Lorien House B&B is the ideal base for exploring the Scottish Highlands. We are situated right in the centre of the pretty village of Fort Augustus and within easy reach for day trips to Fort William, Oban, Isle of Skye and stunning Glencoe.
The Caledonian Canal
Running right through the centre of the village is the Caledonian Canal. Built in 1803 by Thomas Telford, it has five locks and boats take around one hour to pass through. To find out more about the canal, you can pop in to the Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre. Watching the boats pass through is an ideal way to spend the afternoon.
Cruise Loch Ness and Go Nessie Spotting
There are two ways to cruise the loch. For a more relaxed outing, the Spirit of Loch Ness is perfect with hi-tech sonar systems to see what really lies beneath the water, along with a well-stocked bar. For the more adventurous, there's the RIB - a fast, exhilarating rigid inflatable boat that can access loch-side areas otherwise inaccessible to the larger cruisers.
If a cruise isn't for you, don't worry. Lorien House is only a 5-minute walk to the shores of Loch Ness where, if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the legendary Loch Ness Monster, Nessie!
Around Loch Ness
An alternative route round Loch Ness on the south side is a very scenic drive along the peaceful B862, following in part General Wade's Military Road, with superb views over Loch Ness, passing the picturesque Loch Tarff and the Monadhliath Mountains. Be sure to bring your camera for the stunning views along this valley.
A short drive up the A82 towards Inverness will bring you to one of Scotland's most famous castles. With a very bloody history and a commanding position on the Loch, a visit to Urquhart Castle is a must when you're in the area. Another of Scotland's famous castles and probably the most photographed is Eilean Donan Castle on the drive over to the Isle of Skye.
Walking and Climbing
There are canal, river and forest walks around Fort Augustus and, sitting as we do right on the Great Glen Way, Lorien House is ideally located for walking, cycling and kayaking. For those looking for something a bit more challenging, we are only an hour's drive from Ben Nevis and 50% of Scotland's Munros.
Golfing & Fishing
Fort Augustus has its own nine-hole golf course and visitors are most welcome. The course is 5,379 yards long with a par of 68.
Fishing is allowed on the canal and on the shores of Loch Ness; however, permits are required if fishing on the River Oich and for salmon fishing on any waters.
In the nearby town of Drumnadrochit, there are two Loch Ness visitor centres, detailing sightings of Nessie going back hundreds of years right up to the present day. You may get some tips on the best place to spot her! There's also a pony trekking centre offering short one-hour or longer treks.
Glen Affric, Glen Cannich and Strathglass
A short drive west of Drumnadrochit is the recently designated National Nature Reserve of Glen Affric. With a very strange and majestic feel to it, this is a beautiful, peaceful area with ancient Caledonian pine forests, secluded lochs, remote mountains, waterfalls and sightings of golden eagles. It is a great spot to either relax and get away from it all or go mountain biking, hill walking, trekking or fishing.
To the West Coast
Sample the breathtaking scenery of the west coast of Scotland, only an hour's drive from Fort Augustus. On the way, you can visit Glen Sheil with the dramatic backdrop of the Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range, then on to Eilean Donan Castle with its spectacular situation on the shores of Loch Duich. Eilean Donan Castle was the setting for the famous Highlander films. Carry on for another few miles and you arrive at the Skye Bridge. It is worth allowing extra time to explore some of this beautiful island.
Before the Skye Bridge and just five miles north, is the pretty fishing village of Plockton. With its unique palm trees and peaceful location, it is definitely worth a visit.
East of Fort Augustus
Just one hour from the village, you arrive into the Spey Valley, famous for its whisky, salmon fishing, the Cairngorm National Park and the setting for the BBC drama "Monarch of the Glen".
Take a trip to Aviemore with its steam railway and home of Scotland's largest ski area. The Cairngorm Mountain range has a spectacular funicular railway which whisks you up to almost 1,100 metres in only eight minutes. Here, you can enjoy the spectacular views in the restaurant and in winter, go skiing or snowboarding.
Inverness and North
33 miles north of Fort Augustus sits the Highland capital of Inverness. The city has loads to offer from great shopping, bars and restaurants, to the castle and historic sites such as Culloden Battlefield.
Over the Kessock Bridge, north of Inverness and you arrive on the Black Isle, not actually an island, but a peninsula sandwiched between the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Here, the landscape is more gentle, with its sleepy coastal villages and rolling countryside. Why not visit the Moray Firth Dolphin and Seal Centre just over the bridge and keep your eyes open for the rare red kites which nest in the area.
Call in to the fantastic organic real ale brewery to see how it's made and sample some of their award-winning ales. Just east of Fortrose is Chanonry Point, the best place to see dolphins from land in Europe. Heading further up the coast, you'll reach the lovely village of Cromarty. Here, you can take a boat trip to view the dolphins up close and personal!
Finally, there is a great wildlife and country park on the Black Isle where you can feed the friendly goats and pot-bellied pigs.
South of Fort Augustus
Head south down the Great Glen and you will find yourself in some of the most spectacular landscapes in Scotland, going past Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. Just after the South Laggan swing bridge is Monster Activities, where you can try your hand at white water rafting, sailing, canoeing, riding the banana and the jet bikes!
A further ten minutes away, approaching Spean Bridge, you'll see the imposing Commando Memorial. This statue was erected in memory of the officers and men of the Commandos who died in the Second World War. The site is also a superb viewpoint for Ben Nevis and its neighbouring mountains.
Further south and only thirty minutes from Fort Augustus is the Nevis Range gondola and ski centre. Take the gondola 2,150 feet up the mountain to the Snowgoose restaurant and enjoy the spectacular views of the west coast and up the Great Glen. In summer, the more adventurous can cycle the world cup downhill mountain bike course. In winter, the Nevis range is a great place to ski or snowboard (snow permitting!)
Fort William and Glen Nevis provide the base to climb Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,406 feet). Fort William has recently been christened the Outdoor Capital of the UK. This busy little town has plenty of shops and restaurants and is beautifully situated on the shores of Loch Linnhe.
Take the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. Regarded as one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world and famous as being the ‘Hogwarts Express' in the Harry Potter films, it is well worth a day out of your schedule.
South, beyond Fort William, you're into the scenic splendour of Glencoe. With its dramatic peaks soaring to the skies, it is an awe-inspiring place to spend time doing gentle valley walks or, for the more experienced, tackling some of its Munros.
Call 01320 366576 for more information on Lorien House or click here to email.