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Loch Ness is known around the world for Nessie the fabled Loch Ness Monster, but famous also for its beauty and history as well as our little mystery. You may be surprised to learn just how much the area offers in terms of visitor attractions for the whole family, and even as a base for exploring further afield in the Highlands.
If you’d like to see more of the Loch, or indeed see if you can spot Nessie - the Loch Ness monster, you may want to pay a visit to the Loch Ness Exhibition centre to find out more. The centre is based near Drumnadrochit, half way along the A82 - west of the Loch. If you decide to take this route, you will also pass Urquhart Castle, where most of the Nessie sightings take place. You can also find local boat tours of the loch if you prefer to get up close and personal. The club will provide you with details of which carriers are most suitable for your desired journey.
Fort Augustus is half way between the capital of the Highands, Inverness and Fort William with the River Oich running close by. The Caledonian Canal was constructed by Thomas Telford in the early 1800s and stretches from Fort William to Inverness connected by a series of locks passing through Fort Augustus. These are all impressive sites to behold and the Highland club even offers opportunities for private mooring (Loch Ness or Caledonian Canal). Canal authorities differ according to region, further information can be found at www.waterscape.com/canals-and-rivers/caledonian-canal
Whisky has almost become synonymous with Scotland and the Highlands. Known for its distilleries the Highlands has produced and helped shape the character of a wide range of its very own Whiskies, many of which have become world famous. Various local pubs in Fort Augustus will stock a range of whiskies for you to sample with local specialities.
In 2003, the Scotland Whisky Tourism Initiative launched www.scotlandwhisky.com creating whisky embassies to promote the work of distilleries amongst visitors to Scotland. The nearest distilleries to Fort Augustus are Fort William distillery, where you can take the Ben Nevis distillery tour, and in Inverness, where you can visit the Tomatin Whisky distillery. A week at Glenlivet gives you plenty of time to sample these local delights, and perhaps just enough time to make some purchases as gifts or just enjoy in the comfort of your own holiday home.
Scotland is indeed the home of golf with over 550 golf courses dotting the country. You certainly couldn’t go far without coming across one. Fort Augustus has its very own course near the banks of the Caledonian Canal and Loch ness. Set out in 1924, it is considered one of the more of the challenging 9 hole courses in the country. Visitors to the course can bring friends and enjoy the surrounding scenery whilst enjoying a beverage or two in the club-lounge. You can book visits by contacting the club directly www.fortaugustusgc.webeden.co.uk
Whether it’s a hike or a stroll, the Highlands is at the top of the list of most walkers’ top destinations. With routes that vary in difficulty, you may chose simply to walk around the local environs of Fort Augustus, or attempt to challenge a longer route. The Jacobite Hills walk is labelled as a gentle stroll, and allows you to experience the Jacobite history of the local area. See where General Wade led his army and walk the same paths he planned to construct into mighty highways.
You may be a seasoned walker or a novice, in either case it is advisable to plan before hand. Ordnance survey maps provide detailed descriptions of the local areas and popular bridle pathways, so it is recommended these are studied before hand. The Highland Club will offer advice before you set out and will suggest guided walks and tours. Sturdy walking boots are recommended, as is a back up plan for adverse weather conditions.
Loch Ness, more so than Caledonian Canal provides great fishing opportunities, the loch is plentiful during the right seasons and the right fishing conditions which vary throughout the year. Fishing is available by bank or by boat, details of chartered fishing boats can be found through the club or by checking local organisations through www.fishing-uk-scotland.com . It is advisable to check permission depending on where you decide to fish.
Arts and Crafts
The stunning surrounds of the Highlands present visitors with breath-taking views. The light in this part of the world is unique and enough to make any budding artist or photographer capture the experience through their own eyes. If you’re planning on sitting back and taking in the scenery, why not draw or paint at the same time.
If you’re looking for local art, visit the Laura Connection for locally produced crafts. If you’re after special gifts or souvenirs you may chose to sample the needlework at the Imray shop or the check out the glass at Iceberg Glass.
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