Fort Augustus

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Fort Augustus
Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus to Loch Ness.jpg
Swing bridge and locks at Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus is located in Inverness area
Fort Augustus
Fort Augustus
Location within the Inverness area
Population620 (mid-2020 est.)[2]
OS grid referenceNH379090
• Edinburgh100 mi (161 km)
• London430 mi (692 km)
Council area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townFort Augustus
Postcode districtPH32 4
Dialling code01320
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
57°08′36″N 4°40′51″W / 57.1432°N 4.6807°W / 57.1432; -4.6807Coordinates: 57°08′36″N 4°40′51″W / 57.1432°N 4.6807°W / 57.1432; -4.6807
Locks on the Caledonian Canal in Fort Augustus, looking towards Loch Ness

Fort Augustus is a settlement in the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff, at the south-west end of Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands. The village has a population of around 646 (2001).[3] Its economy is heavily reliant on tourism.


Section of dismantled railway south of Fort Augustus

The Gaelic name for the modern village is Cille Chuimein ([ˈkʲiʎə ˈxumɛɲ]) and until the early 18th century the settlement was called Kiliwhimin. It was renamed Fort Augustus after the Jacobite Rising of 1715. The accepted etymology is that the settlement was originally named after Saint Cummein of Iona who built a church there.[4] Other suggestions are that it was originally called Ku Chuimein after one of two abbots of Iona of the Comyn clan, whose badge Lus mhic Chuimein refers to the cumin plant,[5] or that it was called Cill a' Chuimein ("Comyn's Burialplace") after the last Comyn in Lochaber.[6]

In the aftermath of the Jacobite rising in 1715, General Wade built a fort (taking from 1729 until 1742) which was named after the Duke of Cumberland. Wade had planned to build a town around the new barracks and call it Wadesburgh.[7] The settlement grew, and eventually took the name of this fort. The fort was captured by the Jacobites in March 1746, just prior to the Battle of Culloden.

In 1867, the fort was sold to the Lovat family, and in 1876 they passed the site and land to the Benedictine order. The monks established Fort Augustus Abbey and later a school. The school operated until 1993 when it closed owing to changing educational patterns in Scotland causing a decline in enrollment. The monks employed Tony Harmsworth[8] to devise a rescue package which saw the site converted into the largest private heritage centre in Scotland which operated between 1994 and 1998,[9] however the heritage centre failed to generate sufficient profit to maintain the buildings. In 1998 the monks abandoned the site, and it reverted to the Lovat family which in turn sold it to Terry Nutkins. He also owned The Lovat Hotel[10] that stands on the site of the old Kilwhimen Barracks, one of four built in 1718. This site houses the west curtain wall of the old Fort, intact with gun embrasures. The Lovat was originally built as the local Station Hotel.


The village is served by the A82 road and lies approximately midway between Inverness (56 km) and Fort William (51 km).

The village was served by a rail line from Spean Bridge to a terminus on the banks of Loch Ness from 1903 until 1933, built by the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway in the hope of eventually completing a line to Inverness and latterly operated by the North British Railway and its successor, the London and North Eastern Railway, but initially operated by the Highland Railway. The Caledonian Canal connecting Fort William to Inverness passes through Fort Augustus in a dramatic series of locks stepping down to Loch Ness.

The village is served by the Cill Chuimein Medical Centre.[11]

The village has both a primary school and a secondary school – Kilchuimen Primary School and Kilchuimen Academy – which share a campus.


As with most of the British Isles and Scotland, Fort Augustus has an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) with cool summers and mild winters. Like a lot of the surrounding area, sunshine levels are low at around 1,000 hours per annum and temperatures are unpredictable – Fort Augustus holds the UK's joint lowest May temperature record of −9.4 °C (15.1 °F).[12] This is the latest point in the run up to summer that such a low temperature has been recorded, suggesting it can become a frost trap on calm clear nights due to its valley location. That same low lying topography can also give rise to some high temperatures on occasion – Fort Augustus held the UK daily high temperature record for 16 December for almost 80 years.[13]

Climate data for Fort Augustus (23 m asl, averages 1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.0
Average low °C (°F) 0.7
Average rainfall mm (inches) 187.3
Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm) 18.1 14.3 17.0 12.7 12.5 12.5 13.2 13.9 15.9 17.6 16.9 17.2 181.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 25.4 52.6 77.0 119.8 159.6 135.9 119.4 112.3 88.2 54.3 25.5 20.2 990.2
Source: Met Office[14]

Notable people[edit]

  • Guy Prendergast (1905–1986), explorer and soldier. Buried in Strathoich cemetery.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gaelic Place-Names of Scotland database". Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Mid-2020 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records of Scotland. 31 March 2022. Retrieved 31 March 2022.
  3. ^ Archived 20 December 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ am baile - Fort Augustus Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Clan Comyn, Cumming
  6. ^ MacMillan 3 Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Caledonian Mercury 1 August 1727
  8. ^ "Loch Ness Webmaster, Tony Harmsworth".
  9. ^ Loch Ness, Nessie & Me (2011)
  10. ^
  11. ^ ICSH - Home Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "May Temperature". TORRO.
  13. ^ "1893 Temperature". TORRO.
  14. ^ "Fort Augustus UK climate averages". Met Office. Retrieved 11 September 2019.

External links[edit]