Blogs from Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe


Dear All Greetings from Loch Ness! Yay!! This is probably Scotland’s most famous lake, and also one of the most famous lakes in the world. This is actually my second time here, as it was also in Inverness a couple of days ago. I believe I mentioned in my first blog entry for this trip, that 20 years ago, I made one of my first backpacking trips to this part of the world for three nights, to get a feel for this business of travelling – and I liked it so much, I’ve pretty much spent the rest of my life doing it! These last few days have very much brought back memories for me, some very good memories of my first taste of travelling freedom, and this beautiful part of the world. I loved Inverness ... read more
Urquhart Castle
Memorial Cairn
Me, Culloden, or Nairn, Viaduct

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Fort Augustus August 17th 2016

A free day! It was our driver's rest day, so we would not be on the move today. Haggis had given us a leaflet with activities on it earlier in the trip and we could pick some if we wished or just do our own thing. I had decided sod the cost, who knows if I will ever be back here and plumped for two of the activities: the rib boat trip up to Urquhart Castle and canoeing. Breakfast was included at the hostel, so I helped myself to some of that. It was pretty good; cereals, toast, baked beans, hard boiled eggs and spreads. I think there was tea and coffee too. I'm glad for once that I didn't stuff myself as the boat trip might make me a little sea sick. We headed down ... read more
Loch Ness
Loch Ness
Loch Ness

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Fort Augustus August 16th 2016

So the long journey to the Orkney Islands now had to be done in reverse and we were leaving, heading back to the main land and to Fort Augustus. I really enjoyed my time here, and would love to come back to further explore these islands and also head further north to the Shetland Isles. We drove back to the port at Burwick and caught the ferry. The journey was about an hour and uneventful. I enjoyed a sausage butty and a brew for breakfast. Back on the mainland, we stopped at Badbea, in Caithness, which was a clearance village. There was a sign on the gate at the entrance to the clearance village warning us that helicopters would be spraying chemicals on the bracken. The sign had today's date on Tuesday 16th August and the ... read more
Badbea Clearance VIllage
Badbea Clearance VIllage
Badbea Clearance VIllage

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Fort Augustus August 13th 2016

It was another early start. I had a bit of an upset stomach and a headache, I wonder if it was the fish and chips or the mushy peas. After popping some pills I felt better and headed over to the bakery to get some breakfast. We were setting off pretty early, but luckily the local bakery opens even earlier so we could get some food into us, before another busy day ahead. I got a coffee and a bacon and black pudding pastry wrap, which was delicious. I love black pudding. There was also a mouth watering selection of cakes and biscuits, so I got one to have a little later. On the bus we drove for a bit to reach Loch Fada viewpoint, well it wasn't a proper viewpoint, as we just pulled over ... read more
Loch Fada Viewpoint
Loch Fada Viewpoint
The Old Man of Storr

I had spent the previous night in Inverness, a Scottish town in the northeast of the Highlands. There were some notable churches and a castle worth seeing here, but that's not what brought me. I had a rented a new Trek mountain bike model, panniers were fully loaded with my gear and I had many kilometers ahead of me as I rode out of town following the thistle in a hexagon marker, similar to that of the West Highland Way, but this time in blue. I would be mountain bike touring across the Great Glen Way, another of Scotland's long distance trails. This one stretched 127 kilometers and links Inverness with Fort William, pretty much going from coast to coast. Initially I had planned to walk this route, but then decided cycling it would give it ... read more
Great Glen
Great Glen
Great Glen

19thMay Dochgaroch to Urquhart Bay – 8.5nm A very short trip today...looks like that might be the way to go. Left just after a rain shower and minutes before the lock behind us opened, letting out 3 charter boats. Been advised to avoid them at all costs. They stand out a mile as the charters are all wearing very bright, very big orange lifejackets!! Had sunshine for most of the trip, winding our way through the canal, very beautiful this morning, and on to Loch Ness. Keeping an eye out for Nessie, but just really enjoying the surrealism of being on Loch Ness...a place you have always known existed and now are a part of!! Fortunately the only 'visitors mooring buoy' was free, so we took that. Can't quite see Urquhart castle from where we are ... read more
Urquhart Castle
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DSCN1234 (1024x768)

The sun is setting on the shores of Loch Ness right now. In about four hours, we are climbing into our little Fiat and I'm driving us (yes, the vote came in and the race car driver was chosen and gladly accepted) three hours to catch our 5:25 am flight to Frankfurt..............this place is magical. We were graced with brilliant sunshine again today and we explored the remainder of the abbey grounds and walked along the River Taff and the Loch Ness. We swam again in the chapel pool and from a pool operator's standpoint-what a great piece of work! The pool water here is cleaned by the UV system....every ounce of water is pumped by UV light system in the pump room killing 99.9% of any bacteria. Salt or chlorine is then used to keep ... read more
Croquet at the abbey!
One of the pheasants
Lichen laiden branch

We're cuddled on the couch under a big, puffy comforter tonight thinking about the grand adventures of this day...both today and a year ago. Our family and friends surrounded us and watched us exchange our vows and our girls tied our hand fasting cord. A year ago, we never would have guessed we would be here on the banks of Loch Ness .... We truly feel blessed to have found each other and enjoy every second in each other's company. I'm lucky to be able to share my entire self with another soul. It's 11:00 pm, 5:00 pm back home in a South Dakota and time for the Skype fiesta! We really enjoy visiting the girls with this and it has really kept us all sane while we are apart! Love this technological advancement with the ... read more
Our favorite beverages!
Nessie Exhibitionist😄

Today we left the abbey in MY little race car, better known to the lay person as the Fiat 500. When we rose for the day, we were greeted with brilliant sunshine and a fabulously sunny forecast! We quickly decided that our travels over to the Isle of Skye was a must today. It takes about two and a half hours of driving to get over to that region so we enjoyed a Tia Marie coffee and hit the was my turn to take on the task of driving! The roads here are two way with no shoulders, much like driving the needles highway of the Black Hills of South Dakota....I absolutely thrived on the thrill with my navigator white knuckling it for about the first thirty minutes of the trip...I cannot help it if ... read more
This is my castle!
Standing where the castle guards protected
Gaelic is prolific here

Happy Spring!!! Due to the overcast, we missed the amazing solar eclipse but the day was filled with great gifts on our Scotland adventure. We explored more of the St. benedict's abbey grounds and trekked around Fort Augustus. This thriving village of pop. 650 has charming businesses and niches. We explored more of Loch Ness and just enjoyed the atmosphere. It is chilly here with the wonderful aroma of peat throughout the countryside. Peat is a form of natural energy that gives off a lovely scent....and I believe attributes to the naturally good moods the locals all seem to excude. They will greet all on the streets and in their shops whether they are a customer or working away. It is very refreshing! These people seem to have a slower pace than what we are used ... read more
Light Ness brew at the Bothy
A Scotland Daffodil
My first game of Chess!!!

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