Fort Augustus is at the southern end of Loch Ness, exactly mid-way along the Great Glen, between Inverness and Fort William. Today it is an important tourist town, its main attraction is a series of lochs on the Caledonian Canal, that are located in the heart of the village. Visitors can see boats going up and down the lochs, all very fascinating and entertaining.
‘Fort Augustus’ is named after William Augustus Duke of Cumberland, the successful commander of the government troops at the Battle of Cullodon in 1746. The fort was built here between 1729 and 1742 by General Wade, as part of a series of forts and roads with the prime purpose of controlling the local highland inhabitants. (it is interesting to note that it was captured by the Jacobites in the 1745 rising). The settlement was originally named after Saint Cummein from the Island of Iona on Scotland’s west coast, a church was established here in the 6th century.
Fort August Abbey. The 3rd Marquess of Bute, was keen to restore monasticism in Scotland, with support of the Anglo-Benedictine Congregation in 1874, it was agreed to form a separate Scottish congregation. The site at Fort Augustus was given by Simon Fraser, 13th Lord Lovat. The monastic buildings begun in 1876 were completed in 1880, occupying the four sides of a quadrangle about one hundred feet square. In one wing a school for boys of the upper classes was conducted by the monks, with lay masters, for about sixteen years.
On 12 December 1882, the abbey was made an independent abbey, thus separating it from English rule. When this step had been accomplished, Lord Lovat made over the property to the Scottish community, by signing the title deeds, which for a time had been held over.The abbey was abandoned in 1998.
Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus.
Running through the village is the River Oich and the impressive 60 mile long Caledonian Canal and lock system, built by Thomas Telford in the early 1800s. At Fort Augustus there are 5 locks taking boats from the top of the canal down onto Loch Ness.