Fort William is a port town in Scotland's Highlands. It has population around 11,000, ranking it Scottish Highlands' 2nd largest town - following only Inverness (47,000). It is also a major tourist travel destination featuring popular sites, such as Aonach Mor mountain (to the east), Glencoe valley (to the south) and the Glenfinnan hamlet (to the west).
Fort William is Lochaber's largest town. Its Gaelic name is "An Gearasdan" ("The Garrison"). The town was named after King William III of England (1650-1702, aka William of Orange) around 1690. The Old Fort was a replacement for a castle built to guard River Lochy's entrance.
Due to the proximity to Ben Nevis (UK's highest mountain at 1344 m / 4410 ft) and other Munro mountains, Fort William is a centre for hillwalking and climbing. It is also famous for its nearby downhill mountain bike track. It's the start/end of both West Highland Way (Milngavie-Fort William) and Great Glen Way (walk/cycle way Fort William-Inverness).
- In a celebration of mountains and the unique culture surrounding them, as well as in recognition of the huge importance of walking and climbing tourism to Fort William, the Fort William Mountain Festival is organized there annually.
- Each year (in May's first week) in Fort William are celebrated the Scottish Six Day Trials. The event requires participants to ride 100 ml (160 km) and negotiate 30 sections per day for 6 consecutive days.
- Each year (in June's first weekend) the town holds the "UCI World Cup Mountain Bike Championships. The event's Fort William round has won numerous awards for being one of the best locations along the entire World Cup route.
- Fort William Convention (aka "Fort Con") is an annual event - a celebration of pop culture including artists, authors, films and comics. The first event (held in 2016) was attended by over 1300 people.
- Town's location at Loch Linnhe allows visiting numerous historically important and scenic locations right on Ben Nevis mountain-step. Among those are The Jacobite Steam Train (shown in the Harry Potter movies), travelling to the Aonach Mor mountain (approx about 2 ml / 3 km northeast of Ben Nevis), taking the Mountain Gondola (cable car) ride at Aonach Mor (going up to 650 m), mountain climbing and whisky tasting (Dew of Ben Nevis).
- Downtown Fort William houses a variety of bars, restaurants, shops, Lochaber Geopark Visitor Centre (rock and mineral specimens, information on landsdcape and geology), geology) and the worldwide famous West Highland Museum (Jacobite memorabilia).
Fort William cruise terminal
The Highland Council Marine Superintendent should be contacted by all visiting cruise vessels to confirm any tidal restrictions on proposed anchoring dates. Cruise vessels anchor opposite the pontoons in the sheltered harbour, from where their passengers are tendered ashore. A pilotage service is advised for safe passage through Corran Narrows and is available by prior arrangement with Ships Agent.
- The distance to Pontoons Landing Stage is approx 300 m (980 ft). Port's tidal range is 4 m.
- The nearest airport is in Inverness - located around 70 ml (110 km) drive from Fort William.
Fort William tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Ben Nevis mountain and Glen Nevis
- Ben Nevis Distillery
- Nevis Range Mountain Gondola
- Glencoe village
- Harry Potter Steam Train
- Commando Memorial
- Caledonian Canal and Neptune’s Staircase
- Loch Ness