Locks on Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus

Locks on Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on an interesting town in the Scottish Highlands, namely Fort Augustus. This sits at the southern tip of Loch Ness, on a main tourist route which also links with the Caledonian Canal. Due to the combination of tourist traffic from Loch Ness and the Canal, Fort Augustus is extremely busy in summer. Visitors can join boat trips on Loch Ness from here. With my Tour Guide hat on, the ‘big three’ things to consider here are:

  • The town is named after a military fort which was built by General Wade (1724-9) as part of chain of British military fortifications to control the (then rebellious) Highlands.  This fort no longer exists.
  • By strange coincidence the fort was named ‘Augustus’ after George II’s son who at the time was a boy. This boy later became the Duke of Cumberland, a military commander who was the victor at the Battle of Culloden (1746) which took place just 40 miles away. This battle was the last ever such event which occurred on British soil after which there were no further Highland uprisings.
  • The image above shows a long flight of locks which are part of the Caledonian Canal. This 62 mile long waterway was completed in 1822, principally as a job creation scheme, and runs from fort William to Inverness. It was built by famous engineer Thomas Telford utilising the lochs (lakes) in the Great Glen natural fault and even today is hailed as a major engineering feat. The canal never reached its potential a commercial waterway but is now very popular with pleasure boats and allied activities, principally because of the stunning Highland scenery through which it runs. 

In practice, to  most visitors, Fort Augustus is probably just a very busy (tacky?) pull-in on the way to/from Inverness but dig a little deeper and some interesting history emerges.

Image below shows the famous Loch Ness taken from Fort Augustus. Here is a video clip from the same viewpoint.

Loch Ness (south)

Loch Ness (south), Scotland

Elsewhere today, I have been working on the detail of various tours and received an interesting enquiry in from a reader of this blog who wishes to see Highland Cattle when visiting next week. I am trying to help her.

Weather here in Glasgow is pretty awful: wet, wet, wet!

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