1. Visit the Caledonian Canal
Constructed during the early 19th century, the canal is hard to miss as it is at the very centre of Fort Augustus. When you get to the canal, stay to see a boat come through it! Kids will be amazed at the changing water levels of the lock whilst running over the lock bridges (they are railed and safe). Fun fact: Connecting the Caledonian Canal to Loch Ness increased the water level of Loch Ness so much that it submerged a natural island!
2. Try haggis or any traditional Scottish food
In a few local restaurants, such as The Boathouse (the only local restaurant on the shores of Loch Ness), The Bothy Restaurant, The Loch Inn or The Moorings, you can find haggis, Scotland’s national dish made up of meat, oatmeal, onions, salt, spices and traditionally cooked in a sheep’s stomach. Vegetarian alternatives of haggis can be bought in supermarkets. Alternatively, you can always cook your own Scottish meal at home with these recipes. Hyperlink to Scottish recipe blog post here.
3. Go to a Ceilidh Night
Ceilidh [kay-lee] descends from the Gaelic word for party, so you know you’re in for a fun evening! A Ceilidh Night is a traditional Scottish social event with singing, dancing and storytelling. If you’re staying at The Highland Club in July and August, there is usually a Ceilidh dancing and live music every Wednesday night at Fort Augustus Village Hall, fromJuly 25th to August 30th 8 pm – 10:00pm. For more information, see here.
4. Visit the Loch Ness View Point and Pepperpot Lighthouse
Where the Canal enters Loch Ness, there are two places worth visiting in Fort Augustus. On one side of the canal is Loch Ness View Point, an area with a serene panorama of the Loch. On the other side is Pepperpot Lighthouse, supposedly the smallest lighthouse in the UK. Built in 1822 and still in use, it measures only 3 metres wide and 7 metres tall!
5. Explore Loch Ness on a boat
There is only one way to truly get to know Loch Ness and that’s on a boat! With Cruise Loch Ness, you can visit Nessie’s home on a cruise or a speedboat. This way you get the best of the water and the surroundings, as well as the wind whipping through your hair. To book or find out more, see here
6. Visit Urquhart Castle
The Highland Club’s Fort Augustus Abbey is not the only historical building around. Further down Loch Ness is Urquhart Castle, a medieval castle that has played a role in Scottish history. After passing between Scottish and English hands, the castle was destroyed in the 14th century to ensure Scottish control and since then has descended into ruins. From this point of history, you can still look out onto Loch Ness with more of the views the Highlands are famed for.
7. Discover more about Loch Ness
Children and adults can both enjoy The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. The Exhibition leads you through 500 million years of history surrounding Loch Ness and the Loch Ness Monster. The facility contains activities for children as well as a café. For more information, see here.
8. Play golf or fish in the Highlands
Fort Augustus hosts its very own golf club, with the course designed by James Braid (a five times British Open winner). The nine-hole course is surrounded by the Highlands landscape and makes for a great afternoon activity.
There are plenty of places to fish in and around Fort Augustus or on Loch Ness. In Fort Augustus you can catch brown trout, salmon, sea trout, pike and rainbow trout. However, fishing requires more forethought, especially when planned independently to a tour. The fishing seasons for each fish varies, and there are laws according to fishing in Scotland that can be found here.
9. Make your own Nessie
If you can’t get enough of Nessie and the Loch Ness Monster, you can visit Morag’s Crafty Bothy (now in Foyers) where you can paint your own ceramic Nessie. Alternatively there are other ceramic pieces you can paint if you’ve had too much of Nessie! These handmade gifts make for a personalised memory of your time at The Highland Club.
10. The Clansman Centre
The Clansman Centre may look like a shop that just sells Celtic crafts, but this is also a museum. Dress up as clansman in the Turf-House museum that has living shows that teach you how people used to live, how they dressed, how they ate as well as demonstrations of the weaponry of the Highlanders before 1746, the Battle of Culloden.
11. Use The Highland Club’s amenities
Guests of The Highland Club have our grounds and amenities here to use! There is equipment for boules, croquet, badminton, football, tennis, table tennis, giant chess, snooker, table football, cricket to name a few, as well as the swimming pool and spa. We hope you enjoy your stay!