By Kingfisher Visitor Guides
Sport and outdoor activities made extra special in Fort William and Lochaber due to the phenomenal surrounding landscape. There are far too many wonderful walks to list here, with routes ranging from a gentle stroll to the most challenging terrain.
Those with a decent level of fitness might want to try the Lost Valley in Glencoe, where cattle rustlers used to hide their cattle. The route can be challenging, so approach with caution. Another beautiful walk is through Nevis Gorge up to The Steall Falls, where you can try your hand at crossing the Water of Nevis on a rope bridge.
Those who prefer flatter terrain can stroll around the peaceful Glencoe Lochan. Within the same region is the stunning Glen Etive – where you’ll also find the famous James Bond’s Skyfall film location. Follow the meandering road along the River Etive, a challenging white-water kayaking route that includes grade 4 rapids with a range of waterfalls and pools. In the summer months, there are some fantastic spots for swimming, too. Be warned – even on the warmest days, the water can be icy cold!
Of course, with the towering Ben Nevis overlooking the town of Fort William, many people want to tackle Britain’s highest mountain. There’s a decent tourist path, but you need to be reasonably fit and carrying the right equipment and clothing as it can be a warm, sunny day at the foot of the mountain and a whiteout blizzard at the top. On a clear day, though, the views are astonishing at 1345 metres, and not everyone can boast they’ve stood on the top of Britain’s highest point!
Follow the meandering road along the River Etive, a challenging white-water kayaking route that includes grade 4 rapids with a range of waterfalls and pools
Experienced climbers will be more interested in the 2,000 ft-high cliffs of the North Face, which hold climbs and scrambles of all difficulty, and are excellent for ice climbing. Keen skier or boarder? Pick from Nevis Range or Glencoe Mountain Resort for some excellent snowsports over the winter months. Both centres also offer up plenty more sporting opportunities, with a variety of hiking and mountain bike trails.
If you’re visiting in June, you won’t want to miss the two-day UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Nevis Range, featuring some of the best downhill mountain bikers in the world. The Caledonian Canal is another great spot for getting active. Winding from Fort William to Inverness, there’s plenty to do both on land and water. Take a cycle, jog or wander along its scenic banks or take to the water and try rowing, boating or kayaking.
It’s also possible to enjoy a round of golf in the area, with a few choices on offer, including Fort William Golf Club, an 18-hole course with incredible views. Or you could try the 18-tee, nine-hole Dragon’s Tooth Golf Course at Ballachulish, located on an undulating, tree-lined estate close to Glencoe.
A wee tip for those who prefer watching to taking part: if you’re around in the summer season, it’s worth catching a game of shinty, a fast, physical team sport predominately played in the Highlands. You could also catch the Scottish Six Day Trials motorcycle race, which starts on the first Monday in May and is an exhilarating watch for spectators. Riders take on a combination of rough moorland, rocky tracks and public roads to challenge the ability, experience, strength and stamina of each rider.
Read more about Fort William and Lochaber