The village of Caol along the shore of Loch Linnhe, is an integral part of Fort William, and an easy short car journey, walk or cycle. The village name is pronounced "cool" - and is a Gaelic word which means "a long straight shore".
To do this Fort William walk, take the A82 north to Lochy bridge, turn left onto the A830, and then first left around Farmfoods, then follow the road all the way to Caol Shopping Centre, where you can park your car. The path which fallows the shore towards Corpach is easy to pick up, and you can also go down onto the beach to walk along the sand or the waters edge. The large area of water is the tidal sea loch, Loch Linnhe. On the far shore on the left is Fort William, and further left, are the mountains at the head of Glen Nevis, and to the left of these, is Ben Nevis. To the left of Ben Nevis is Carn Mor Dearg and Aonach Mor, where the mountain gondola operated by Nevis range, is located.
Walking west towards Corpach, the path takes its route through mature beech trees, and will take you up on to the Caledonian Canal. The Caledonian Canal basin is now visible, and this is where seagoing vessels tie-up for the winter, or wait before navigating the lock gates, or heading back out to sea. This location is where Thomas Telford Corpach Marina is planned to open in 2021, together with its public slipway and marina facilities building which has a coffee shop. You can walk or cycle to Corpach from here, and then take a bus back into Fort William, or we recommend to follow the Canal bank back towards Caol.
You will see Ben Nevis and and Aonach Mor, and in the summer months probably one or two vessels as they pass bye. This is also a good place to feed the ducks - so don't forget to bring some bread! You can walk along the canal bank to Banavie Bridge, where the West Highland Railway crosses the canal. From here take one of the paths down onto the street -- where you can visit the Lochy bar, or where you can walk through the village back to your car.
This walk is thoroughly enjoyable at any time of year - so don't forget your camera!
Locally, the village of Caol has a good shops including Sammies fish and chip shop, Delibarqen Chinese takeaway, a Co-op supermarket, and a Londis minimarket. The views from Caol Shopping Centre over to Fort William in the evenings, on a sunny day are quite spectacular. If you're staying in the area for a few days, this is a great local Fort William walk to enjoy. You can also get into Caol by turning off the A830 at Banavie Station and crossing the railway into the village.
There are not many places in the UK where you can walk all the seashore, enjoy a stroll along a major canal inland waterway, whilst at the same time be surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the country - all in the one short walk.
During January of the winter of 2010, the canal was frozen solid for almost 2 weeks. The ducks were well fed !