See and do
There is so much to see and do, in and around Fort Augustus. We've put together our own recommendations, so here are just a few ideas to get you started. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you want to find out more.
Places to visit
Fort Augustus is the perfect base from which to plan your days out. There are so many places to visit that we simply couldn't list all of them but we've put together our recommendations. Just take look at what you can see and do!
The Caledonian Canal & Centre
Step out of the house and a gentle 5 minute meander, takes you down to the heart of the village and the canal side. Take a look at the Caledonian Canal Centre or sit on the bank where you can while away the time with an ice cream, watching the steady stream of boat traffic navigating their way through the flight of Locks. Another amazing feat of engineering by Thomas Telford which provides a coast to coast connection through the Great Glen by boat. You may even be lucky enough to see the Lord of the Glens sail through with an inch to spare either side.
Loch Ness 360º - Walk or bike
Breathtaking views from this amazing new walking/biking route and you might just see a Highland Cow on the way! Why not do part of it in a day? From Cartref you can walk out of the door and within minutes you can 'step out' onto the path and route. This takes you to Borlum Bay by the head of Loch Ness and continues up the steep hill of Glen Doe where the views back towards Fort Augustus are gorgeous. Don't forget your camera!
Loch Garry, near Invergarry
This beautiful Loch can be seen from the Viewpoint up high on the A87 road that takes you to the Isle of Skye. It is much photographed and is often referred to as the "Map of Scotland" for it's amazing similarity in shape!
Situated on a headland looking out over Loch Ness, this dramatic ruin has a history dating back to the 13th century and has amazing views of the Loch, an ideal spot to catch a glimpse of Nessie! Visitor tickets must be booked in advance. The castle is approximately 17 miles from Fort Augustus.
Drumnadrochit & Loch Ness Monster Exhibition
Another popular tourist village is Drumnadrochit which hosts the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibiton as well as cafes & memorabilia shops. Just under 20 miles north of Cartref House, the village is situated on the western shore of Loch Ness. Combine this with a visit to Urquhart Castle or why not spend a couple of hours at Nessieland and learn all there is to know about our most famous monster!
Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge
The extremely poignant Commando Memorial is situated 16 miles from Cartref near the village of Spean Bridge on the road to Fort William. It is a Category A listed monument dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. The memorial overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Area and has the most amazing views, which is truly fitting to remember these War Heroes by.
Nevis Range Mountain Resort
Nevis Range Mountain Resort (Aonach Mor) is a great place to visit all year round. Not only is there snow sports for the winter months, but there's mountain biking and hiking and if you're feeling brave enough, even paragliding! Why not take a trip on the mountain gondola to take in the spectacular views across the Nevis mountain range. The resort is situated in Fort William approximately 30 miles away from Cartref House.
Fort William, Glen Nevis & the "Ben"
The town of Fort William, on the shores of Loch Linnhe is about 1 hour distant from Fort Augustus and is famous for amongst other things Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles. Many people have conquered the mountain but it can be a very tough climb with the ever changing weather patterns up there. Glen Nevis is very picturesque & worth a trip to see where the mountain climb starts.
Glenfinnan Viaduct & Harry Potter Train
The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct on the West Highland Line which runs locally from Fort William to Mallaig and has been made famous in recent times with the steam train, namely the Hogwart's Express in the Harry Potter films. Located at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands of Scotland, the viaduct overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the waters of Loch Shiel, a very picturesque drive. Alternatively, why not hop on the train from Fort William?
Inverness, Capital of The Highlands
An hours drive, either by the main A82 along Loch Ness or the beautifully picturesque 'back road' takes you to Inverness where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth. It is the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands and has all the usual shopping and leisure facilities available. Its Old Town features 19th-century Inverness Cathedral, the mostly 18th-century Old High Church and an indoor Victorian Market selling food, clothing and crafts. The contemporary Inverness Museum and Art Gallery traces local and Highland history.
Eilean Donan Castle & Visitor Centre
As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world and it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish highlands due to the majestic surrounding scenery. The Castle is on the A87 towards the West Coast & the Isle of Skye, approximately 1 hour drive from Fort Augustus, and well worth a visit in our opinion.
Plockton - "The Jewel of the Highlands"
The Isle of Skye is always a good day out if you fancy a road trip to the West Coast, however if you prefer something a little bit different, venture slightly out of the way to Plockton on the shores of Loch Carron. Famed for it's picturesque beauty & palm trees due to the Atlantic Gulf Stream, it is a haven for good local seafood restaurants and cafes and why not extend your day with one of Calum's Seal Trips
Places to eat
There is a wide choice of restaurants and eateries in Fort Augustus to choose from to suit all budgets which are within walking distance of Cartref House. We've picked out just a few.
The Bothy Restaurant & Bar
Situated on the canal side, the 'local' pub focuses on offering quality hearty Scottish pub fare and a warm welcome always awaits. With a selection of local real ales and malt whiskies you'll quickly relax into the ambience of this 200 year old former cottage.
The Lock Inn
The Lock Inn sits next to the Caledonian Canal Locks and offers a family-friendly pub atmosphere. The menu focuses on locally sourced produce and dishes are reasonably priced. A large selection of Scottish Whiskies can be found on their shelves as well as an array of Craft Beers & different Gins.
Camerons Tea Room
On the back road to Inverness lies the village of Foyers and its splendid Falls, why not stop off at the wonderful family run Camerons Tea Room? The cafe offers a wide range of refreshments, plus delicious home baked cakes, breads and scones. The haggis panini is a firm favourite! There's indoor and outdoor seating (with a fantastic view of the highland cattle while you're enjoying your meal!). Browse the adjacent Farm Shop for local produce, crafts, gifts and cards.
Station Road Restaurant
With a slightly higher budget, visit the Station Road Restaurant at The Lovat. You can choose from either the 3 course table d'hote menu or if you're feeling really ravenous select the 7 course tasting menu.
The Boathouse Lochside Restaurant
The Boathouse Lochside Restaurant prides itself on offering British, Scottish and Turkish dishes. With stunning views across Loch Ness, it's not surprising the first visit is never the last.
Monster Fish & Chip Shop
A short walk from Cartref House and you'll discover excellent fish and chips at the Main Car Park in the village!
The Moriston Bar and Restaurant
Slightly further out from Cartref House, the restaurant is approximately 5 miles away. Part of the Glenmoriston Arms, the restaurant specialises in European, British and Scottish cuisine. Try either the venison, salmon or chicken stuffed with haggis!
If you're just looking for light refreshments during the course of the day, look no further than Cobbs Cafe located opposite the Scottish Canal Visitor Centre. Offering lunches as well as delicious cakes, pastries and an array of ice creams, you can sit outside and take in the lovely views.
Things to do
For those that are a little more active, why not try out some our ideas and let us know what you think?
Loch Ness Cruises
If you like the idea of spending time on the water, at a leisurely rather than break-neck pace then perhaps a loch cruise might whet your appetite. Keep a look out for Nessie in the distance and on the radar.... you just never know what may appear! Cruise Loch Ness offers daily and evening excursions on their cruise boats - a relaxing way of taking in the majestic beauty of Loch Ness. If you fancy a 'fast blast' on the loch - high adrenaline RIB excursions are also available.
Within walking distance of Cartref House is the Fort Augustus Golf Club which offers a 9-hole (pay and play), challenging golf course. It is one of the family's favourite pastimes and a warm welcome always awaits in the small clubhouse! Dress Code is very much, comfy and casual & all ages and abilities are welcomed.
If you would like to explore other courses further away from Fort Augustus, why not look up Kings Golf Club Fort William Golf Club, Kingussie Golf Club, Muir of Ord Golf Club, Newtonmore Golf Club or Spean Bridge Golf Club - all around 20 - 40 miles from Fort Augustus.
Whilst staying at Cartref House, explore the various trails and walkways around the local area. There are plenty of suggestions for routes online.
Take in views of Loch Ness or walk in the opposite direction along the River Oich. Follow the Great Glen Way or discover Borlum. There are plenty of routes for the most daring explorer or an hour or so for those with a young family.
Exploring the local area on two wheels is a great way of getting around - there are a number of paths and trails to choose from catering for all ages and abilities.
Girvans Bike Hire located in Fort Augustus offers the option of mountain bikes or electric bikes and will provide you with recommended routes to enjoy. You can also hire a two child tag-along trailer so the whole family can enjoy the beautiful local scenery.
High octane watersports!
It's not going to surprise you to learn that there are plenty of choices when it comes water based activities. For the more adventurous you can book white water rafting, kayaking or canoeing in Fort Augustus.
Monster Activities based in Fort Augustus also offer other activities including clay pigeon shooting, archery and abseiling.
Cruise Loch Ness offer fast RIB cruises - visit Urquhart Castle by water or hunt for Nessie with plenty of adrenaline thrown in!
There is plenty of opportunity to fish around the Fort Augustus area although it is wise to do a bit of planning beforehand to establish where you need to apply for a permit. To find out which rivers, canals and lochs do need permits please visit the Scottish Canals website.
Girvans Hardware based in Fort Augustus supplies fishing equipment and accessories.
If you would like to arrange a guided fishing tour - which will include the necessary fishing permits get in touch with the The Highland Angling Experience
If you enjoy trekking and trailing and would like to enjoy the outdoors at horse height then there are equestrian centres around the Loch Ness area. Loch Ness Riding on Drummond Farm offers hacks, trails and day rides for experienced riders.
Highland Trekking and Trail Riding offer treks for all abilities enabling you to experience the scenery and wildlife at pony eye-level!