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THE GREAT GLEN
From the thriving, bustling city of Inverness, capital of the Highlands and sitting between the northern end of the Caledonian Canal and the Moray Firth – to the southern tip of Loch Ness and historic Fort Augustus, this map carries you on a journey of mystery and monsters through waterways and glens that have been used as transport routes for thousands of years.
Fort Augustus, renamed after King George II younger son, Prince William Augustus, and fortified after the 1715 Jacobite rising, Cille Chumein, to give it its original Gaelic name, so called after St Cummin who built the first church there, is famous today for its historic Benedictine abbey, built in 1876, somewhat ironically on part of site of the army fort.
It is also an important link in the Caledonian Canal, with the north/south and east to west waterway going through the middle of the village. North and west from Fort Augustus takes you on the popular route along the west shores of Loch Ness past the stunning battlements of Castle Urquhart from where you can scan the deep loch waters for sign of Nessie, the loch’s world famous monster. If you don’t spot her, take a look into the Monster Centre two miles further north at Drumnadrochit, where you can learn of the mystery that lurks beneath the waves.
To the north lies Inverness with everything you would expect of a busy modern city, while west of Drumnadrochit is beautiful Glen Urquhart and on into the tranquil straths and glens of Strathglass and Glen Affric.
Geologists will tell you that the Great Glen divides the North of Scotland along a line from Fort William to Inverness and that the fault is a very old feature and has been active since Mid Devonian times (c.400 million years ago).
The thousands of tourists who flock here each year will tell you it’s fantastic: the scenery, the wildlife, the outdoor activities, the sailing through the Caledonian Canal.
The Great Glen footpath is 73 miles between Fort William and Inverness and it’s a walk through Scottish history, a magnificent slice of Scottish landscape and some very interesting geology.
Loch Ness is the largest of three lochs located in the Great Glen. The present day Loch Ness is about 10,000-years-old and dates from the end of the last Ice Age, which lasted more than 20,000 years. Old enough to be home to creatures that should have died out a long time ago, you might think. Keep your eyes peeled and the camera at the ready.