I had heard of Fort William in Scotland before this trip. Any of us who watched the “Outlander” series heard of Fort William, but that was it for me. I had only heard of it. Fort William was the last stop on our Norway to Scotland cruise. It is located in Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands between Glenfinnan and Glencoe.
We woke up anchored near Fort William and had to take a tender to visit the city and surrounding area.
We spent most of the day traveling in the Glen Coe area. The views were awesome.
A glen is a “U” or “V” shaped valley. If it is flooded then it is called a fjord. The valley was shaped by glaciers during the Ice Age. Glen Coe is the Coe River Valley.
Looming over Fort William is Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. It’s name is Gaelic, and Ben is mountain while Nevis could mean malicious or venomous. There is another translation, though. Nevis could also mean “in the clouds” or heaven. Its summit is a collapsed dome of an ancient volcano.
In the shadow of Ben Nevis is Neptune’s Staircase,
a series of eight staircase locks that lifts ships over 60 feet, the longest staircase lock in the British Isles.
It is part of the Caledonian Canal which connects east and west Scotland, a cross Scotland barge canal.
The canal was completed by 1822, and Neptune’s Staircase by the same year.
Also, there is something here for Harry Potter fans. Fort William is home to Hagrid’s Hut in The Harry Potter movies;
and one can see where they filmed the train scenes, especially when the Hogwart’s Express crosses the great aqueduct.
All of this is near Fort William. You can even ride the same steam train which was used in the movies. We saw the aqueduct but didn’t ride the train.
The aqueduct is very near Glenfinnan where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied the Jacobites. We visited a memorial to the highlanders who fought for Scotland’s independence. The memorial monument sits near where the steam train crosses the great aqueduct.
Next we went on to Glen Coe, and this is when we wished we had time to hike.
This is an outdoorsman’s dream. There were beautiful mountain trails, forest trails, and seaside trails.
It was May when we visited with the rhododendrons in full bloom, but here they are considered an invasive.
In one location forest crews were removing and burning them.
Speaking of forests, this is an area where commercial forests exist.
In the Glencoe Visitor’s Center I loved the mobile in the cafeteria. I’m a pine tree farmer so it was special for me.
We drove out to the Glen Coe Valley on A82.
The Munros that surround the valley were formed by volcanic activity but shaped by glaciers. A Munro is a peak over 3,000 feet. Ben Nevis is a Munro.
The scenic drive through the valley included summits, waterfalls, and lochs. A loch is a lake whether fresh, salt, or brackish.
The following day we cruised to Glasgow and returned to the states.
As you probably noticed, we did not visit the fort in Fort William. It is because it no longer exists. It was destroyed long ago.