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Fort William & Lochaber Area Guide

Fort William and Lochaber is a great holiday outdoor activity destination in the west of Scotland. Visit our guide to Fort William B&B, guesthouse, hotel and self catering accommodation. Outdoors sports adventure and of course walking and climbing Ben Nevis

Fort William and Lochaber is a huge rural area in the west Highlands of Scotland with the principal town Fort William lying on the shore of Loch Linnhe below Ben Nevis.

If you intend to visit the Highlands with a motorhome or camper, or intend to wild-camp, read this public information document first.

The area features the most westerly point in Britain - Ardnamurchan Point; the second deepest loch - Loch Morar; the highest mountain and the most infamous Highland glen - historic Glencoe with its amazing scenery. Perhaps the most famous glen in Scotland - Glenfinnan - where the Clan Cameron gathered there to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie from France, to lead the historic Jacobite Army. We have the only mountain gondola in Scotland with two superb downhill bike tracks and a full range of summer and winter sports. If that’s not a lot we have the Caledonian Canal, a superb inland waterway joining the Atlantic to the North Sea; the Great Glen and world famous Road to the Isles, with its hugely popular Iron Horse Jacobite train journey. Oh, there’s also a very long maritime coastline perfect for fishing or kayaking - not to mention some of the largest areas of fresh water lochs in Scotland.

Getting here is relatively straight forward, although the journey can seem long. Scottish airports at Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness have international and domestic flights landing visitors directly into Scotland where excellent train and bus services will bring you to the Highlands in comfort. There are several local taxi firms who will gladly pick you up from any UK airport pick-up point and give you a guided tour on the way back here! Once you arrive in Fort William there are local car rental businesses who provide an excellent service. You can rent a mountain bike or cycle locally too and so there’s no reason not to stay and explore longer. We often suggest to folk not just to pass through - there is so much to see and experience.

Lochaber’s history has been a long one with many events over the centuries shaping the politics of the United Kingdom - the Celts, the Vikings, the English, the French and Spanish and latterly the British and of course the Highland Jacobites have all shaped who we are today. The site of old Inverlochy Castle in Fort William goes way back in time when there was a fortified building there 800 years ago; and when in 1645 three thousand men engaged in a ferocious battle one cold February day that is said to have left the river red with blood.  Today Fort William, Glencoe, the Great Glen, Ardnamurchan attract people for outdoor activities, its history and of course Ben Nevis and the Jacobite Steam Train.

Almost 10,000 people live and work in and around the town of Fort William, which includes several small villages and communities nearby. The Lochaber area which includes the places mentioned has a population of around 20,000. Many people work to provide tourism services by providing a huge range of holiday accommodation which includes traditional cottages, self catering lodges and homes, guesthouses, some large and small hotels, camping parks  and hostels.

Our Fort William Eating Out Guide will help you locate some really good restaurants, pubs and cafes, including traditional Fish ’n Chip shops. We have some very high quality places to dine set amongst mountains, glens or lochsides and the town centre has a good choice of family restaurants including seafood specialists. 

Through the year, but mostly during the Spring and Summer months, there are lots of events and activities to think about visiting and enjoying the fun and thrills of downhill biking, Highland games, music and art festivals and exhibitions and live entertainment with local musicians. 

Local services include lots of food producers who supply the highest quality seafood and game from the land and seas. Some specialise in smoked produce and other produce bakery specialities. Forestry and timber processing, fish farming, aluminium smelting are our main industries, and these are supported by many local trades and retail outlets. The people of Lochaber are looked after by a very impressive NHS Highland health service, together with the Fire Service and Police Scotland.

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