Fort William

Highland | Town | ★★

[Fort William High Street]

Like Oban to the south, Fort William (originally An Gearasdan, or "garrison") is a bustling coastal resort with an impressive range of tourist attractions, shops, restaurants and accommodation. Both towns make great bases for exploring large parts of the West Highlands. Unlike Oban however, Fort William isn't easy on the eye. An ugly shopping arcade blights the northeast end of the High Street, while a noisy dual carriageway with an irritating lack of crossing points makes access to the underutilised esplanade and Old Fort awkward. Instead, the town attracts visitors for other reasons. Spectacular hills, glens, lochs and burns make the ultimate playground for lovers of outdoor pursuits: within a 20 mile radius you can walk, ski, bike, rock or ice climb (indoors and outdoors), take a boat trip, tackle ropes courses or a via ferrata, try canyoning... and we're probably only scratching the surface. Hordes of visitors pour into the town each summer, but most are aiming for just one of two famous attractions: the Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig via Glenfinnan Viaduct; or the long grind up nearby Ben Nevis, the UK's highest hill. That leaves the rest for those in the know (you lucky reader). There's a slight snag: Fort William receives nearly 1,700 millimetres of rain annually, making this one of the wettest populated spots in the country. We chuckled at a well-known automated weather website which specifies a "rainy season" of January, February, March, July, August, September, October, November and December. Isn't that about three rainy seasons? If you prefer to stay dry, you'll be relieved to find out that even the outdoor capital of the UK boasts a respectable list of indoor attractions by Highlands standards. You can find a list of some of our (indoor and outdoor) picks below, and we'll keep adding to it as we get to know this exciting region better.

[Fort William & Loch Linnhe seen from Cow Hill]

Location & info

📌 Fort William ★★
Highland, G.R.: NN 103740 ///boomed.footpath.august

🚶 The town centre is compact, but several key sights require a short bus ride or drive. The start of the main route up Ben Nevis can be reached by off-road paths.
🚢🚆🚌 Fort William is a key West Highland transport hub. Trains run on the Glasgow to Mallaig line, connecting with the ferry to Skye. There are coaches and buses to most Scottish cities and other West Highland towns, and a seasonal passenger ferry across the loch to Camusnagaul.
🚗 Central car parks charge a fee, with free street parking further away if you're happy to walk in.

See & do (<1 mi away)

>> Old Fort (Fort William)
>> St Andrew's Church (Fort William) ★★
>> The Jacobite Steam Train (not yet featured)
>> Walk: Fort Bill's local hill ★★★
>> West Highland Museum ★★

Nearby (1-5 mi away)

>> Inverlochy Castle (1 mi →)
>> Walk: Ben Nevis (1 mi →) (not yet featured)
>> Ben Nevis Distillery (2 mi →) (not yet featured)
>> Corpach Sea Lock & viewpoint ★★★ (2 mi ↑)
>> Neptune's Staircase ★★ (2 mi ↑)
>> Treasures of the Earth (2 mi ↑) (not yet featured)
>> Glen Nevis Lower Falls ★★ (4 mi ↓)
>> Walk: Scintillating Stob Ban - White Peak treat ★★★★ (4 mi ↓)
>> Nevis Range ★★★★ (5 mi →)

[Walking up Cow Hill with the outskirts of Fort William below]

[Climbing Stob Bàn in the Mamores (26/6/19)]

[Town & loch seen from the Old Fort (26/6/19)]

[St Andrew's Church]

[West Highland Museum]

[Cameron Square]

[Sculpture in Cameron Square of the Model T Ford driven up Ben Nevis in 1911]

[Lochaber Geopark visitor centre]

[Fort William specialises in hearty walker's fare]

[Duncansburgh Macintosh Parish Church (26/6/19)]

[One of the Jacobite steam trains leaving Fort William]

[Inverlochy Castle (26/6/19)]

[Ben Nevis Distillery (26/6/19)]

[Neptune's Staircase (26/6/19)]

[Ben Nevis from near Corpach Locks (26/6/19)]

[Treasures of the Earth (26/6/19)]

[Glen Nevis Lower Falls (26/6/19)]

[Nevis Range ski centre (4/2/15)]


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