Fort William is a port town in Scotland's Highlands. By population (around 11,000) it is ranked Scottish Highlands' second-largest - following only Inverness (47,000). It is also a major tourist travel destination featuring popular sites, such as the mountain called Ben Nevis (to the east), Glencoe valley (to the south) and the Glenfinnan viaduct (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 the entrance to River Lochy.
Due to the proximity to Ben Nevis (the UK's highest mountain at 4410 ft / 1344 m) 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/cycleway Fort William-Inverness).
The town's location at the north end of Loch Linnhe allows tourists to visit numerous historically important and scenic locations right on the Ben Nevis mountain-step. Among those are The Jacobite Steam Train (made famous in the Harry Potter movies), traveling to Nevis Range (approx about 2 ml / 3 km northeast of Ben Nevis) and taking the Mountain Gondola (cable car) ride up Aonach Mor (going up to 650m), 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).
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 mi (160 km) and negotiate 30 sections per day for 6 consecutive days.
Annually (in June's first weekend) the town holds the "UCI World Cup Mountain Bike Championships”. Fort William has won numerous awards for being one of the best locations along the entire World Cup route. Since 2016 is annually held the Fort William Convention (aka "Fort Con") - a pop culture-themed festival participated by artists and authors and displaying movies and comics.
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. 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 980 ft (300 m). Port's tidal range is 12 ft (4 m).
- The nearest airport is in Inverness - located approx 70 mi (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
Port Fort William cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Fort William, Scotland. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|30 May, 2022|
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