On the southwestern shore of Loch Ness, Fort Augustus is a picturesque village of 600 that gets packed with visitors during the summer months. Originally an 18th-century garrison, Fort August lies at the junction of four old military roads.
Surrounded by heather hills and cut in two by the Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus serves as a spot for day-trippers to relax and watch the boats master the longest lock system on the canal. Running from coast to coast, the Caledonian Canal was designed in 1822 to give merchant skippers a shortcut across the country and to help keep boats out of harm’s way. At the time, pesky French pirates were prone to scouring the open seas! Those interested in the canal can find out more at the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre. Also of interest is the Clansman Centre, which provides insight into 17th-century Highland life.
Visitors to Fort Augustus include cyclists and pedestrians tackling the Great Glen Way, a 73-mile trail that runs from Inverness in the east to Fort William on Scotland’s west coast. There are always plenty of Loch Ness Monster hunters enjoying tea and cake around the village, too.
Fort Augustus is an hour’s bus ride from Inverness. From Glasgow, take the train from Queen Street station to Spean Bridge. From there, it’s a 35-minute train ride to Fort Augustus.