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Beauly Scotland for visitors

The Heart & Soul Of Beauly

Visitors delight in the colourful sights of this Highland community,
but scratch the surface and there's far more to discover.

BY TERRY WILLIAMS

"This part of the Lovat Estate has a pleasant situation – A Ridge of Hills skreens it from the North and the wyndings of the River Beuly terminates the South, which beautifies the landskip and gives it also the advantage of a water carriage into the heart of the Country and opens a communication with the Murray Firth and the East Coast."

The above text accompanies the Plan of the Estate of Lovat, thought to have been compiled sometime around 1757. More than 250 years later the description still fits, though you’ll see little more than a passing kayak on the river these days. The Lovat Estate – with its mountains and glens, woodlands and rivers – continues to thrive, with the village of Beauly at its heart.

Around the central Market Square hanging baskets and tubs overflow with summer flowers, a reminder that Beauly has won both Scotland and Britain In Bloom competitions over the years. Cafés, hotels and shops are full of cheerful bustle and chat – from butcher to baker, greengrocer to gallery, art dealer, gift shop, jeweller, beauty parlour and ironmonger.

No wonder the tour coaches come, setting down their cargo of passengers to point cameras at the Mercat Cross, the monument to the Lovat Scouts, the ruined Priory with its ancient elm tree (believed to be the oldest in Europe). Other visitors arrive in cars, on motorbikes or pedal cycles. Many gather in the Square for the weekly display of Highland dancing and a parade by the Beauly Firth and Glens Pipe Band. But there’s more to Beauly than meets the eye of whistle-stop tourism.

The full text of this article is available in the Summer 2013 issue of Scottish Life.

Click here to preview our feature article on Scotland's Museum Town by Jim Gilchrist.

Click here to preview Scotland In Music by Edward Scott Pearlman.

Click here to preview our reviews of Scottish Books.

Click here to preview our column on The Highland Bagpipe by Gary West.

Photo above left: © Paul Tomkins / VisitScotland / Scottish Viewpoint; photo above right © Terry Williams