Magic Scotland
The Lochans are encountered after the road climbs beside Black Mount, the first sign that you are about to cross Rannoch Moor and head towards Glen Coe and onward to Lochaber and Fort William.
Ben Nevis
Above Fort William, Ben Nevis is a mountain where many take the challenging track to the summit with mountaineers tackling the North Face that can be seen from this view.
Loch Linnhe
Fort William is beside Loch Linnhe at the beginning of The Great Glen that runs right through to Inverness

Neptune's Staircase.

The historic Neptune’s Staircase is a series of locks on the Caledonian Canal at Banavie, just north of Loch Linnhe. Constructed by noted Scottish engineer, canal and bridge builder Thomas Telford, the staircase comprises of eight locks and takes boats roughly 90 minutes to travel up the 64 feet to the top. It is the longest staircase lock in the UK.

The Caledonian Canal runs for 60 miles along the Great Glen from Corpach, near Fort William, to Inverness. Neptune’s Staircase is the most impressive single engineering feat on the canal - a ladder of eight locks that raises vessels to a height of 70 feet above sea level. On a clear day this is also one of the best viewpoints for the dark north west side of Ben Nevis. Located on the outskirts of Fort William, signposted off the A830 road to Mallaig.

Walking and Cycling the Caledonian Canal bank.

There is an easy cycle or walk along the Caledonian Canal towpath. If cycling there is a loop around to the start along a quiet B road, and is a nice half day, or couple of hours ride. Start from the car park at the bottom of Neptune's Staircase. Cycle out to the canal and turn left up the locks. Cross over the canal at the top lock and turn left again to cycle past the top basin and pass through a gate across the tow path. You now have a easy ride all the way along the tow path to Gairlochy, a stretch of approximately 7 miles, a stretch of the canal which passes small cottages and with fantastic views up the Great Glen.

Old Inverlochy Castle.

The ruins of this 13th-century castle near fort William is the site of two battles. Now in the care of Historic Scotland, the castle, although ruined, is unusual as it has remained unaltered since the reign of King Alexander III. The moat that surrounded the castle has long gone but the location at the western end of the Great Glen and natural defensive postion against the River Lochy gave Inverlochy castle a superior advantage. The old Military Road built by General Wade passed right by the castle and can still be followed back in to Fort William.

Inverlochy Castle last played a part in Scottish and English history during the Civil Wars of the 1640’s. In 1645 the royalist Earl of Montrose routed the roundhead forces of the Campbell Chief Duke of Argyll at the second Battle of Inverlochy. Read more about the castle at: www.inverlochycastle.co.uk

Sunsets

Sunsets in the North West can be particularly dramatic. Always unpredictable, what looks like a sky that will be nice but unspectacular can quickly develop into an unforgettable experience.

Take a Drive: Follow Loch Linnhe to Oban

Oban is an excellent destination for a day trip and there is a great deal to see on the way there. The busy town of Oban lies by a sheltered bay in the lee of the island of Kerrera, 44 miles south of Fort William. Since Victorian times the town has been one of Scotland's most popular resorts, as well as an important harbour for services to the West Highlands and the Hebrides. One of the most popular boat excursions from Oban takes in the small islands of Staffa and Iona with views en route of the beautiful east coast of Mull. Among the many places to see or visit on the way to Oban are Castle Stalker, The Isle of Lismore, and the Sea Life Centre.

Appin, Lismore and Loch Creran.

Lying on the coast of Appin just north of Loch Creran, Port Appin is a pretty little fishing village on a peaceful secluded peninsula between Oban and Ballachulish. This is undoubtedly one of Argyll’s most picturesque spots overlooking a host of tiny little islands dotted around Loch Linnhe, with Lismore, Morvern and Mull in the background. One of Scotland’s most romantic ruined castles, the much-photographed Castle Stalker, occupies a tiny rock island to the north of the village. A great way to explore the area is cycling and bikes can be hired in Port Appin. And if you want to venture further afield then a small passenger ferry runs from there to the neighbouring island of Lismore and bikes travel for free.

Glen Nevis and Steall Falls.

The spectacular waterfall known as An Steall Bàn, Steall Waterfall or Steall Falls is situated in Glen Nevis near Fort William. It is Scotland's second highest waterfall with a single drop of 120 metres (390 ft). The fall can be viewed from the path that runs through the Nevis Gorge, an area owned by the John Muir Trust which manages the area for its wilderness qualities. An Steall Bàn means "The White Spout" in Gaelic.
Park at the car park at the very end of the road up Glen Nevis, this road changes to a narrow single track for the last 2 miles with steep climbs and sharp corners. Just before the car park there is a tremendous water slide descending from Ben Nevis.

The track from the car park guides you through a natural wood of birch, hazel, oak, willow, and Scot's pine with dramatic views into the gorge. The information board and other signs warn about the rocky and possibly slippy path that is narrow and steep-sided in places and over-hung by cliffs. It then opens out into the meadow and you are greeted by wonderful views of the waterfall.
Close to the waterfall is the notorious wire-bridge across the river. It can be crossed by the brave with great care, using the top two wires for handholds and balancing the feet on the lower wire. Long distance walks continue from this area to Corrour, Kinlochleven and Spean Bridge.

These images are from a mild January and sunny May.

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