In 2001, I decided to travel to Scotland the following summer. The goal was of course Ben Nevis, the highest mountain on the British isles. I asked my friends Gro and Dag if they wanted to come along, and they also found the scottish highlands interesting. Gro asked if she could invite her friend Else, as I had earned a reputation of being an "anti-social" hiker. I prefer the term "eager beaver", but I let people decide for themselves...
I had this vision of a few group hikes, some individual hikes, but always gathering in the evening, enjoying the Ft. William nightlife. I pictured a few well-deserved Guiness in the local pub, listening to the local band. Some nice dinners in friendly restaurants. And perhaps a clean and nice place to stay, with reasonable rates, with town centre a short walk away. Some good weather also ended up on the wish list.
|AND ALL MY WISHES CAME TRUE. This was probably the best vacation I've ever had, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Colin and Anne Jamieson at the Glenmorven Guest House for their endless hospitality. And last, but not least, their labrador Brooke who took away any longing for my own dog.
|I was told
by a scottish colleague - "Remember, you're living
in someone's home", and I was a little curious about
this concept. From the second Annie showed me the room, I
felt at home. Clean, nice and with a superb view of Loch
Linne (see picture below)
Annie's continental breakfasts were worth getting up for, despite how many Guiness we enjoyed the night before. The breakfasts were crucial to the strenuous hikes, and I still miss them. Perhaps it's true that Norwegians are a little shy when the hospitality is overwhelming, but we soon felt we were a part of their family.
The guide book didn't speak highly of Fort William. But I, and I think I also speak for the others, found that the town met all of our needs. There were plenty of restaurants and pubs. The nightlife ends perhaps a little too early for Norwegians, but I guess the british begin all the more earlier....
We tried a number of restaurants and were charmed by The Stables Restaurant. A very anonymous restaurant near the post office, but their food was excellent and compensated for the young waiters who forgot about little things such as picking up the credit cards. Ask for the chocolate cake from the lunch menu. It's not on the dinner menu, but tastes like heaven. Number 4 Restaurant was also pleasant, and is recommended. Make sure you order in advance. In summer, the restaurants are busy. Besides the restaurants and pubs, you will find souvenir shops, sport shops, bookstores, food stores, etc. I don't think you will miss much.
Not to be forgotten. This is what I came for. I had really no clue about scottish mountains, and perhaps I had the perception of "hills", rather than mountains before I arrived. I must admit I had never associated the British isles with true mountains. I am very happy to admit I was so wrong. The peaks were beautiful. Estehtic as peaks should be. I was able to do 10 Munros on my stay, and I am eager to go back and complete the Mamore range, as well as staying at Glenmorven again. In addition, the valley of Glen Coe is truly beautiful, contains a number of challenging peaks and is only 25-30 minutes away from Ft. William.
I have written some trail descriptions and trip reports for the mountains I hiked, but I would recommend you go to Westcoast Outdoor Leisure and get some guidebooks and maps.
The Munros I did were:
Ben Nevis, 1334m
Aonach Mor, 1221m
Sgurr a' Mhaim, 1099m
See also the Scotland 2003 page