Dominated by Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis and located on the shores of Loch Linnhe Fort William is a centre for walking and climbing but in my opinion the town it self has little to interest the inquisitive visitor other than a great array of shops and supermarkets. The A82 which runs between the shopping area and the Loch does nothing to help, but it does has a car park for motor homes and caravans something many other towns that set out to attract visitors should think seriously about.
|Fort William without the shops and the A82.|
The Caledonian Canal runs from Inverness in the North to Corpach near Fort William in the South (see also Fort Augustus) has 38 miles of natural Lochs and 22 miles of canal cuttings. Built by that clever wee chap Thomas Telford and opened in 1822 its most famous feature is the series of locks at Banavie known as Neptune’s Staircase which allows a change of level of over 20m, it’s the longest staircase lock in Britain consisting of eight locks each 55m wide by 12m and it takes approximately 90 minutes to pass through the system. Unfortunately it was not open on our visit due to the yearly maintenance that takes place at this time of year.
|Neptune's Staircase with its eight locks.|
|Nice to relax with a coffee and a slice of cake.|
There is another set of lock gates further down at Corpach that allows access into Loch Linnhe and eventually the sea. Unusually the Canal still has a commercial use with barges transporting timber from forestry plantations from the west coast up to Inverness. The complete areas of locks and tow path’s, which forms part of the Great Glen Way, are exceptionally well kept and with a grand cup of coffee and a piece of millionaires shortbread to be had in the Moorings Hotel it's well worth the time to explore this area of the great canal.
|View of Fort William from Corpach.|