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Beauly and Strathglass


Though only 10 miles (16km) west of Inverness, Beauly represents a different and gentler pace of Highland life.

Beauly's regular main square is a reminder that this is a 'planned village', laid out in more peaceable times of the late 18th century when demobilised soldiers needed housing around 1760. The village was also settled by Highlanders cleared from other estates and it became a market centre for local produce. Today, Beauly is noted as the home of the Highland Tweed House and also Made in Scotland, with its unbeatable range of quality craftware and gifts.

The ruined Beauly Priory, just north of The Square, was originally founded by Valliscaulian monks around 1230 and prospered ultimately under the patronage of the local land-owning Frasers until the Reformation. After that, like many other monastic seats in Scotland, it fell into decay, its stone re-used in various buildings. It is associated with Mary Queen of Scots, who stayed at The Priory here in 1564. The Queen was charmed with the attractions of the place, ordering outfits in tartan for her entire court.

Beauly is also the northern gateway to the very attractive wooded 'riverscapes' of Strathglass. This strath (Gaelic: broad valley) in turn offers a choice of magnificent hill scenery to discover in the glens which branch off it. These include Strathfarrar, accessed via Struy Bridge on the A831. The road continues to follow the course of the river to the peaceful little village of Cannich, set amid yet more fine hills. From here, visitors have a choice of glens to explore, including Cannich and Affric, both of which lead into higher mountains with an air of remoteness about them. Another option is to discover the little village of Tomich and make a trip to the spectacular Plodda Falls.

Glen Affric has a reputation for being the most beautiful glen in Scotland and is a National Nature Reserve. It also has the Dog Falls and at the road end, a choice of high level day-long routes for experienced hillwalkers, including Carn Eige, the highest summit north of the Great Glen. However, there are also lower level waymarked walks through the glen which explore the native pinewoods for which the area is noted.

As well as walking, this area offers golf, angling and pony trekking and among the places to visit are Highland Wineries at Moniack Castle.

Overall, this is an area almost wholly rural in character with a taste of wildness and grandeur about it.

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