I’ve distant family that hail from Scotland – Fort William to be exact – whom as a child I’d never visited, therefore as a wee bairn I’d always conjured an idyllic image in my head of what it would be like to wander through this seemingly mystical and splendid land. Until recently that is. Reality is nearly as good as my wistful childish visions.
Fort William is not just a Fort. It’s much more than that. Fort William, which lies to the north of Loch Linnhe, at the foot of the Ben Nevis, and a whisker away from Glen Nevis, is also the start and end of both the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way.
Over and above that Fort William, and the surrounding countryside, provides the widest range of outdoor activities and sports available in the UK. Mountaineering, White Water Rafting, Canyoning, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Rock Climbing and Abseiling. Oh and good old traditional walking too. No surprise really that it is know as the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’. If you don’t believe me you can take a gander over here.
Note: Avoid the rammed dual carriageway – also known as “The Road to the Isles“ – that has been thrust awkwardly between the slightly dowdy town centre and the loch.
Some Fort William facts for you:
- The original fort was built in 1654 to keep the peace in the Highlands; it was later ruined and in 1690 rebuilt and named for the British monarch William III.
- The fort was dismantled in the 19th century to make room for the railway which still runs today.
- Fort William was the first town in Britain to light its streets entirely by hydroelectricity.
- Water from Loch Treig, conveyed by a 15-mile (24-km) tunnel beneath Ben Nevis, provides power for an aluminum works.
- The area is popular with movie makers – parts of Braveheart, Rob Roy, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Skyfall, and the Harry Potter movies have all been filmed there.
In Fort William you will find whatever it is that you need to make your head and heart smile: delight in the stunning forest tracks that trail through the Lochaber area, conquer mountains such as Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis, wander through valleys such as Glen Nevis, the Caledonian Canal to explore…
If you explore Fort William as part of one of our West Highland Way walking holidays or one of our Great Glen Way walking holidays then you are guaranteed a charming journey through this mystical and splendid land.