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Beautiful scenery, lots of activities, and a great holiday destination
Fort William (Scotland)
Member Name: smudge377
Fort William (Scotland)
Advantages: Always something to do
Disadvantages: Rain and midges
So what can I tell you?
Location, and how to get there:
Fort William is on the West Coast of Scotland, further north than Oban. On the banks of the sea loch, Loch Linnhie.
From the north/south, access is via the A82, and from the west A380.
It is also easlily accessed from Glasgow, by train and bus.
Current train prices vary bet £15-40.00 for a return from Glasgow.
If you are flying up, you can either fly into Glasgow, and drive north, or Inverness and drive south down the A82.
First founded in 1655, when a fort was built (no longer in existance). The scene of many forced emigrations during the highland clearances, and the town that pioneered electric street lighting in 1896.
It is an ideal place to stay, as there are wide choices of accomodation, from excellent hotels, to campsites and caravan parks, as well as many charming bed and breakfasts in between.
**** hotel- Onich hotel- six miles south of Fort William.
Overlooking Loch Linnhie. Lovely looking hotel, prices from £45.00per night. Customer ratings 4.2/5
*** hotel- Ben Nevis hotel and leisure club- A member of the strathmore group. A more modern hotel, with some good price reductions for Nov/Dec/Jan 09.
From £52.00 a night (before reductions), and has a guest rating of 3.6/5
Too many bed and breakfasts/caravans &lodges plus campsites to easily choose, go the www.visitscotland.com website to see what might appeal to you.
So what can I do when I get there:
Well the great thing is there is just so much choice.
For the active types, climb Ben Nevis, a fantastic trip, but remember to dress sensibly. You should be generally fit, and equipped with stout shoes, warm, waterproof clothing, a map, food and a compass.
Whatever the weather in town, a whole different ball game may be happening up the "Ben". The summit has an average of 261 gales a year.
Access to the footpath to the Ben is via Glen Nevis, at Achintee farm. On a clear day you really can see forever, or to then inner hebrides.
If thats a bit to active, take a walk up the Glen, to the series of waterfalls. The River Nevis is a great place for kids to play in. I spent many a year trying to dam it!, but never succeeded. There is a cafe/restaurant in the Glen for a meal/drinks, plus a nice campsite.
More action trips are available- take the cable car up Aonach Mhor, and if its winter/snowy, you can snowboard down, or in summer mountain bike down. There is a nice restaurant at the top, plus a shop.
Sea Kayaking is also available from Fort William, via "Rockhopper Sea Kayaking"
Snowgoose Mountain Centre offers all sorts of outdoor activity, from abseiling, to ice walks. They also arrange packages.
For the "not so active" amongst us:
Treasures of the earth: a collection of gemstones, crystals and fossils in a stimulated cave.
Glen Nevis visitors centre- open April-Oct.
Access for Glen Nevis walks, picnic area restaurant, and gift shop, plus info about Glen and Ben Nevis.
Inverlochy Catle is an old ruin, interesting to have a nosey around, but well worth visiting the whiskey distillery, and taking a walk along the river.
Fort William also has a public swimming pool, and cinema, handy for those wetter days, with the kids.
Boat trip on Loch Linnhie- take a trip down to Seal island, and watch the grey and common seals basking on the rocks.
Getting out and about:
1.Take the West Highland Line- to Mallaig, on a steam train.
Harry Potter fans will recognise the viaduct from the film.
The scenery is beautiful, but if you want to stay and spend a bit more time drive out to Mallaig. Pass along Loch Eil, to Glennfinnan, at the head of Loch Shiel. This is where Bonny Prince
Charlie landed and rallied the clans in 1745. From there on pass along Loch Ailort, a haunting place, with islets of trees. When the mist swirls around it, you feel like you're in another world. I've seen a lot of deer around here.
Visit the silver sands of Morar, beaches so wonderful, that if you catch them on a sunny day, you'd think you were in a tropical paradise. Stop for lunch in Arisaig- the Old Library is first class.
Finally you arrive in Mallaig- there is an aquarium here, plus the ferry to Skye. Its a real fishing village to, so its great to watch the boats come and go.
2. Try Aviemore and Kingussie: Drive north east. Kingussie is the home of the Highland wildlife park, which is well worth a visit, with reindeer, wild cats, and ptarmagan.
visit the Osprey hide on the RSPB RESERVE.
Go on to Aviemore, there is plenty of activity for all. From shinty to horse riding, golf, fishing, more whiskey tours, plus great eateries.
3. Visit the most westerly point on the British mainland- Ardnurmurchan point. Cross Loch Linnhie to Ardgour, and then drive along to Strontian, on Loch Sunart, just keep following the road westward. The scenery is varied, from ancient woodlands, to dramatic cliffs, charming little villages, and seascapes.
Well worth the drive.
The things you can do in and around Fort william and if I were to write them all, this review would never end.
Safe to say, and holiday in Fort William will not disappoint, but remember, it is the wettest place on the UK mainland.
Summary: Go, you just might enjoy it.
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