Fort Augustus Abbey closed to the public in 1998 after more than one hundred years as a Benedictine Community. This is the latter part of that story.

FORT AUGUSTUS ABBEY IN 2002


[The Fort Augustus Abbey section of this site has had to be written under the constraints of a termination agreement the Webmaster signed when he left the Abbey in 1998.  Please forgive any resultant clumsy structure within these pages.]

In August 2002 the webmaster guided a German Christian group on an all day Loch Ness excursion which included a visit to the Abbey. We arrived mid afternoon to find unkempt grass, a garden shed being used as a ticket office and the buildings falling into rack and ruin.

It was a pretty depressing visit and I'm not sure whether it was a good or bad idea to go back. Fortunately I had the camera with me and any reader who visited the abbey while I was bursar, can see the deterioration.

An information panel at the abbey!

The sign at left is the sign telling tourists that they are about to enter the Chapter House. Now I know that it is not easy finding the necessary money to keep up the buildings, but a sign such as this can be simply run-off on a computer and laminated. It really is inexcusable to allow such an object to be left on view.

An information panel at the abbey!

The photograph at left shows the fungus growing at the junction between the cloister and the main church.

An information panel at the abbey!

This photograph is of a lamp fitting at the beautiful court of arches (shown below a few years ago). Not only is it out of character and not hanging centrally, but the wiring is unsightly and the ceiling paint and plaster is flaking badly.

An information panel at the abbey!

 

Here you can see the main crucifix statue in the church and the surrounding wall. Isn't the chair welcoming?

An information panel at the abbey!

Serious fungus problems in the church.

The inside of the gable end of the church with obvious problems. In to the left of this area is St Andrew's chapel where there were already problems with sandstone blocks which had been laid on edge.

Perhaps there are not enough funds to maintain the fabric, but surely there is no need for stacks of decrepit chairs to be left lying around. Is anyone managing the place for Mr Nutkins? I was embarrassed for my tour group to see such a scrappy portrayal of the abbey's heritage, to say nothing of spelling mistakes in information panels and days of dirt on carpets and floors.

When Fr Francis Davidson took over responsibility for the fabric of the abbey he disposed of important items of Catholic heritage.

The buildings themselves, however, were subject to an Historic Scotland 'A' listing, yet all but one of the cloister statues had been ripped out.

This one was broken in the attempt to remove it as can be seen from the inset picture. What is worse is that no-one has tried to repair it and the loose broken piece is likely to be thrown away or broken further.

How these statues could be allowed to be removed escapes me. These statues were made for the cloisters, were part of the fabric of the buildings and should never have been removed. In fact Historic Scotland should have ensured that they were left in situ.

At one point one of the gargoyles which had been broken off at some time in the past was given away. I was horrified to see this happen, but, do know who has it if anyone is sufficiently interested.

 

Part of the nave. What a sad end to the abbey.

Is there no-one out there who has the finance to help get this place sorted out?  It is an absolute tragedy.

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