is the fifth wok we have put in the apartment – first one had the wooden handle split by the dishwasher, so we don’t get wooden handles now! The second one went rusty in the dishwasher, we don’t get steel ones now! The third and fourth non-stick woks became so badly scratched by metal implements we just had to replace it. This one is another non-stick one.
The moral of this story is that one shouldn’t use metal tools in non-stick pans! Please use wooden spoons in the wok! Anyway, I digress, it was a nice day in June so we decided to have a little walk around Fort Augustus.
No need to drive into the village – leave the car in the Highland Club and walk along the canal path into the village. The path is only a few yards – it’s that close to Fort Augustus and takes you past the Loch Ness cruises berth – they do hourly leisure cruises down the loch towards Urquhart castle but for some reason they stop short of the castle – it’s still very nice though.
Loch Ness Cruises also do fast RIB boat trips for the more adventurous and they do go all the way to Urquhart Castle. We have done the leisure cruise and thoroughly recommend it for a relaxing hour getting some nice pictures on Loch Ness but we haven’t ventured onto the RIB trip though ( I think RIB means Rubber Inflatable Boat but I may be wrong on that)
Opposite the cruises it was nice to see a new (to us) coffee van selling all kinds of specialist coffee and close enough to the apartment to get carry out!
Next to the coffee van is the Clansman Centre where you can enjoy an excellent exhibition and movie. The centre stocks so many interesting and unique items including Celtic jewellery, gifts and an amazing selection of Highland Targes (shields) which are very authentic looking.
After passing the Clansman Centre you find yourself on the swing bridge which is more or less in the centre of the village, which is small really but it has a good selection of bars and restaurants. The swing bridge allows boats to cross the main A82 into the locks of the Caledonian Canal and it’s fascinating to watch the boats going through the locks. There are tables and benches on the canal side so when the weather is good, you can have a spot of lunch at the same time as watching the boats go by. Personally, I am just as fascinated in watching the people on the boats, as I am of the boats themselves. Incidentally there are some quite large passenger cruise ship going through here on their way to cruising the western isles – we have seen the luxury cruiser “Lord of the Isles” go though more than once.
Across the road from the swing bridge is an ornate fountain or drinking trough with Queen Victoria on it and a nice quiet little garden with benches to sit quietly.
We crossed the bridge towards the supermarket – always a busy little place, but dismayed and very surprised to see it closed down! OMG! the best shop in the village closed! Just out of curiosity we carried on to the garage shop next door and checked it out, to find it vastly improved and stocking all the groceries you would need to tide you over till you get to the big shopping in Inverness or Fort William. Fort Augustus is roughly midway between the two towns. You could easily though, get everything you need for an extended stay right here in Fort Augustus.
On past the Garage to the main car park, public toilets and the visitor centre, another surprise here – half the tourist information centre is now a chippy, which proved just too much for us to resist you know what it’s like once you get that smell in your nostrils, you just have to try out the fish and chips! For us though, we only tried them out so we can report to our self-catering guests on the quality!! We hurried back to the Queen Victoria bench to enjoy try out! the fish and chips and can thoroughly recommend them but we agreed on the need to try some more another day to check out the consistency!
Time to go back to the abbey, we returned by staying on the road this time and through the main gates. These are electronic so when driving you need a code to open them – we give our guests the code before they arrive, along with lots of other local information and arrival procedures. By the way if you look across the road from the gates you can see The Lovat just a hundred yards from the gates. The food and atmosphere here is excellent and we thoroughly endorse the Lovat for a visit during your stay for a nice meal and of course, there’s no reason to be tempted to drink and drive – it’s so close you can walk!
The last 300 yards is probably the best, within the Highland Club grounds, along the avenue of large lime trees past the cricket pitch and back the Old School – lovely!