Fort Williams - Fort Agustus

Scotland Travel Blog

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Glenfinnan Viaduct

Got up quite early and went straight to Morrison’s supermarket for munchie food, water and a McDonald’s breakfast. It was drizzly outside so decided to go along to Glenfinnan first thing.

Headed through Fort William along the ‘road to the isles’ to the tip of the Loch and then followed it for about 20 minutes before heading into the wilderness of the Western highlands, again, huge, baron, mist covered mountains, waterfalls, lowland woods and lakes.

Arrived at Glenfinnan Monument visitor information centre which was situated in front of a low hill

across the road from the monument and loch.

Glenfinnan Monument

We had a look in the visitor centre and read up on some of the history of the area. We then walked up the small hill behind the centre. At the top we had an absolutely fantastic view on both sides. Towards the back of us was the huge Glenfinnan viaduct which featured in Harry Potter. It’s grey, stretching across the valley contrasting with the red and green of the hills and trees.

The monument is situated at the head of Loch Shiel and from where we were standing we were able to get a brilliant view right down the loch and to the surrounding mountains.

We then walked down the hill and across the road to the monument and climbed the spiral stairs up inside. From the top we got another good view of the loch and mountains.

I don’t like heights so we were not up there for long and it was raining by then!

We drove back to Fort William and headed North just out of town to the Nevis range gondola.

Eilean Donan Castle
Here there is a gondola which goes halfway up Aonach Mor which is 2 peaks over from Ben Nevis. There is also a world class mountain bike track here where the world championships are held. A mountain bike meet must have just finished as we arrived as there was a big tent and loads of bikes and people about.

Got our tickets and jumped on the gondola which was the same type as the Queenstown ones, same colour, size and shape.

Going up, the beginning of the trip we went over Autumn trees of all colours, heather and dead thistle plants lining the mountain bike track. Further up the land became more baron and was covered in a type of orange looking grass stuff.

It was very windy near the top and our gondola was swaying, I was freaking out and clinging onto Dave!

At the top is the Snowgoose restaurant and shop.

Highland river
This is the base building for the Nevis ski area. Just above the restaurant chairlifts carry on up the hill and there were ski racks outside. I hated being there without any snow, for someone like me who loves skiing so much it was like teasing me!

Couldn’t see very much that day because of the weather but could just make out the mountains on the other side of the valley as well as the loch by Fort William.

Dave had a coffee and a muffin inside while I looked around the gift shop. We then got a chance to ski, well on a machine! Had a couple of games each on then virtual skiing machine which generated lots of laughs!

Headed back down the mountain to the warm car.

From there we drove to the top of Loch Lochie and then made our way West towards Shiel Bridge. This area was by far the best experience of highland scenery we had. The mountains kept getting higher as we neared the West coast as we passed lochs, mountain streams, vast high valleys and forests.

We hit Loch Duich and made our way around the shores to Eilean Donan Castle.

This castle is perhaps Scotland’s most famous. it sits on a small island joined to the shore by a long stone bridge and was last rebuilt and reopened as late as 1930 but the island has been inhabited since the 6th century.

Going along the bridge and entering the castle you can’t help but imagine how many famous people through history had trodden this path (including Christopher Lambert in Highlander the movie!)

We entered the castle and started in the Banqueting hall, by most standards this castle is quite small but is very cosy and well furnished, this particular room had a long wooden table in the middle surrounded by huge paintings, deer heads, bookcases, ornaments and a huge fireplace, all on a timber floor covered with a McCrae tartan rug.

Other rooms included the bedrooms which with the hallway were very cosy,.

the kitchens, which in 1997 were restored to their former glory and are now home to models of food, maids and general kitchen supplies and look like a huge feast is ready to be set on the table.

Out in the courtyard we got a great view of the surrounding Loch and mountains and outside the castle walls you could see some of the remains of the original castle as well as the McCrae war memorial.

On the way back inland towards Fort Agustus and Loch Ness we stopped at a ew places for photos including a mountain river, some strange looking rock piles on the top of a hill (where I saw the one and only thistle in bloom of the whole trip) and a great viewpoint over a sunlit valley.

Fort Agustus was a lot smaller than we imagined and we found our B & B straight away situated beside a string of Locks on the Caledonian Canal. The B & B, called the Bank House is actually a bank as well as a B & B. It is in an old building where the Bank Manager used to live. We were in the Dunvegan room which looked out over the canal and was very cosy with Victorian furniture, tartan bedspreads and a very modern ensuite. That night we headed out to a pub just down the road and had a lovely Salmon dinner and wrote my postcards.

Sat in the room and watched TV the rest of the night as there was not a lot to do in the town.

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Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan Monument
Glenfinnan Monument
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle
Highland river
Highland river