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Fort William

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Scottish Highlands : Highland : Fort William
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Loch Linhe
Ben Nevis on a cloudy day
Fort William Map.jpg
Loch Linhe

Sitting at the head of Loch Linnhe, a sea loch, and at the foot of Ben Nevis, Fort William is the major town of the South Western Scottish Highlands, Scotland. The High Street is the heart of the town - here one will find most of the shops, pubs and restaurants and at its northern end, beyond the bypass, the bus and railway stations.

Get in

By bus

Several coaches a day run to and from Glasgow, Oban, Kyle of Lochalsh, the Isle of Skye and Inverness. Up to three per day run to and from Mallaig and in summer a couple also go to Edinburgh, Kingussie and Aviemore.

Local buses run to Kinlochleven via Glencoe.

By train

Three direct trains a day run to and from Glasgow (Queen Street) via Crianlarich and Loch Lomond on the spectacular West Highland Railway and continue on the even more scenic route to Mallaig.

The Caledonian Sleeper [1] is an overnight sleeper train that runs direct to Fort William from London. Due to its historic popularity among the landed gentry travelling to shooting parties it is affectionately nicknamed the "Deerstalker". The train leaves Euston every evening at 8pm except on Saturdays. Fares are £120 return, but "Bargain Berths" are available down to £19 one way if you book up to 12 weeks in advance - but are notoriously hard to get on the Fort William service during peak summer season. As an alternative you can travel on the overnight Glasgow train (which leaves Euston at 2300) and complete the journey using a day service.

Get around

The centre of Fort William is small enough to get around on foot.

In summer local buses run to Glen Nevis Youth Hostel.

Scottish Highland Tours,Telephone (+44) (0)1397 704901, offers tours from Fort William in luxury buses [2] and also offers taxis and cars from Fort William.

See

  • Soak in the views along the Loch-side
  • Greyhound Taxis, 131 Blar Mhor Rd Caol, 01397 705050, [3]. A family run taxi company, they cater to bikers, hillwalkers, or day trippers who don't know their way around. They have bike racks and ski racks, and a secure luggage trailer can be provided. They operate 4 & 6 seater cabs.

Do

  • Climb Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in Britain. The summit is 4406 feet high with some dangerous sections very near the path to the summit. It is essential that a map and compass are carried as well as warm clothing and waterproofs. A leaflet, "Navigation on Ben Nevis", is available free in Fort William. [4]
  • Explore the Mamores if you like your mountains less populated than Ben Nevis. This is a beautiful range between Glen Nevis to the north and Kinlochleven to the south. They include a number of Munroes so you may well meet people but you may well not want to do the Ben Nevis tourist route more than once.
  • In winter, skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Nevis Range [5], with a gondola and chairlifts up the hill.
  • In summer, there are cross country and downhill mountain bike courses at Nevis Range. The UCI mountain bike World Cup has been hosted here several times. [6]
  • From March to October one can start the Great Glen Way walk to Inverness from Fort William.
  • The Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig: Operates from 17th June to 4th October. The train leaves Fort William at 10:20AM, connecting with the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston, and returns to Fort William at 4:00PM. This allows an hour and a half to look around Mallaig. It crosses the famous 21 arch Glenfinnan viaduct and stops at the village of Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. It also stops at the village of Arisaig on request. Fare: £27 standard and £40 first class. Telephone +44 (0) 1524 737751 /737753.[7]. Tickets can also be bought from the guard on the train, subject to availability, but not from the train station office itself.

Buy

Shops on the High Street offer a wide choice of Scottish dresses, woollenware, mementoes and of course Scotch Whisky. Each clan has a particular design and colour, and the wide variety is generally on display. Many of the tour operators bringing in tourists provide a lunch break at Fort William, long enough for more than just a look at the variety.

Eat

The local meat and fish has a good reputation and when in Scotland trying haggis is a must.Vegetarian options are almost always available and for those that like a little less lung in their meals vegetarian haggis is delicious.

Drink

It is Scotland and so one need not worry about availability of drinks. The in-thing is single malt whisky but tourists also have a wide choice of popular branded blends. Note that, as in many other Scottish towns, it is illegal to drink in public places like the High Street.

Sleep

Budget

  • Chase The Wild Goose Hostel [8]. Located on the Great Glen Way just 2½ miles from Fort William and the West Highland Way, and within the village of Banavie, is Scotland’s newest Backpackers’ Hostel, providing accommodation for Walkers, Cyclists, individuals on Activity Holidays, Families and Groups. Enjoy a relaxing break to the Scottish Highlands. £9.50-£16.50/night. Private Rooms available. Be inspired...!
  • Bank Street Lodge [9] good quality hostel accommodation in the town centre. Dorm beds from £14/night
  • Glen Nevis Youth Hostel [10]. Several kilometres from town, but convenient for Ben Nevis and the West Highland Way.
  • Farr Cottage[11] - Dorm beds between £12-£15 a night. Private/group rooms also available
  • MacBackPackers [12]. 5 minute walk from town. Standard backpacker hostel, £12-£13/night, smaller rooms available. Staff are friendly and there is standard breakfast for a small fee in the self-service kitchen.

Bed & Breakfast

  • Achintee Farm, Glen Nevis, +44 (0) 1397 702 240 (), [13]. £34 per person per night; Cottage Self-Catering Weekly - £295 to £395; Hostel Twin/Triple Room £14 per person per night; Hostel Dormitory (sleeps 5) £12.50 per person per night.
  • Aros Ard, Seafield Gardens, +44 1397 704142 (), [14]. Aros Ard is situated in an elevated position in Seafield Gardens. In a peaceful cul-de-sac with private parking, about 10 minutes walk from Fort William Town Centre. Enjoys excellent views across Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour Hills. from £30.00 per person per night (based on 2 people sharing).
  • Best Western Imperial Hotel, [15]. Restaurant & bar. Friendly staff. from £40 per night.
  • Burntree House, Lochview Drive, Lochview Estate (in Loch View Estates), +44 (0) 7833586323 (fax: +44 (0) 1397 701735), [16]. Single Room: £30.00 - £39.00, Double Room: £45.00- £60.00, Family Room: £60.00 - £79.00.
  • The Corran Inn, (half way between Fort William and Glencoe, 10 minutes drive from the town), [17]. This comfortable loch-side Inn specializes in providing everything needed to explore this beautiful part of Scotland.
  • Huntingtower Lodge, Druimarbin, +44(0)1397 700079 (), [18]. Prices start at £4 per person and go up to £75 per night for a double occupancy room, breakfast extra..
  • B&B Mrs P Paterson, 13 Seafield Gardens, +44 1397 703158. Clean, modern and good value B&B about 10mins walking distance from the town centre.
  • St Anthonys, Argyll Road, +44 (0)1397 708496 (), [21]. Prices start at £25 per person per night with discounts for children aged under 15. There is no charge for children aged under 5..

Splurge

  • Inverlochy Castle hotel [22] Torlundy, Fort William PH33 6SN Tel: 01397 702177 Fax: 01397 702953 Email: info@inverlochycastlehotel.com .

Camp

  • Glen Nevis campsite [23] Maybe not the cheapest, but good facilities in very nice scenery. Be warned that it can have a lot of midges!

Get out

  • The scenic Road to the Isles [24] links Fort William with Mallaig passing Glenfinnan Viaduct.
  • Loch Ness is a popular tourist site on the A82 road to Inverness.
  • Glencoe – stunning views, among the best in the Highlands.

Contact

There is an Internet cafe in the High Street, also free Internet access in the library[25].



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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