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Fort William ( gd, An Gearasdan ; "The Garrison", sco, The Fort) is a town in
Lochaber Lochaber ( ; gd, Loch Abar) is a name applied to areas of the Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the ') is a historic region of . Culturally, the Highlands and the diverged from ...
in the
Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) ...

Scottish Highlands
, located on the eastern shore of
Loch Linnhe Loch Linnhe () is a sea loch Loch () is the Irish, Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-Euro ...

Loch Linnhe
. As of the
2011 Census2011 censuses were conducted in the following countries: * Australia: Census in Australia * Austria: Demographics of Austria * Bangladesh: 2011 Bangladesh Census * Bulgaria: Demographics of Bulgaria * Canada: Canada 2011 Census * Croatia: 2011 Censu ...
, Fort William had a population of 10,459, making it the second largest settlement in the
Highland Highlands or uplands are any mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is large ...
council area, and the second largest settlement in the whole of the Scottish Highlands; only the city of
Inverness Inverness (; from the gd, Inbhir Nis , meaning "Mouth of the River Ness The River Ness (Scottish Gaelic: ''Abhainn Nis'') is a river about long, which flows from the northern end of Loch Ness in Scotland, through Loch Dochfour, north-east ...

Inverness
has a larger population. Fort William is a major tourist centre, with
Glen Coe Glen Coe ( gd, Gleann Comhann, ) is a glen of volcanic origins, in the Scottish Highlands, Highlands of Scotland. It lies in the north of the shires of Scotland, county of Argyll, close to the border with the history of local government in Scot ...
just to the south, to the east and
Glenfinnan Glenfinnan ( gd, Gleann Fhionnain ) is a hamlet in Lochaber Lochaber ( ; gd, Loch Abar) is a name applied to areas of the Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the ') is a histor ...

Glenfinnan
to the west, on the
Road to the Isles The A830, also known as the Road to the Isles (though it forms only a part of the historic route) is a major road in Lochaber, Scottish Highlands. It connects the town of Fort William, Scotland, Fort William to the port of Mallaig. The road was ...
. It is a centre for
hillwalking Walking is one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the United Kingdom, and within England and Wales there is a comprehensive network of rights of way Right of way is "the legal right, established by usage or grant, to pass ...
and
climbing Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep topographical object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, and within trades that rely on ascension; such as emergency re ...

climbing
due to its proximity to Ben Nevis and many other
Munro A Munro () is defined as a mountain in Scotland with a height over , and which is on the Scottish Mountaineering Club Established in 1889, the Scottish Mountaineering Club has been at the forefront of climbing and mountaineering in Scotland ...

Munro
mountains. It is also known for its nearby downhill mountain bike track. It is the start/end of both the
West Highland Way The West Highland Way ( gd, Slighe na Gàidhealtachd an Iar) is a linear Long-distance trail, long-distance route in Scotland. It is long, running from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William, Highland, Fort William in the Scottish Highland ...
(
Milngavie Milngavie ( ; gd, Muileann-Ghaidh) is a town in East Dunbartonshire East Dunbartonshire ( sco, Aest Dunbartanshire; gd, Siorrachd Dhùn Bhreatainn an Ear) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the north-west of Glasgow and ...

Milngavie
– Fort William) and the
Great Glen Way The Great Glen Way ( gd, Slighe a' Ghlinne Mhòir) is a long-distance trail, long distance path in Scotland. It follows the Great Glen, running from Fort William, Scotland, Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast, covering . ...
(a walk/cycle way Fort William–
Inverness Inverness (; from the gd, Inbhir Nis , meaning "Mouth of the River Ness The River Ness (Scottish Gaelic: ''Abhainn Nis'') is a river about long, which flows from the northern end of Loch Ness in Scotland, through Loch Dochfour, north-east ...

Inverness
). Around 726 people (7.33% of the population) can speak
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...
.


Origins

The earliest recorded settlement on the site is a
Cromwellian
Cromwellian
wooden fort built in 1654 as a base for British troops to "pacify"
Clan Cameron Clan Cameron is a West Highland Scottish clan A Scottish clan (from Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages indi ...
after the
Wars of the Three Kingdoms The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, sometimes known as the British Civil Wars, were an intertwined series of conflicts that took place between 1639 and 1653 in the kingdoms of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country tha ...
. The post-
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
fort was named Fort William after
William of Orange
William of Orange
, who ordered that it be built to control the Highland clans. The settlement that grew around it was called Maryburgh, after his wife
Mary II of England Mary II (30 April 166228 December 1694) was Queen of England, Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a G ...

Mary II of England
. This settlement was later renamed Gordonsburgh, and then Duncansburgh before being renamed Fort William, this time after
Prince William, Duke of Cumberland Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, (15 April 1721 Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">N.S..html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="/nowiki>Old Style and New Style dates">N.S.">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title= ...
; known to some Scots as "Butcher Cumberland". Given these origins, there have been various suggestions over the years to rename the town (for example, to Invernevis). The origin of the Gaelic name for Fort William, ', is not recorded but could be a
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
from the English ''garrison'', having entered common usage some time after the royal garrison was established, during the reign of William of Orange or perhaps after the earlier Cromwellian fort, or from the ultimately French-derived word "garrison", as at the earlier garrison at Inverlochy by the Scoto-Norman Clan Comyn.


History

Historically, the Fort William area of
Lochaber Lochaber ( ; gd, Loch Abar) is a name applied to areas of the Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the ') is a historic region of . Culturally, the Highlands and the diverged from ...
was
Clan Cameron Clan Cameron is a West Highland Scottish clan A Scottish clan (from Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages indi ...
country, and there were a number of mainly Cameron settlements in the area (such as
Blarmacfoldach Image:Blarmacfoldach.jpg, Blarmachfoldach seen from Mullach nan Coirean Blarmachfoldach (or Blàr Mac Faoilteach; Blàrmacfaoltach) is a small crofting settlement in Lochaber, in the Highland council area of Scotland. It is located in the Mamores, M ...

Blarmacfoldach
). Before the building of the fort, Inverlochy was the main local settlement and was also the site of two battles—the first Battle of Inverlochy in 1431 and the second Battle of Inverlochy in 1645. The town grew in size as a settlement when the fort was constructed to control the population after
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
's invasion during the
Wars of the Three Kingdoms The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, sometimes known as the British Civil Wars, were an intertwined series of conflicts that took place between 1639 and 1653 in the kingdoms of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country tha ...
, and then to suppress the
Jacobite risings Jacobitism (; gd, Seumasachas, ; ga, Seacaibíteachas, ) was a largely 17th- and 18th-century movement that supported the restoration of the senior line of the House of Stuart The House of Stuart, originally Stewart, was a royal hous ...
after the 1688 overthrow of the House of Stuart. During the 1745 Jacobite Rising, known as the Forty-Five, Fort William was besieged for two weeks by the Jacobite Army, from 20 March to 3 April 1746. However, although the Jacobites had captured both of the other forts in the chain of three
Great Glen The Great Glen ( gd, An Gleann Mòr ), also known as Glen Albyn (from the Gaelic "Glen of Scotland" ) or Glen More (from the Gaelic ), is a glen A glen is a valley, typically one that is long and bounded by gently sloped concave sides, unl ...
fortifications (
Fort Augustus Fort Augustus is a settlement in the parish of Boleskine and Abertarff, at the south-west end of Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands. The village has a population of around 646 (2001). Its economy is heavily reliant on tourism. History The Scotti ...

Fort Augustus
and the original Fort George), they failed to take Fort William. In 1934, the
Laggan Dam Laggan Dam is a dam located on the River Spean south west of Loch Laggan in the Scottish Highlands. History The structure was built as part of the Lochaber hydroelectric scheme by Balfour Beatty for the British Aluminium Company and construction ...

Laggan Dam
on the
River Spean The River Spean flows from Loch Laggan in a westerly direction to join the River Lochy at Gairlochy in the Great Glen in the Scottish Highlands, West Highlands of Scotland. Major tributaries of the Spean include the left-bank Abhainn Ghuilbinn and ...
was completed as part of the
Lochaber hydroelectric schemeThe Lochaber hydroelectric scheme is a hydroelectric power generation project constructed in the Lochaber area of the western Scottish Highlands after the World War I, First World War. Like its predecessor at Kinlochleven, it was intended to provide ...
by
Balfour Beatty Balfour Beatty plc () is a British multinational infrastructure group based in the United Kingdom with capabilities in construction services, support services and infrastructure investments. A constituent of the FTSE 250 Index, Balfour Beatty work ...

Balfour Beatty
for the
British Aluminium CompanyImage:LagganDam1.jpg, 250px, The Laggan Dam was constructed in 1934 to provide hydro-electric power for refining aluminium British Aluminium was an aluminium production company. It was originally formed as the British Aluminium Company Ltd on 7 May ...
. The supervising engineers were the firm of C S Meik and William Halcrow, now known as the
Halcrow Group Halcrow Group Limited was a multinational engineering consultancy company, based in the United Kingdom Halcrow was one of the UK's largest consultancies, with origins stretching back to 1868. The UK-based consultancy specialised in the provision ...
. The dam was built to power the aluminum smelter here. During the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, Fort William was the home of , which was a training base for Royal Navy
Coastal Forces Coastal Forces was a division of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by ...
. More on the history of the town and the region can be found in the
West Highland Museum
West Highland Museum
on the High Street. On 2 June 2006, a fire destroyed McTavish's Restaurant in Fort William High Street along with the two shops which were part of the building. The restaurant had been open since the 1970s and prior to that the building had been Fraser's Cafe since the 1920s. Development work began in 2012 on new hotel accommodation and street-level shops, and these opened in 2014. In November 2016, Sanjeev Gupta's
Liberty House Group Liberty Steel Group Holdings UK Ltd (LHG), which is also referred to as Liberty House or Liberty House UK, is a British industrial and metals company founded in the United Kingdom in 1992 by industrialist Sanjeev Gupta. It is headquartered in L ...
purchased the aluminum smelter lock stock and barrel from the
Rio Tinto Group Rio Tinto Group is an Anglo-Australian multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multination ...
. On 3 April 2021, it came to light during Gupta's financial troubles involving
Greensill Capital Greensill Capital was a financial services company based in the United Kingdom and Australia. It focused on the provision of supply chain finance, supply chain financing and related services. The company was founded in 2011 by Lex Greensill. It f ...
that the Jahama Highland Estates (formerly the "
Alcan Alcan was a Canadian mining company and aluminum Aluminium (aluminum in American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The Unite ...

Alcan
Estate") had been purchased in 2016 as part of the
Rio Tinto Mines Rio Tinto Group is an Anglo-Australian Multinational corporation, multinational and the world's second largest metals and mining corporation, behind BHP, producing iron ore, copper, diamonds, gold and uranium. The company was founded in 1873, wh ...
deal for the Lochaber aluminium plant, because the furnace requires so much power that the smelter is located near a hydroelectric plant, which drains the basin of the Estate. The Estate includes the north face of
Ben Nevis Ben Nevis ( gd, Beinn Nibheis, ; ) is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph ...

Ben Nevis
. According to reports, the
Scottish National Party The Scottish National Party (SNP; sco, Scots National Pairty, gd, Pàrtaidh Nàiseanta na h-Alba ) is a Scottish nationalist Scottish nationalism promotes the idea that the Scottish people form a cohesive nation and Scottish national iden ...
mandated that the Estate never be split from the hydro plant and aluminium smelter but Gupta ignored them and placed ownership of the Estate in a company that is domiciled on the
Isle of Man ) , anthem = "O Land of Our Birth The "National Anthem of the Isle of Man" ( gv, Arrane Ashoonagh Vannin) was written and composed by William Henry Gill (1839–1923), with the Manx translation by John J. Kneen (1873–1939). It is often r ...

Isle of Man
. The 2016 deal was worth £330 million and was guaranteed by the UK
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and the chief executive officer of HM Treasury, Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Grea ...
. Conservative finance spokesperson Murdo Fraser was critical about the alleged breach of the SNP agreement and urged the SNP to "take whatever steps are necessary to protect public funds".


Future development

A "Waterfront" development was proposed by the council, but there was no overwhelming support for this in the town. The development would have included a hotel, some shops and some housing, but it was stated early in 2008 that it was unlikely to be completed before 2020. It was announced in April 2010 that the project had been abandoned.


Geography

Originally based on the still-extant village of Inverlochy, the town lies at the southern end of the
Great Glen The Great Glen ( gd, An Gleann Mòr ), also known as Glen Albyn (from the Gaelic "Glen of Scotland" ) or Glen More (from the Gaelic ), is a glen A glen is a valley, typically one that is long and bounded by gently sloped concave sides, unl ...
, Fort William lies near the head of
Loch Linnhe Loch Linnhe () is a sea loch Loch () is the Irish, Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-Euro ...

Loch Linnhe
, one of Scotland's longest
sea loch Loch () is the Irish, Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European l ...
s, beside the mouth of the rivers
Nevis Nevis is a small island in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an Americas, American Mediterranean s ...
and Lochy. They join in the intertidal zone and briefly become one river before discharging to the sea. The town and its suburbs are surrounded by picturesque mountains. It is also on the shore of
Loch EilImage:Loch Eil.jpg, Looking south east along the shoreline from the western head of Loch Eil. Loch Eil (Scottish Gaelic, ''Loch Iall'') is a loch, sea loch in Lochaber, Scotland that opens into Loch Linnhe near the town of Fort William, Highland, Fo ...

Loch Eil
. It is close to
Ben Nevis Ben Nevis ( gd, Beinn Nibheis, ; ) is the highest mountain in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph ...

Ben Nevis
, the highest mountain in the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
,
Glen Nevis Image:UK-Scotland-Glen Nevis-Steall Waterfall-2006.jpg, The Steall Falls from below Glen Nevis ( gd, Gleann Nibheis) is a glen in Lochaber, Highland (council area), Highland, Scotland, with Fort William, Highland, Fort William at its foot. It is bo ...

Glen Nevis
and the town of Achnaphubuil, is on the opposite shore of the loch. When the railway opened to Fort William on 7 August 1894, the station was given prime position at the south end of the town. The consequence was that the town was separated from the lochside by railway tracks until the 1970s, when the present by-pass was built, and the station was re-located to the north end. The town is centred on the High Street, which was pedestrianised in the 1990s. Off this, there are several squares: Monzie Square (named after the Cameron Campbells of Monzie,
Perthshire Perthshire (; gd, Siorrachd Pheairt), officially the County of Perth, is a historic county and registration county A registration county was, in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwes ...
, former landowners in the town); Station Square, where the long-since demolished railway station used to be; Gordon Square (named after the Gordons, who in the late 18th century owned land where the town now stands, when the town was named Gordonsburgh); and Cameron Square—formerly known as Town Hall Square. There is also Fraser Square, which is not so square-like, since it now opens out into Middle Street, but which still houses the Imperial Hotel. The main residential areas of the town are unseen from the High Street and from the A82 main road. Upper Achintore and the Plantation spread steeply uphill from above the high street. Inverlochy, Claggan, An-Aird, Lochyside,
Caol Caol (Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the ...

Caol
,
Banavie Banavie (; gd, Banbhaidh or ) is a small settlement near Fort WilliamFort William may refer to: Places * Fort William, Ghana, a fort in Anomabu, Central Region, built in the 18th century * Fort William Lighthouse, in Cape Coast, Central Regi ...
and
Corpach Corpach ( gd, A' Chorpaich) is a large village north of Fort William, Scotland, Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands. The Lock (water transport), canal lock at Corpach Basin on Loch Linnhe, east of the narrows leading to Loch Eil, is the wester ...
outwith (i.e. outside) the town are the other main residential areas. These areas are built on much flatter land than the town. Fort William is the northern end of the
West Highland Way The West Highland Way ( gd, Slighe na Gàidhealtachd an Iar) is a linear Long-distance trail, long-distance route in Scotland. It is long, running from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William, Highland, Fort William in the Scottish Highland ...
, a long-distance route which runs through the Scottish Highlands to
Milngavie Milngavie ( ; gd, Muileann-Ghaidh) is a town in East Dunbartonshire East Dunbartonshire ( sco, Aest Dunbartanshire; gd, Siorrachd Dhùn Bhreatainn an Ear) is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the north-west of Glasgow and ...

Milngavie
, on the outskirts of
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesga; gd, Glaschu) is the most populous city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia'' ...

Glasgow
, and the start/end point of the
Great Glen Way The Great Glen Way ( gd, Slighe a' Ghlinne Mhòir) is a long-distance trail, long distance path in Scotland. It follows the Great Glen, running from Fort William, Scotland, Fort William in the southwest to Inverness in the northeast, covering . ...
, which runs between Fort William and Inverness.
Glenfinnan Glenfinnan ( gd, Gleann Fhionnain ) is a hamlet in Lochaber Lochaber ( ; gd, Loch Abar) is a name applied to areas of the Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the ') is a histor ...

Glenfinnan
, away, is home of the Glenfinnan Monument (Jacobite era) and the famous
Glenfinnan Viaduct The Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct A viaduct is a specific type of bridge that consists of a series of arches, pier (architecture), piers or columns supporting a long elevated railway or road. Typically a viaduct connects two points ...

Glenfinnan Viaduct
(as seen on a Bank Of Scotland £10 note). The viaduct has become known to millions in recent years as the "Harry Potter Bridge" after it featured in the films of the books by J.K. Rowling, specifically ''
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ''Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets'' is a fantasy novel Fantasy literature is literature set in an imaginary universe Imaginary may refer to: * Imaginary (sociology) The imaginary (or social imaginary) is the set of Value (ethics ...
''. Glenfinnan has also been used in '' Charlotte Gray'' and '' Highlander''. Just outside the town is a large
aluminium Aluminium (aluminum in and ) is a with the  Al and  13. Aluminium has a density lower than those of other common , at approximately one third that of . It has a great affinity towards , and of on the surface when exposed to air ...

aluminium
plant once operated by
Alcan Alcan was a Canadian mining company and aluminum Aluminium (aluminum in American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The Unite ...

Alcan
and powered by the
Lochaber hydroelectric schemeThe Lochaber hydroelectric scheme is a hydroelectric power generation project constructed in the Lochaber area of the western Scottish Highlands after the World War I, First World War. Like its predecessor at Kinlochleven, it was intended to provide ...
, in its day the biggest tunnelling project in the world. This was formerly served by the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway better known locally as the Puggy Line.


Transport

The
West Highland Line The West Highland Line ( gd, Rathad Iarainn nan Eilean - "Iron Road to the Isles") is a railway line linking the ports of Mallaig and Oban in the Scottish Highlands to Glasgow in Central Scotland. The line was voted the top rail journey in the ...
passes through Fort William. Owing to the difficult terrain in the area, the line from
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesga; gd, Glaschu) is the most populous city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia'' ...

Glasgow
, to the south, enters from the northeast. Trains from Glasgow to
Mallaig Mallaig (; gd, Malaig derived from Old Norse , meaning sand dune bay) is a seaport, port in Lochaber, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, Highlands of Scotland. The local railway station, Mallaig railway station, Mallaig, is the ter ...

Mallaig
, the terminus of the line, have to reverse at
Fort William railway station Fort William railway station is a railway station serving the town of Fort William, Scotland, Fort William in the Highland (unitary authority area), Highland region of Scotland. History The first station was constructed by the West Highland Ra ...
. An overnight train, the
Caledonian sleeper ''Caledonian Sleeper'' is the collective name for overnight Sleeping car, sleeper train services between London and Scotland, in the United Kingdom. It is one of only two currently operating sleeper services on the railway in the United Kingdo ...

Caledonian sleeper
, has its terminus at Fort William. This service is known colloquially as 'The Deerstalker'. The stands for local buses and express coaches are on MacFarlane Way adjacent to the railway station. The
Caledonian Canal The Caledonian Canal connects the Scotland, Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William, Scotland, Fort William in Scotland. The canal was constructed in the early nineteenth century by Scottish engineer Tho ...
connects the Scottish east coast at
Inverness Inverness (; from the gd, Inbhir Nis , meaning "Mouth of the River Ness The River Ness (Scottish Gaelic: ''Abhainn Nis'') is a river about long, which flows from the northern end of Loch Ness in Scotland, through Loch Dochfour, north-east ...

Inverness
with the west coast at
Corpach Corpach ( gd, A' Chorpaich) is a large village north of Fort William, Scotland, Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands. The Lock (water transport), canal lock at Corpach Basin on Loch Linnhe, east of the narrows leading to Loch Eil, is the wester ...
near Fort William. The Corran Ferry crosses
Loch Linnhe Loch Linnhe () is a sea loch Loch () is the Irish, Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-Euro ...

Loch Linnhe
, connecting the A82 to A861. Fort William is located on the A82. The closest motorway access is at junction 12 of the M90 near
Perth Perth () is the list of Australian capital cities, capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is Australia's list of cities in Australia by population, fourth-most populous city, with a population of 2.1 mi ...

Perth
, southeast.


Sports


Climbing

Fort William and the surrounding area is a year-round destination for climbers from all over the world. The draw of nearby Ben Nevis is irresistible to anyone, from first time climbers to professional winter climbers. When the weather halts any attempt for outdoor climbing, Three Wise Monkeys Climbing, the climbing wall in the centre of town, offers sanctuary for anyone of any age or experience.


Mountain biking

Just outside the town, parallel to the Nevis Range
Gondola The gondola (, ; vec, góndoła ) is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing Rowing is the act of propelling a boat using the motion of oar An oar is an implement used for water-borne propulsion. Oars have a flat blade at one en ...
, there is a large downhill mountain bike track which attracts thousands of visitors every year, including international competitors and fans. Each year since 2002, Fort William has hosted a round of
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is a multi-round mountain bike racing series that is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale. The first World Cup series – which was composed of cross-country cycling, cross-country events – was held in ...
, and in 2007 it hosted the
UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships are the world championship events for mountain bike racing in the disciplines of cross-country cycling, cross country, Downhill cycling, downhill, and four-cross. They are organized by the Union Cycliste ...
('The Worlds'). Also a
trials In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
competition is held, at the various courses at the bottom. Fort William has also hosted the World Endurance Mountain Bike Organisation (WEMBO) solo 24 hour championship, in 2014 and again in 2018. The event consists of riders racing for a full 24 hours and is won by the rider completing the greater number of laps.


Motorcycle trials

Fort William is the home of the Scottish Six Day Motorcycle
Trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
(SSDT), held annually in the first full week of May. It attracts many competitors from all across the globe and in 2011 the event celebrated its centenary year.


Others

Fort William has two major
shinty Shinty ( gd, camanachd, iomain) is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands The Highlands ( sco, the Hielands; gd, a’ Ghàidhealtachd , 'the place of the Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga ...
teams,
Fort William Shinty Club Fort William Shinty Club is a shinty club from Fort William, Highland, Fort William, Lochaber, Scotland. The club has two sides in the Shinty league system, a first team which was relegated from the Premier Division (shinty), Premiership in 2013 ...
and
Kilmallie Shinty Club Kilmallie Shinty Club is a shinty team from Caol, Fort William, Highland, Fort William, Scotland. The club most recently achieved prominence in the all-Fort William Camanachd Cup Final in 2005. History The club was founded in 1929 and is named ...
. It also has a football team,
Fort William F.C. Fort William Football Club is a senior football Football is a family of team sport A team is a Fort WilliamFort William may refer to: Places * Fort William, Ghana, a fort in Anomabu, Central Region, built in the 18th century * Fo ...
, that competes in the Scottish Highland Football League and plays home games at
Claggan Park Claggan Park is a association football, football ground in Fort William, Scotland, Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, West Highlands of Scotland, which is the home ground of Highland Football League side Fort William F.C., Fort William. It i ...
. There is also a cricket club at Fort William that participates in the North of Scotland Cricket Association league (NoSCA). In addition, the town is home to Lochaber Rugby Club and to the Lochaber Yacht Club, a
Community Amateur Sports Club The Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) scheme was introduced in 2002 by the then Second Blair ministry, Labour government to support grass roots sport. The original legislation was drafted by Andrew Phillips, Baron Phillips of Sudbury, Andrew Ph ...
that was founded in 1954. The town also has one golf club, called Fort William Golf Club, which has eighteen holes and is open year-round. It also hosts weekly competitions.


As a film location

Movies filmed in or near Fort William include '' Being Human'', ''
Braveheart ''Braveheart'' is a 1995 American epic Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may als ...

Braveheart
'', '' Highlander'', ''
Restless Natives ''Restless Natives'' is a 1985 Cinema of Scotland, Scottish cinema adventure comedy, directed by Michael Hoffman (American director), Michael Hoffman. Plot The story follows the adventures of two Scottish youths from the Wester Hailes district ...
'', ''
Harry Potter ''Harry Potter'' is a series of seven fantasy literature, fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young Magician (fantasy), wizard, Harry Potter (character), Harry Potter, and his friends H ...
'' and '' Rob Roy''. The TV series '' Rockface'' was filmed mainly around Fort William and some scenes of '' Monarch of the Glen'' were filmed around Lochaber, although mostly near
Newtonmore Newtonmore ( gd, Baile Ùr an t-Sléibh ) is a village in the Highland (council area), Highland council area of Scotland. The village is only a few miles from a location that is claimed to be the exact geographical centre of Scotland. Activitie ...
. '' Local Hero'' shot the internal Houston scenes in Fort William.


Festivals

In a celebration of mountains and the culture that surrounds them, and in recognition of the importance of climbing and walking tourism to the town, the Fort William Mountain Festival is held there each year. For a number of years, this volunteer-led festival has concentrated mostly around film but, starting in the Year of Highland Culture – Highland 2007, its scope was widened, and it dropped the word 'film' from its title.Fort William Mountain Festival. Retrieved from http://www.mountainfilmfestival.co.uk/ .


Education

Lochaber High School is the local high school and serves a large catchment area which includes the surrounding villages. West Highland College is part of the University of the Highlands & Islands. It hosts the School of Adventure Studies (SOAS) offering both FE courses & HE honours degrees.


Notable people

* Hugh Cochrane – recipient of the
Victoria Cross The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom The United ...

Victoria Cross
*
Charles Kennedy Charles Peter Kennedy (25 November 1959 – 1 June 2015) was a British Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrat politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 1999 to 2006 Liberal Democrats ...

Charles Kennedy
– Former leader of the Liberal Democrat party and former Liberal Democrat
Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
(MP) for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. Although born in
Inverness Inverness (; from the gd, Inbhir Nis , meaning "Mouth of the River Ness The River Ness (Scottish Gaelic: ''Abhainn Nis'') is a river about long, which flows from the northern end of Loch Ness in Scotland, through Loch Dochfour, north-east ...

Inverness
, was brought up and educated in Fort William. *
Danny Alexander Sir Daniel Grian Alexander (born 15 May 1972) is a British banker who is vice president and corporate secretary at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
– The former
Chief Secretary to the Treasury The chief secretary to the Treasury (CST) is the third most senior ministerial office in HM Treasury Her Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the department of the Gover ...
and Liberal Democrat MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey. Brought up in
Invergarry Invergarry ( gd, Inbhir Garadh) is a village in the Scottish Highlands, Highlands of Scotland. It is in the Great Glen, near where the River Garry, Inverness-shire, River Garry flows into Loch Oich. Geography Near the centre of the village is the ...
, a small village near Fort William. * Justin Ryan – interior decorator and television presenter, although born in
Glasgow Glasgow ( ; sco, Glesga; gd, Glaschu) is the most populous city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia'' ...

Glasgow
, was brought up in Fort William. *
Allan MacDonald
Allan MacDonald
Roman Catholic priest The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church, comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the Bishop in the Catholic Church, bishops and the Deacon in the Catholic Church, deacons. Church doctrin ...
, folklore collector, pastor in
South Uist South Uist ( gd, Uibhist a Deas, ; sco, Sooth Uist) is the second-largest island of the Outer Hebrides The Outer Hebrides () or Western Isles ( gd, Na h-Eileanan Siar or ; sco, Waster Isles), sometimes known as ("islands of the strange ...

South Uist
and Eriskay, and major figure in modern Scottish Gaelic literature, was born and brought up in Fort William. *John Augustus Wood, John Wood, recipient of the Victoria Cross *Barry Hutchison – author *John McGinlay – former Scotland national football team internationalist *Duncan Shearer – former Scotland national football team internationalist


Climate

Fort William has an oceanic climate (''Köppen climate classification, Cfb'') with moderate, but generally cool, temperatures and abundant precipitation. Fort William is one of the wettest locations in the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
with December being the wettest month.


Notes


References

*


External links


Map of Ft William and area, dated 1710
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Fort William Fort William, Highland, Towns in Highland (council area) Populated places in Lochaber Forts in Scotland