Fort William is a major tourist centre with Glen Coe just to the south, Aonach Mor to the north and Glenfinnan to the west, on the Road to the Isles. It is an important centre for hillwalking and climbing due to its proximity to Ben Nevis and many other Munro mountains. It is also well known for its nearby famous Downhill Mountain Bike Track at Nevis Range and its connection to the West Highland Way from Glasgow and the Great Glen Way, a walk/cycle way from Inverness to Fort William through the Great Glen.
The surrounding rugged, yet beautiful landscape has been used as a back drop for many famous movies, including Harry Potter, Braveheart and Rob Roy. Another huge attraction is the very popular Jacobite Steam Train. Advanced bookings strongly advised.
Scotland is steeped in history and enhanced by buildings from prehistoric dwellings and stone circles to abbeys, remote castles and palaces. From Fort William it is possible to visit many historic sites in a pleasant days return drive. Many of these sites are set off by the rugged mountain and sea backdrop and one can only wonder how different were living conditions and transport between each of these magnificent buildings. For more details visit Historic Scotland.
Undoubtedly the biggest attraction in the area, both in visitor interest and size. Ben Nevis is Britain’s highest mountain and is ascended by 100,000 people each year. During the summer the ‘Mountain Track’ is very popular and technically easy, but please do not underestimate the wear and tear on your body, especially knees. ankles and hips. Going down is often harder than going up.
The ascent should take between 4 – 5 hours and descent will be 2 – 3 hours. Also, please do not underestimate the weather and carry waterproofs, warm clothing, food and water. Even if the sun is shining in Glen Nevis at the foot of the mountain, it can be bitterly cold on the summit. Good footwear with high ankle support is advisable.
One attraction is the Ben Nevis Inn at the end of the day, which is located at the foot of the track. Further details of the mountain and it’s owners, plus mountain kit lists and navigational tips can be found at West Coast Mountain Guide, The Nevis Partnership and the John Muir Trust. Also try the Ben Nevis Webcam for up to date views of the mountain. These images will be of the north face, which has many of Britain’s longest and most difficult climbs. A walk beneath these cliffs is possible for visitors only interested in simple trips.
Road to the Isles
West of Fort William is the picturesque Road to the Isles. This route is famous for its railway line which was used for filming ‘Harry Potter’ on the Jacobite Steam Train. After passing Corpach and Loch Eil it moves through historical Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s fight for the British throne gathered momentum and he raised the Jacobite standard and rallied his clansmen for battle. On the Road to the Isles, visitors will pass the Caledonian Canal A fine example of Victorian engineering, started by Thomas Telford.
Also in Glenfinnan is the Railway Museum. Further west the road and rail links skirt Loch Ailort and pass through Arisaig and onto Morar with it’s famous white sands and necklace of islets. Destinations end is the busy fishing village of Mallaig, a starting point for ferries to Skye and the Small Isles Island Ferries. Driving to Mallaig from Fort William is a great day out with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the scenery. It is a popular evening trip for a meal out and watch the sun set on the western horizon beyond the Outer Hebrides.
Commando Memorial Spean Bridge
Only a short thirty minute drive from our base is the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge. This monument is set in a very grand and elevated landscape adjacent to the A82 and overlooks the Great Glen both north and south. The statue pays tribute to the men who trained close by and went off to defend Britain during the Second World War. More details can be found at Commando Memorial, visiting this special viewpoint can easily be combined with a short round-trip to include a stroll alongside of the Caledonian Canal or a fine meal at the acclaimed Smiddy House amongst others in Spean Bridge and the surrounding area.
If you do not have a car, then the train or coach from Fort William will serve just as well. The memorial is less than a mile to walk from the village, which also boasts a well stocked Woolen Mill, Tourist Information Centre and fine views of the River Spean, a favourite with river paddlers.