During World War II, Coastal Forces were billeted in Fort William, where they were trained in small boat management.
The men were billeted in the Highland, Waverley and Grand Hotels, but the Royal Navy gave them the collective name of 'HMS St Christopher'. Veterans hold reunions at the Highland Hotel, where a memorial has been erected. I understand that the Highland Hotel staff are quite used to veterans or their families paying a visit.
Crannog Cruises offer 90 minute cruises of Loch Linnhe from the town pier in Fort William. We went on a very clear day, so had excellent views from the main deck. There is also a lower enclosed deck (with a cafe) for when the weather isn't so good.
The cruise takes you past a salmon farm and a mussel farm, and there are opportunities to see sea birds, seals and even red deer on the hillsides. I have to admit I didn't actually manage the spot the red deer that was supposed to be visible on the skyline, though I did see a cormorant and a shag. The best part is the view of Ben Nevis. From one particular spot it resembles an elephant.
Tickets cost £12.50 a person.
This is a small museum, which aims to 'record, preserve and interpret items of significance and historical interest to the West Highland area', quite an ambitious aim for a museum of its size.
Downstairs, 'The Governor's Office' has the panelling from the office in the fort, from which the order for the massacre at Glencoe was given. Another notable exhibit in this room is the 'birching table'. The poor unfortunate due for punishment had to lie on the table with his arms secured through holes in the surface, and was beaten with a birch broom,
Also downstairs are exhibits on local wildlife, including a stuffed golden eagle, and a small room which covers 'archaeology and mountaineering'.
Upstairs are exhibits of Victorian costume (including an outfit given to John Brown by Queen Victoria), the Jacobites, and highland life. Of particular interest is a tray with a hidden picture of Bonnie Prince Charlie, which can only be seen once a polished decanter is placed in the centre.
Open April-October: Monday -Saturday 10-5; Mar, Nov, Dec: Monday-Saturday 10-4
Admission is free - but please give a donation to museum costs.
Not a lot of the actual fort at Fort William remains, to be honest, but you can visit the site, where there are information panels about the history of the fort.
A fort called Inverlochtie was built here in 1654 by the Cromwellian General Monk. It fell into disuse after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, but in 1690 a new fort was built on the old foundations, and named Fort William after the then king, William II.
It was from this fort that the Governor, Colonel John Hill, gave orders for the massacre of the MacDonalds at Glencoe, the MacDonald chief having been too slow to sign the oath of allegiance to the king. The panelling from the Governor's office can now be seen in the West Highland Museum.
The Commando Memorial is 8 miles northeast of Fort William. The original commandos served in World War II, and trained at a nearby castle. The site also has a Garden of Remembrance, containing ashes and memorabilia from those commandos and some more recent ones. It also has a good view of the mountains.
I wouldn't consider it a destination, but it is definitely worth a stop if you are going by. It isn't far off the road, and there is no charge to enter.
The West Highland Musem is a great place to spend an afternoon when the weather is none too kind outside.
The highlight for me is the seemingly abstract painted cylinder, rhwn combined with a mirror shows a likeless of the Jacobite leader Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender to the throne of Scotland and indeed England.
Read more courtesy of: http://www.gotoscotland.nu/factsheets/Bonnie%20Prince%20Charlie%202005.pdf
We were told about this by our B&B owner and were glad we went. This lighthouse is at the western most point of the British mainland and is the only Egyptian style lighthouse built in Scotland. Incidentally, we were told that all the lighthouses in Scotland were built by members of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson's family. This was built in 1849 and is still operational although now automated.
You can go up in the lighthouse, which is a pretty steep climb, in 30 minute intervals. Reserve a time at the ticket booth. There's a small gift store and a snack bar at the ticket booth and an interesting exhibition on your walk to the lighthouse. At the top, there is someone there not so much to do a presentation but to answer any questions.
The drive out there is quite an adventure--about 3 hours from Fort William with much of it on one lane roads where you have to get over when a car is coming from the other direction. And you have to wait on the sheep a few times. It is a worthwhile drive, though, for the incredible scenery. Just concentrate and keep your speed down and you'll be fine.
Neptune's Staircase is the longest of the three staircase flights on the Caledonian Canal, the coast-to-coast Highland waterway.
We spent a lovely afternoon watch the boats go up and down on the eight locks.
There are a few pubs and cafes alongside the canal for your to enjoy the ups and downs of the boats that pass through.
If yo decide that you are not going to climb up Britain's highest mountain, then the next best thing I would suggest is to get along to the Nevis Range Ski Station.
Take the 1 1/2 mile gondola ride up to the 655m high station. At the station you get spectacular views in the summer of Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis.
Reurn Trip Costs%
Child (5-17 yrs) £4.75
Under 5's Free
There is the Snowgoose restaurant and bar at the top of the gondolas, and there are great views from the outside balconys.
The gondola also takes you to the start of the downhill mountain bike track, and we saw some crazy people hurtling down and then getting their bikes on the next gondola and doing it all again.
I just heard that the Skye bridge is now free! An alternative route to Skye is to go to Mallaig and take the ferry. It is a lovely ride and we actually got to see some whales on the trip over. Also, if you are taking the train to Mallaig, this will get you onto Skye quite efficiently.
Car costs about 14 pounds, person about 2.50 pounds