Foyers is in a part of Scotland overlooked by far too many visitors to the country. It lies beside Loch Ness, but not on the very busy western side: instead Foyers lies about a third of the way up the loch's eastern shore.
It comes as a surprise to realise that the greater popularity of the western side of Loch Ness is a comparatively recent development. When General George Wade built his network of military roads across the Highlands in the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite uprising, the road north of Fort Augustus passed east and not west of Loch Ness. The slight historical irony is that these military roads proved of more value to the Jacobites than to the Government during the 1745 uprising. See our Historical Timeline for the wider background.
The route of the road built by Wade is largely followed by the line of the B852 and B862 today. Take this mostly single track road in a north easterly direction (recommended to give you the best views with the sun generally behind you) and you climb steeply east out of Fort Augustus, with nothing but the Monadhliath Mountains to your right and some excellent views of Fort Augustus to your left.
From a junction a little north of Whitebridge you descend northwards towards the shores of Loch Ness and suddenly emerge from the increasingly prevalent forestry plantations to see the housing on the edge of Upper Foyers.
Foyers turns out to be a surprisingly large settlement, and it's easy to wonder why. You find the answer if you park by the white-harled post office a little further into the village. From here a well maintained path leads steeply down forested slopes to a viewpoint overlooking the Falls of Foyers. This is the spectacular 140ft waterfall in which the River Foyers drops into a gorge leading to Loch Ness.
In 1895 the North British Aluminium Company started to make use of the River Foyers to generate the electricity needed to process aluminium at a plant on the shore of Loch Ness. All materials were transported to and from Foyers by boat and a light railway was built to connect the works and a wharf. A thriving industry developed, with a thriving community around it.
But as early as 1904 the aluminium producers' attention turned away from Foyers to Kinlochleven, where easy access to the open sea was available, together with larger supplies of electricity following the building of the Blackwater Reservoir. Aluminium production at Foyers ceased in in 1967: though the plant was then used for a while to build narrow boats for English canals. In 1973 the power generation equipment was enlarged and upgraded and the ex-aluminium plant now serves as a hydro electric power station feeding the national grid.
North east from Foyers the single track B852 travels first above and then alongside the shore of Loch Ness. This provides many more, much better and far quieter monster spotting opportunities than the A82 over on the western side of the loch. It also provides some very different perspectives of well known west shore attractions like Urquhart Castle.
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