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An unfortunate fall in the beautiful place

An unfortunate fall in the beautiful place

Postby dogplodder » Tue Nov 28, 2023 8:39 pm

Route description: Beauly Priory and river

Date walked: 17/10/2023

Time taken: 1.25 hours

Distance: 3 km

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This beautiful autumn day feels such a long time ago now. We'd had a run of grey wet days but the forecast looked good and I wanted to take the other half out for a walk with the dog, after which we'd have lunch at the deli in the square. For those familiar with Beauly you'll know what I'm talking about. A lot of people must have had the same idea as arriving mid morning it wasn't easy to find a space to park. We finally tucked the car in near the entrance to the priory which is where we were going first.

Beauly square

It is commonly believed the village got its name after a visit from Mary Queen of Scots in 1564, who said "C'est un beau lieu" (what a beautiful place). The village presumably had a name before her visit but there seems to be no record of any other name.

Welcoming seats at entrance to priory


The priory was founded by Valliscaulian monks in 1230. It seems to me more likely it was the French monks who first described the place as "beau lieu" and should be credited with giving the village its name at that earlier date. The site is popular with visitors for its fine carving on gravestones as well as the ruins of the abbey itself.



The prominent sycamore tree seen on the right when leaving the grounds won 2nd prize in 2017 for Tree of the Year (Scotland). It's not as well known as the sycamore that was infamously cut down from the gap in Hadrian's Wall, but it's a magnificent tree thought to be between 200 and 300 years old.

The Beauly sycamore




From the abbey gates we turned left to follow a path towards the river where we turned right along a road between the river and houses.

On a bend of the River Beauly looking south

Looking east

Autumnal garden

When the road bends to the right we took a tarmac lane running parallel to the river. After days of heavy rain it wasn't surprising to come across water on the track.

Colourful puddle

Eventual return route across the field

With Pete's mobility issues we stayed on the tarmac lane beyond the turn off to a rough path suggested by WH, which I intended to come back to later.

Keira enjoying this pop up lochan


The plan was for Pete to return to the car, checking en route if the deli in the square accepts dogs (it doesn't inside but there are outside tables) while I was to complete the WH route. I turned off the lane on a narrow path which follows the raised bank of the river.

Where I left the tarmac lane

Brief view of river

Apart from that brief view, the river is out of sight, separated from the path by marshland dotted with trees. There are pleasant enough views over fields to the right towards the hills west of Beauly but unless it's just to add a bit of distance to the route I wasn't convinced it was worth the detour.


Zoomed to foothills of Strathfarrar

It was good to see the river again as the path neared the end of the tarmac lane we'd started on.



A swing if you dare

Path continues along edge of field

The harvest was in so we took the short cut

Used to sitting by summit cairns she assumed this was a place for a photo

Nice row of old houses

I caught up with Pete at the car and we returned to the deli to find the tables outside all full. Tour buses had come in and the place was heaving with folk looking for lunch. We found an Italian place which had a free table outside so Pete stayed outside with the dog and I went in. Going into the shade from the bright sunlight and looking ahead to see what was on offer I didn't see the step down. There was the unexpected jolt when that happens but no damage done. The queue was long so I decided what I'd have and went back out to let Pete order for us both, warning him about the step down. Watching the step he went in and joined the end of the queue. A moment later an older man (ie about our vintage) didn't see the step, fell and landed heavily. His wife said to me he'd fallen and being a man was making a drama of it, but I'm not sure he was. He couldn't feel his legs and couldn't get up.

They were on a bus tour and while we were sitting outside eating lunch we could hear the tour guide on the phone calling for an ambulance. An ambulance and second NHS vehicle arrived within 30 minutes which I thought pretty impressive in these days of long waits. The bus tour would have to go on its way without them and we hoped they had holiday insurance to cover the extra expense of her finding a place to stay and their eventual travel home to somewhere in England. I should say in fairness to the place where the accident happened there was a sign on the door with a warning about the step down. But I didn't see it and the man who fell can't have seen it either.

It was a strange ending to an enjoyable outing to the 'beautiful place' in the autumn sunshine. For variety we went home by Muir of Ord and the A9, having come by the A862, giving a lovely round of the Beauly Firth.
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