What's on Fort William Guide
A couple of miles miles west, at Corpach, you can admire Neptune’s Staircase of locks on the Caledonian Canal. Also in Corpach is the wonderful collection of crystals, gemstones and fossils at Treasures of the Earth.
Meanwhile, no description of Fort William could be complete without reference to Ben Nevis, normally climbed from Glen Nevis, just to the north east of the town. This is the UK’s highest mountain. Though the Ben dominates the town in distant views, especially from across Loch Linnhe or from Corpach, it is invisible from most of Fort William itself due to the intervening ridge separating the town from Glen Nevis. Just a little further north east is the Nevis Range ski centre, with its gondolas taking you high onto Aonach Mor.
Some Fort William History
The original Fort William was built by Cromwell in 1654 and was a wooden structure to shelter English troops sent to sort out the local Camerons
The Fort in Fort William was first built by Cromwell’s forces in 1654 to pacify the local Clans, especially the Camerons. It was first known as the Garrison of Inverlochy and was just a wooden stockade on an earth bank protecting 250 troops. Together with Fort Augustus and Fort George it was the lowest outpost of a chain of Government defences intended to suppress the “savage clans and roving barbarians” as Dr.Johnson later called the locals!
An early skirmish with the Camerons at Achdalieu resulted in an English Officer having his throat bitten out!
About 1690 a substantial Fort was raised with stone walls 20 feet high, a deep dry ditch and a bomb proof magazine. The Fort then became known as Fort William named after William of Orange – and the small village which grew up nearby was Maryburgh, named after his wife.
The reinforcements were well tested in 1746 when the 600 men in the Fort were sieged by the Jacobite Army – and despite several days bombardment from the Cow Hill behind the town, it survived largely intact. As the Highland Clans were pacified and the Jacobite threat diminished the Fort became less important, but was till manned by the regular army until the Crimean War in 1854. Latterly these soldiers were used to suppress the local smuggling trade rather than fight the clans!
The Fort was later sold and dismantled and was used as the Railway Yard for the West Highland Railway when it reached Fort William in 1894.
Part of the Old Fort can still be seen beside the roundabout and in front of West Highland College UHI. A plinth at its centre marks the start of the 73 mile “Great Glen Way” – a walk which follows the line of those early government defences to Inverness.
Fort William remains of strategic importance in the Highlands, no longer as a military stronghold but as a thriving centre of commerce and industry in Lochaber and at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.
Spotlight on Fort William Events
About this Event
MÀNRAN: 10 BY THE BEN will be a two day music festival held over Easter weekend on An Aird shinty pitch in the heart of Fort William, Lochaber.
Mànran host the event with an array of musical friends and guests to celebrate their big 10 year anniversary.
Friday 10th April 2020 will see Keir Gibson open the celebrations, followed by Breabach, Dougie Maclean and finished by Skerryvore.
Saturday 11th April 2020 kicks off with the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band, followed by Flook, Donnie Munro and finished by Mànran.
Day tickets and weekend tickets are available.
14-17 year olds must be accompanied by an adult.
Doors open at 5pm on both days and the event finishes on both nights at 11pm
Come join the party.
The Scottish Six Days Trial itself always runs from Monday to Saturday, starting on the first Monday in May, which is always the May Day Bank Holiday in the UK. If you know the date of the May Bank Holiday then you know when the SSDT is! However there’s loads more to see and do before that. The Trials action kicks off in Lochaber on the Friday before the SSDT with the two-day Pre ’65 trial taking place, based in the small town of Kinlochleven near to Fort William. Then there is the buzz of the SSDT paddock on Sunday with the annual “weigh-in” of the competitor’s bikes before the traditional parade of riders down Fort William High Street in the afternoon. If you want to get away from Trials for a while or you have family with other interests, there are all sorts of other things to do and see in the area!
What is the Scottish Six Days Trial?
The Scottish Six Days Trial is a Motorcycle Trial with a difference! It has the additional test of reliability over long distances with riders completing up to 100 miles each day over six consecutive days. Each day they will take on a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads in the best – and worst – weather the Highlands of Scotland can throw at them! Each daily route is designed by the Clerk of the Course to challenge the ability, experience, strength and stamina of each rider. To ride 100 miles and negotiate 30 sections each day for six consecutive days requires strength, expertise and exceptional reliability from both rider and machine.