FORT AUGUSTUS, a tiny, busy village at the scenic southwestern tip of Loch Ness, was named after George II's son, the chubby lad who later became the "Butcher" Duke of Cumberland of Culloden fame; today, the village is dominated by comings and goings along the Caledonian Canal, which leaves Loch Ness here. The Loch Ness Express (Easter– Oct; 1hr 20min one way/2hr 30min return; £13 one-way, £25 return; Tel:0800/3286426, Web: www.lochnessexpress.com ) makes speedy daily trips up the length of Loch Ness and will carry bikes for free. From its berth by the Clansman Centre, Cruise Loch Ness (March– Oct; 1hr; £9; Tel:01320/366277, Web: www.cruiselochness.com ) sails five miles up Loch Ness, using sonar technology to provide passengers with impressive live 3D imagery of the deep.
The tourist office hands out useful free walking leaflets. There's hostel accommodation at Morag'sLodge to the east of the village (Tel:01320/366289; dorm beds £16), while the Old Pier (Tel:01320/366418, firstname.lastname@example.org; Price: 61-70) is a particularly appealing B&B right on the loch at the north side of the village, with two roaring log fires and the option of renting two-person Canadian canoes (£15 per day) and horse riding (min £50 for two people) in the mountains.