Roaming around Fort William Scotland

To say that Scotland is cold is something of an understatement as the country can be chilly on even a glorious day. This is particularly true when you visit the Highlands, that mystical part of Scotland where clans would eke out an existence in the rough terrain, and where many of the battles for Scottish independence were fought.

The town of Fort William is a proud Highlands town which commands an important strategic position because of its access to the south, the central region and its proximity to the north and the islands of the Inner Hebrides.

Lying at the heart of Lochaber, Fort William seems to have been built vertically rather than horizontally as it dominates the hills, giving astounding views of the surrounding countryside.

Sitting just behind the town is the towering monolith that is Ben Nevis; the highest mountain in Britain. The so-called tourist path, which is no simple stroll, will eventually lead you to the summit. Be warned, the weather on the mountain can be quite treacherous and turn quite suddenly, even on a seemingly perfect day, so you must always be prepared for the worst.

Fort William is so named for it has been the centre for many a military campaign, and one of the popular attractions is the West Highland Museum, which houses a large collection of Jacobite memorabilia, plus many other displays. The Jacobites dedicated their lives to the restoration of the Stuart Kings to the thrones of both England and Scotland during the second half of the Seventeenth Century, and they formed a movement to fight the territorial ambitions of the Campbells of the Argylls.

It was near Fort William in 1645 that the Battle of Inverlochy occurred at which the straggly Highlander army under the command of the Earl of Montrose, moved around the slopes of Ben Nevis to attack and defeat the much bigger Argyll army. You can visit the sites of these battles, and when you experience them for yourself, you have a fine appreciation for the toughness of those hardy Highlanders.

In fact, you can even take a nostalgic journey on board the The Jacobite, a steam train which runs from Fort William to Mallaig, which carries you through some of Scotland’s most dramatic and breathtaking scenery. This popular train visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station; passes by Loch Morar, which is the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, skirting Britain’s shortest river before arriving at Loch Nevis.

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