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"What a Beautiful Place" The Beauly Firth, an inland continuation of the Moray Firth, is a sheltered sea loch bounded by the Black Isle, which gets its name from the very fertile land, and to the south by the wooded hills of the Aird. The village of Beauly lies ten miles west of Inverness where the River Beauly, one of Scotland's renowned Salmon fishing rivers, enters the Beauly Firth. The village is situated on the A862, where the road skirts the shoreline and mud flats of the firth, offering a quieter alternative scenic route north to the fast A9 road over the Kessock Bridge. The ruin of Beauly Priory, made of red sandstone, was founded in 1230 for the Valliscaulian order by Sir John Bisset but was destroyed during the Reformation. It is still worth a visit however, as there are three rare and beautiful 13th century triangular windows, with trefoils, in the south wall. The window arcading in the chancel and the doorway to the west in the south transept are also of particular interest.
The name of the village derives from the Lovat family who came to Scotland from France with the Normans in the 11th century. Although the local tale is that the name came when Mary, Queen of Scots visited the area in the summer of 1564 and described it "quelle beau lieu!" Lord Simon Lovat, one of the more notorious members of the Lovat family, was outlawed for the attempted kidnap of a 9 year old girl and forced marriage to her mother. He later played an active role in the Jacobite Uprisings but was branded the nickname "The Old Fox of 45" for his turncoat antics, his loyalty remaining with whoever was winning at the time. He met his fate when he was beheaded in London for backing the wrong side at the Battle of Culloden. In the Square of Beauly a Victorian monument commemorates one of Lovat's descendants, Simon Lovat the 16th Lord Lovat, who founded a fighting unit during the Great Boer War in South Africa.
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