FORT AUGUSTUS ABBEY Past and Present
Printed and Published by
THE ABBEY PRESS at FORT AUGUSTUS
5th Edition, 1963 2nd impression, 1967
SAINT BENEDICT'S ABBEY
The picturesque pile of buildings at the head of Loch Ness cannot fail to attract the attention of the tourist who has been led by the prospect of a trip through some of the most beautiful scenery of the Highlands to travel along the Great Glen of Scotland. On a clear day it is possible to distinguish the group of towers, pinnacles and high-pitched roofs, backed by mountain scenery, when one is still a good distance away. On nearer approach the long, grey front rising from embowering trees becomes more and more evident; the calm water in the foreground, the heather-clad hills around, and the background of distant purple mountain peaks, combine to form a picture of unique charm. No traveller with an eye for so rare a combination of natural and artistic beauties, but is roused to interest. Very few who pass by fail to evince such interest by enquiry as to the why and wherefore of this stately structure.
The buildings comprise the Benedictine Abbey of Fort Augustus, the only foundation of its kind in Scotland, for the information of those who may feel sufficiently interested to know more about the institution in question, this little manual has been drawn up
No account of Fort Augustus Abbey would be complete without some reference to past history, for the present buildings occupy the site of a military fort erected here over two centuries ago.
After what is known as the first Jacobite rising in 1715 and the defeat for the time of the Stuart cause, the Hanoverian government thought it desirable to select some central spot in the Highlands for the establishment of a garrison, and thus overawe the warlike clans that had originated the rebellion. The most suitable place seemed to be the little Highland village of Kilchuimen, standing at the head of Loch Ness. It was the middle point of the great Glen of Albyn, and commanded the only available roads and passes in that part of the country. A barrack was accordingly erected on the site of the garden of the present Lovat Arms Hotel in the year 1716. This being considered insufficient, a regular fort was built by Marshal Wade in 1729 upon a peninsula beyond the village, having the Oich River on its NW side, the Tarff on the SE, and the deep waters of the loch in front. It was capable of accommodating 300 men. The four blocks of buildings stood around a square of some 100 feet in extent. There was a bastion at each angle mounting twelve six-pounders. A ditch, covert-way and glacis
completed its defences. General Wade named his fort after William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, youngest son of George II; the fact has led to the designation of the village, as well as the military station, by the common title of Fort Augustus, though the former still retains its ancient name of Kilchuimen among the Gaelic-speaking population.
The fort sustained a two-days' siege at the hands of the Jacobite forces, as they were marching south-wards before engaging with Cumberland at Culloden. A shell directed from the neighbouring "Battery Rock" exploded the powder magazine, and the insurgents took possession. This was in March, 1746. Two months after, when the Stuart cause had been completely vanquished, the victorious Hanoverian forces, under the Duke of Cumberland, once more resumed ownership. From the walls of the fort issued the terrible companies who laid waste and almost depopulated the surrounding country. The barbarities by which Cumberland completed the subjugation of the Highlands have earned for him the title of the "Butcher." In a district where formerly Protestantism was unknown he left scarcely a single Catholic. The surrounding lands formed part of the estate of the Frasers of Lovat until the connection of the Chief of the Clan, Simon, Lord Lovat, with the Stuart rising, resulted in the forfeiture not only of his property but of his life. He was carried in a litter to Fort Augustus and confined in one of its dungeons before being taken to London, where, after impeachment as a rebel, he was executed on Tower Hill. The fort, restored to more than its original strength after Culloden, continued to be occupied by a garrison for more than a century. "General Wade's Road," as it is still called, skirting the south side of Loch Ness, connects Fort Augustus with Fort George, another military station a few miles from Inverness. In other directions are equally good roads, also the work of the Fort Augustus governors, which were designed to afford communication
with Fort William and the barracks at Glenelg.
It is worthy of note that Johnson and Boswell, on their way to the Hebrides, spent the night of August 30, 1773, in the buildings of the Fort and were entertained by Governor Trappaud. The Doctor seems to have enjoyed a particularly good night's rest on this occasion; for he notes in his diary, more than three years later, that he had passed the previous night in such sweet uninterrupted sleep as he had not known since he slept at Fort Augustus.
At the outbreak of the Crimean war the garrison was withdrawn, and after a period of abandonment the fort was sold by the Government to Thomas Alexander, Lord Lovat, the representative of the reinstated Frasers of Lovat, who secured the buildings and adjoining lands for £5000. For many years the dismantled fort was occupied by various small tenants, a portion being reserved to the owner to serve as a shooting lodge.
In 1876 the Benedictine Fathers of the English Congregation of the Order, who were desirous of establishing a monastery in Scotland, accepted the offer of Simon, 13th Baron Lovat, of the f.ort and its surrounding land, as a favourable site for their purpose.
The new foundation was to be the successor and continuation of two ancient abbeys. The first was that of St James of the Scots, founded at Ratisbon in Bavaria by Irish monks about 1100. During the middle ages it became the mother-house of a flourishing group of monasteries; then in 1515 it passed into the hands of Scottish monks and became an important centre for Scottish Catholics after the Reformation. In 1862 the abbey and its attached college were suppressed by the Bavarian government, but Lord Lovat had already offered a site in Scotland to allow the monastery to continue. The last Scottish monk returned from Ratisbon arid settled in Fort Augustus, thereby forming a link between the old pre-Reformation and modern monastic life. The survivors of the English abbey of Sts Adrian and Denys, founded at Lamspring near Hanover in 1645, also resumed monastic life at Fort Augustus.
In September of 1876 the transformation of the buildings commenced. Two of the bastions-those forming the extremities of the south wing-were entirely removed. The building which stood between them known as the "Duke's House" from its having been Cumberland's quarters, was also pulled down. In the other wings, a considerable proportion of the old walls, which were of great strength and thickness, were retained as foundations of the new.
The outer walls of the other two bastions remained untouched, and for some time that of the north-west angle was left complete, with its earth-works covering a passage to the well, and Its stone arches carved with the initials of successive garrisons of soldiers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A considerable portion of the old moat also is still to be seen to the north and west of the buildings. Within are other remains of the fort, as will be noted presently.
The building operations occupied some four years. In August, 1880 they were sufficiently complete to permit of a solemn inauguration of the establishment, in which a numerous company of Catholics of all ranks, from England as well as Scotland, took part. '
It is worthy of note that the Benedictines whose motto is the Latin word PAX ("Peace"), should 'have come into possession of what was in its day a centre whence spread devastation, oppression and bloodshed, with all other attendant horrors of warfare
The cluster of buildings as seen by the passer-by conveys no true idea of their actual extent or of their surpassing beauty. Although greatly enlarged and heightened, the buildings follow the lines of the old fort, which, as we have seen, enclosed a central square. The frontage towards the Canal is that of the School wing, adapted for the accommodation of about 150 boys. Its architecture is consequently less ecclesiastical in character than that of some of the other portions. The lofty central tower is of Scottish Baronial style. It is 100 feet high. In a niche about halfway up stands a fine stone statue of St Benedict, the Patron both of the Order and of the Abbey. Higher still, the dock-its four faces looking north, south, east and west-keeps time for the surrounding country. Its tuneful chime, on eight bells, is a reproduction of' the melody of an ancient invocation of St Benedict.
The long front visible from the Inverness road is that of the monastery proper. It has accommodation for about sixty monks. The greater part of this wing, as
well as that intended for the school, was designed by Mr Joseph Hansom-a name, by the by, perpetuated in .a line entirely distinct from architecture, as that of the
inventor of the "Hansom" cab. Except the three Gothic windows which mark the refectory on the ground floor of the right-hand gable (as seen from the loch), the character of the architecture may be designated "Domestic Gothic."
The fine tower to the left makes a striking departure from the general style. This was the work of Mr Peter Paul Pugin, heir, to the name and skill of a still more illustrious father. The tower measures 110 feet to, the summit of its pointed cap. Its lower storeys are apportioned to public community rooms, each with a noble bay-window looking towards the loch. Above the wide Gothic arch, leading to the stone-lined porch of the building, stands a fine statue of St Columba, the renowned Abbot of Iona, who helped to spread the knowledge of Christianity in this district. Under the pointed roof of the tower, half visible through narrow pointed arches, hangs the great bell of the Abbey. It is known as the "Mary Bell" from the legend carved upon it, copied from one in the old abbey of Evesham, invoking the prayers of the Blessed Virgin. This bell is used for all church services. On Sundays and, the greater festivals the nine bells in the school tower are chimed in addition.
One other picturesque feature may be noticed as differing in character from the rest of the wing. This is a small Gothic apse, lighted by graceful thirteenth-century windows; it juts out above a portion of the wall of the former NE bastion-on the extreme right, looking from Loch Ness. This small building is the Abbot's Chapel. It formerly stood at the end of the east cloister, but was removed to its present position to afford access to the choir of the new abbey church when building operations began there. The exceptionally beautiful stained glass by Hardman and Powell of the five windows of this chapel represents the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, namely, the Annunciation and Visitation of the Blessed Virgin, the Nativity and Presentation of Our Lord, and His being found in the Temple, after the three days loss. The glass was the gift of the 15th Duke of Norfolk, in thanks, giving for the birth of his son and heir in 1879.
The west front is that of the building set apart for lodging guests, and is known as the Hospice. It is entered by a short covered bridge, crossing the moat at the site of the former drawbridge of the fort. Overshadowing the entrance is an ancient tree of huge bulk; it is a Norwegian elm, the solitary specimen of its kind in this part of the country. The tradition is that it was brought as a sapling with a cargo of timber from Norway at the time of the erection of the fort in 1729.
Parts of the Abbey are open to visitors.
Entering the Hospice by the covered bridge already mentioned, the visitor finds himself in a narrow passage lighted by small Gothic windows whose recesses are fitted with seats for the poor who are frequently found there, awaiting the food distributed to such applicants. Thence he passes into a lofty entrance hall from which ascends a flight of stairs to the upper rooms. In this hall stands a very fine model of the old fort made by one of the Brothers of 'the community. Original drawings from the War Office were lent by the authorities for the construction of this model. This hall never was part of the original fort; the low round arch leading into the building was the chief entrance from the drawbridge. The passage vaulted with brick which is entered through this arch has on either side vaulted apartments which originally served as guardrooms, but have been converted into reception-rooms for visitors; that on the left adjoins a low arch of brick-now leading to a private staircase-which tradition says formed part of the dungeon into which Lord Lovat was thrown after his capture in 1746.
A small vaulted room, situated near the door leading into the cloisters and entirely unlighted, was once occupied by the fire-engine belonging to the old fort. The Abbey had acquired in the course of time an exceptionally fine collection of relics of various saints of the Catholic Church-some of them the gift of Pope Leo XIII; in. the opinion of some of the artists of the community, this disused apartment suggested an ideal storehouse for these treasures. Accordingly the place was decorated by mural paintings after the style of the Roman Catacombs the figures of the saints being modelled from members of the Fort Augustus community. The stone altar was designed and made in the Abbey, and the crucifix is inset with coloured pebbles brought from the Catholic Hebrides. This sanctuary is known as the Chapel of Holy Relics.
Over the doorway opposite the Chapel of the Relics, may be seen an .extremely interesting and valuable early Roman stone relief, presented to the Abbey some years ago by Mrs Turnbull of Hailes (Midlothian), into whose garden wall It had been built centuries before. The relief, part of which is in perfect preservation, represents, seated in front of an altar or shrine, the figures of the three mother-goddesses, or matres campestres, whose cult was Widely spread in certain districts during the first and second centuries of the Christian era. Altars with these triple figures have been found in various localities In Germany, France and England; but the extraordinary and unique Interest of the Hailes relief is that it is the only one known to exist in Scotland. The central figure holds in her hand a large bunch of grapes-an almost certain proof, experts believe, that the shrine was designed and wrought by sculptors from the Rhineland. The relief is duly scheduled in the lists of H.M. Office of Works (Scotland) as a monument of national importance.
The stately staircase, with its carved and panelled dado, which runs round three sides of the entrance hall, is the chief approach to the guest rooms above. Carved figures of birds, placed at intervals upon the balustrade, are emblematical of the virtues demanded of his sons by St Benedict. In his rule, when they entertain guests. The owl signifies vigilance; the pelican, self-denial; the dove gentle courtesy. The raven, with the bread in his beak, besides, typifying hospitality, bears an allusion to St Benedict s pet bird, more than once spoken of by his biographer.
The great chairs (early 18th century) in the Hall came from Costessie Hall, Norfolk, the seat (now demolished)
of the Jerninghams, Barons Stafford. Simon, 13th Baron Lovat, whose mother was a Jerninghams, presented them to the Abbey. The chairs are thought to be by Grinling Gibbons or one of his pupils. They show his mark, the split pea-pod, and their superb craftsmanship reminds one of other examples of Gibbons' work.
The precincts of the Abbey are entered through a round arch beyond the tunnel-like passage which formerly gave access to the buildings of the fort. Passing through the door of the glass screen which fills the arch, the visitor finds himself in the west cloister. It is a broad and lofty corridor, paved with warm-tinted tiles, and lighted by Gothic windows of three lights, set in embrasures of the stone wall. For some months these window-openings remained unglazed, in imitation of many mediaeval cloisters; but the rigorous winters of these northern lands necessitated the addition of glass panes. A large double door affords exit to the cloister-garth, whence a comprehensive view is gained of the buildings that stand around.
In front is the monastery wing, to the left hand that of the School, to the right is the one-storied building of the capacious sacristy, and behind rises the hospice. The
picture is one seldom witnessed in these northern lands. On all sides one sees graceful buildings of grey stone; with stone window-frames and mullions of a lighter tint. Running all round the quadrangle are the grey granite cloister walls, relieved by the green of clinging ivy here and there, and set off by the smoothly shaven lawn and
brightly coloured flowers. The windows of decorated Gothic are headed with exquisite tracery-wonderfully varied. The corbels of their weather mouldings are no less varied, for each head represents some particular saint or prominent historical personage.
Many of the gargoyles here arc worthy of notice as being strikingly original in design. Some of the best are the work of monastic artists of the house,
At the corner of the cloister are beautifully executed stone statues in niches sunk into the wall. There are two at each corner on the window side of the cloister. On the north-west corner are SS. Maurus and Placid, two of St Benedict's first disciples. The others, taking them in order as we pass round by our right, are St Benedict and his sister, St Scholastica, SS. Martin and John Baptist, SS. Theresa and Joseph.
Facing us at the end of this north cloister is the monastic Refectory. It is a lofty hall, some fifty feet in length; its linen-moulding wainscoting is copied from the oaken dado at Magdalen College, Oxford, formerly in the refectory of Abingdon Abbey. At the extreme end, under three long Gothic windows, filled with stained glass, is the table of the Abbot and guests. On either side, close to the wall, down the whole length of the Refectory, are narrow tables for the community; only one side of these tables is occupied-that near the wall; the other side is free for the convenience of serving. According to St Benedict's injunctions, every member of the community except the superior takes his, weekly turn in waiting' upon his brethren at table,
Opposite the Abbot's seat, at the side of the entrance door, is a pulpit jutting out from the wainscot at a considerable height from the floor; it is reached by a flight of steps bordered by a. graceful Gothic balustrade of carved pine. From this pulpit, after a chapter from the Holy Scriptures, some spiritual or historical work is read during the meal. This is another practice prescribed by St Benedict to his sons.
Not only the large windows already mentioned, but also the row of smaller ones extending down one side of the Refectory, are filled with heraldic glass, depicting the armorial bearings of the chief benefactors who assisted with their alms in the erection of the buildings.
On the basement floor below the Refectory is carried on continually the work
of the Abbey Press. The printing office is supplied with modern cylinder and platen presses, driven by electric power; and excellent work of every description is turned out-religious, liturgical, educational, descriptive, and general. The work of the Abbey Press includes the annual Ordo (the order of Divine Service), successive editions, of the Benedictine Rule, the School Magazine ("The Corbie"), many books privately printed for their authors, and a very beautiful collection of Papal Bulls addressed to the English Benedictines. The last-named volume has been commended in many quarters as a particularly fine specimen of private typography.
In connection with the printing press there is also an extensive photographic department; and dark rooms furnished with modern appliances and bookbinding of high quality is also carried on, on the premises.
Turning to the left as we leave the Refectory, we come to the Library, half-way down the east
cloister. It consists of three halls and an alcove connected by Gothic arches. With the exception of the Refectory, the Library occupies the whole eastern frontage of the monastery as far as the tower. Sufficient accommodation is thus obtained for the fifty thousand volumes already housed in it, with space for the further increase which' is continually going on. Besides the range of shelves which
cover the walls to a considerable height, convenient recesses for readers are formed by other bookshelves placed between each pair of windows. All the books are neatly arranged under their respective subjects, which, are indicated by the title over each case. They are catalogued in the usual modern style by means of cards in drawers,
In the first compartment a fine set of Latin and Greek Fathers is conspicuous in striking bindings of white vel
lum with red or green Labels. A complete set of the. Acta· Sanctorum of the Bollandists in the same hall is worthy of note. Everywhere the books are in brightly tinted bindings, which give a certain note of freshness to the whole library.
In a glass case are preserved some of the more valuable manuscripts belonging to the Abbey. perhaps the most remarkable of these is an autograph eleventh-century MS of St Marianus Scotus, founder of the Abbey of Ratisbon or the "Monastery of St James of the Scots," to give it its formal title. Another Ratisbon MS is Father Dalrymple's translation of Lesley's History; it dates from the sixteenth century. An old missal of the Sarum Rite once used in England, is to be seen among other printed books of great beauty and worth; pen-mark erasions deface the Mass in honour of St Thomas’s a Becket, in obedience to the command of Henry VIII, who prohibited its use after his renunciation of Catholic unity. Here is also an almost perfect copy of that exceptionally rare book, Archbishop Hamilton's Catechism; and a beautiful illuminated Book of Hours, once the property of Mary of Guise, and bearing her autograph. On the library walls hang portraits of Cardinals connected with Scotland. Erskine, Beaton, and Henry, Duke of York.
The east cloister leads to an open space under the tower, where the chief staircase of stone is approached through broad arches; supported on massive round pillars. This is the most picturesque of all Pugin's work in these buildings. On the wall of the staircase hangs a large painting by Szoldatics (a Polish artist in Rome) of St Benedict's vision of St Germanus. At the foot of the stairs is the monks:' recreation room or "Calefactory," a fine apartment with large bay windows and a massive carved stone mantel- piece: here are cases containing a rare collection of Brazilian birds, some valuable books and pictures; and, under glass, a perfectly executed model of York Minster.
The eastern cloister is extended to lead into the north choir aisle of the Church. On the right of this cloister
is the lofty Chapter-house, forty feet long, with a tiled floor designed by Pugin. Here is the Abbot's central seat, and on either side, stalls for the community.
From the wide arch of the porch leading to the garden a charming view is gained of Loch Ness and its surroundings, lying beyond the terraced slopes of the well-wooded monastery garden with its bright flower-beds. On either side rise majestic hills; those on the right are nearly two thousand feet high in their loftiest part. Everywhere, in the late summer, the purple heather gives variety of colour to the picture. Extensive woods are there too, but so massive is the bulk of the mountain heights that the trees are dwarfed to the semblance of mere clusters of bracken. On a mound of rhododendrons, facing the loch stands a beautiful statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child (formerly at Ellon Castle, Aberdeenshire) on a pedestal with inscription, "Hail! Patron of our Family."
On a bright day one can see beyond the calm waters, extending _ for 26 miles, the trees which indicate the other end of the loch. The picture is one not easily forgotten when viewed on a calm, bright day in summer or early autumn.
To the right hand, on a stretch of green turf, are the gravestones, already numerous, which indicate the monastic. cemetery. The tall Celtic cross in the centre marks the resting place of
the first Abbot, who died in 1910, after ruling the Abbey for well-nigh twenty-two years.
We pass down the south cloister, the walls lined with beautiful cream-coloured stone from Brora, in Sutherland, to reach the Sacristy. It is a Gothic building (originally intended for a drawing school or scriptorium, opening from a low-roofed vestibule on three lofty arches on octagonal stone pillars, and has an apsidal termination at each end. All the church vestments and other objects connected with the Divine service are kept here; and in the eighty-five years since the foundation of the Abbey many treasures of ecclesiastical art have been accumulated. Among these are numerous sets of richly embroidered vestments; a chasuble, mitre and silver cruets brought from the suppressed Scots Abbey of Si James at Ratisbon; a precious and notable relic of the Holy Cross in a reliquary of ivory and gold; a silver-gilt monstrance ins-et with diamonds once forming part of a tiara; many costly gold and silver chalices set with precious stones; and other treasures too numerous to mention. The principal vesting table is a very fine specimen of carved Spanish oak; it was presented to the Abbey by Lord Lovat.
THE GREAT ORGAN
In a lofty organ-chamber opening on the north choir aisle, and in the aisle below, is installed the magnificent organ, which has an interesting history. Originally built (in 1875) by Bryce- son for Mr Holmes, for his house in Regent's Park, it was removed to the old Albert Palace in Battersea Park in 1884; and when the Palace was demolished ten years later, was purchased by Fort Augustus Abbey, transported thither by rail and steamer, and stowed away for another twenty years in the largest room in the monastery. In 1914 the building of the choir of the church was begun, and a part of the organ was installed on the north side, and brought into use. In 1936-38 the entire instrument was rebuilt and electrified by Lawson (Aberdeen), and is now in daily regular use. Over ten miles of wire have been used in the action alone 0..£ this gigantic organ, which contains 4,200 pipes, four keyboards on the console, and a hundred stops in all-e-many of them of rare and extraordinary beauty. The great diapasons, which when the organ was built, were absolutely unrivalled are to-day, with the addition of the large scale open diapason, among the finest in existence.
The Abbey Church, as originally designed by P. P. Pugin, was intended to be a structure of elaborate Decorated Gothic, as may be seen in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and the double chapel of 'St Andrew and the Scottish Saints, the only portions of the Church completed according to Pugin's plan. The work was discontinued in 1893 for want on funds, and when resumed in 1914 was planned in Norman style by Reginald Fairlie, R.S.A. The part finished up to 1918 included the choir, with its arcade of round arches and massive Norman pillars, the north and south choir-aisles, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel (of the same length as the choir), the lower portion of the tower, and two south-west chapels of the nave.
The choir is furnished with stalls of English walnut and black American birch, and is divided from the aisles by Norman oak screens. Another beautiful screen, of unpolished Brazilian rosewood, divides the south aisle from the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. The canopy or baldacchino over the altar in that chapel, which was a gift from Lord Lovat to the Abbey Church, is of unusual material and design, being made of elaborately painted deerskin. Behind the Lady-altar hangs a fine Roman picture of Our Lady, in a very ornate Florentine frame; and on the altar stands an exquisite crucifix of ivory and malachite.
Another fine crucifix (antique Spanish) adorns St Joseph's altar, above which hangs Szoldatic's impressive painting of the saint, a votive offering made by the artist to the Abbey in thanksgiving for his daughter's recovery from illness. In St Andrew's Chapel there are some beautiful stained glass windows representing Scottish saints, the donors' names being inscribed under each Another treasure of the Church is a very ancient wooden statue of St John Baptist, in his camel-hair cloak, bearing the baptismal ewer.
The northern side of the quadrangle is occupied by the School buildings, of which the crowning feature is the towel', one hundred feet in height, containing the great clock and carillon of nine bells. The School, opened in 1878, can be considered the successor of the college for Scots boys founded at Ratisbon in 1713, which gave many notable men to the Scottish Church during the penal days.
The history of the School falls naturally into two pads: born 1878 to 1902, and from 1920 to the present day. During the first period the School remained small but the number of boys who made their mark in various walks of life was 'out of all proportion to its small numbers. After this the school buildings contained a museum, and during the First World War they were used as a convalescent hospital. A plaque in the main corridor records the thanks of the British Red Cross Society. In 1920 the School was re-opened and grew slowly until the accommodation of the original buildings was inadequate. A new wing was begun in 1958 through the generosity of Sir James Calder, an old boy of the School. It was completed in 1960 and the School now numbers 150 boys.
On the ground floor of the old School wing are the refectory and study-hall, while on one wall hangs a large picture of historic interest, representing the baptism of King Ethelbert by St Augustine. It came from the residence of King James VII and II in St Germain, after, whose death it passed to the Irish Benedictine nuns of Ypres and was by them presented to the first prior of Fort Augustus. The top floor consists entirely of large, spacious dormitories. The new wing consists of a reinforced concrete framework surfaced with Fife stone which blends very well with the older buildings. Above the main entrance is a bronze statue of St Benedict with two kilted boys, the work of Mr Arthur Fleischmann, a sculptor of international repute. Below it are three stained-glass windows containing the arms of the Lovat, Vaughan and Calder families. Most of the ground floor is taken up by a large stage and a hall which seats 400. Above are two laboratories .and the School library.
From the tower one looks down on the swimming-pool, boat
-house and cricket field, while a little further off are the other playing fields, including an all-weather hockey pitch and tennis courts. To the east there is a view of the whole length of mountain-girt Loch Ness, haunt of the monster and scene of the yachting and rowing activities of the boys. Westward we see the long expanse of Gleann Mor (the Great Glen), watered by the Oich and Caledonian Canal, and bounded on the south-west by the high tops of Ben Tee and the Glengarry hills.