roybridge To Inverness

Further From Ireland

Route length: 64 miles

A church or sacred site

Destination hub

Beauly Priory

This was a Valiscaulian house, founded in about 1230 by Sir John Bisset. The present chancel is of the 13th century, the rest dates from the 14th century. The priory was abandoned after the Reformation, and the complex fell into decay. The north transept, seen in this view, was heavily restored in 1900-01 to designs by Thomas Ross of Edinburgh. The remains are in the care of Historic Scotland.


St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Beauly

Urquhart Parish Church, Drumnadrochit

Fort Augustus Parish Church

By Road

Continue on the A 86 to Cille Choirill. Now return to Spean Bridge, turning right on to the A82. This takes you all the way to Inverness.

By Cycle

Continue on the A 86 to Cille Choirill. Now cross the River Spean to return to Spean Bridge on the south side.Now return to the canal by way of the A82 and B8004. Follow NCN 78 to Fort Augustus (in places the track may be rough). In Fort Augustus take the B862 (Military Road) on the south side of Loch Ness. A mile after Whitebridge bear left for Foyers. Continue alongside Loch Ness on the Military Road, eventually rejoining the B862 to reach Inverness.

By Foot

Walk along the River Tarff in Fort Augustus, passing the old burial ground and the former Benedictine Abbey.

Walkers can continue to use the Caledonian canal path (part of The Great Glen Way), along with cyclists, as far as Fort Augustus. From Fort Augustus continue on The Great Glen Way (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/great-glen-way.shtml)

When in Inverness, a short walk takes you past several churches, including the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St Andrew.

By Public Transport

Roybridge, Spean Bridge and Inverness have rail stations (but not linking directly). The Fort William to Inverness bus service calls at Spean Bridge, Laggan, Invergarry, Fort Augustus, Invermoriston, Urquhart Castle and Drumnadrochit.

There is also a bus service between Fort William and Roybridge, calling at Spean Bridge.

Public transport information can be found on the Traveline website.

Going back to the Great Glen we follow the journey undertaken by Columba with his fellow Saints, Cainnech or Kenneth, and Cormac. They both had Pictish connections, which was useful as the expedition went deeper into unknown territory.

Just short of what we now know as Fort Augustus, the locals warned them of a water dragon blocking their passage across the river. But Columba sent one of his monks to swim the crossing and when the monster appeared he banished it to the depths of Loch Ness where it still resides. The settlement here came to be called Kilcumin after one of Columba’s successors as Abbot of Iona. St Cumin’s church was sited in a bend of the River Tarf where the ancient burial enclosure can still be seen. Fort Augustus came later, as did the Benedictine Abbey which occupied the site of the former military garrison, until it was united with Pluscarden in Moray.

Undeterred the Columban party pressed on. At Invermoriston just over the modern bridge, Columba purified a well which the locals told him was cursed. The well is still there- Fuaran Chalum Cille- and though the church Columba founded has gone, the burial ground can still be seen, guarded by standing stones.

At Inverness the cluster of Pictish fortifications shows how important this location had become. Here was the centre of northern Pictish power. The tradition has Columba confronting it head on, possibly at the capital of the High King Brude on Craig Phadraig. After commanding the gates to swing open, Columba challenged the Chief Druid by demanding the release of an Irish slave girl. Whether converted or just canny, Brude made his peace with the fiery Saint, and Columba was allowed to found a church on the riverside site of what is now the High Kirk. Inverness is full of fine churches including the Episcopal Cathedral of St Andrew across the Ness.

We bind unto ourselves today
The strong name of the Trinity.
By invocation of the same,
The Three-in-one , the One-in-three,
Of whom all nature hath creation
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word,
We bind this day to us for ever,
By power of faith Christ’s incarnation
His baptism in the Jordan river
His death on cross for our salvation.
His bursting from the spiced tomb
His riding up the heavenly way
His coming at the day of doom
We bind unto ourselves today.

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