From London to Glasgow 2011 #5: Fort William

The train from Glasgow to Fort William takes four hours and winds its way up the west Scottish coast. It is worth every second.

Of course I like trains. Buses and cars make me nauseous sometimes but I can read and eat all I like on trains. There’s space to walk around and stretch your legs and usually someone selling you tea. I find the clicking and clacking soothing.

The tracks don’t stay by the sea the whole time. They idle by the grey bays for a while between ducking between towering mountains into valleys and forests. Herds of deer scamper into the undergrowth as the train thundered by.

The journey is so well know to be beautiful and relaxing that half way through the duration staff of the train line handed out free postcards with pictures of views that you would have seen.

Fort William is a pleasant small town. There is only one hostel, the Fort William Backpackers, is not far from the station up a short hill. It’s cosy and welcoming but not particularly fancy.


I should warn people at this point that the Fort William Backpackers is my favourite hostel where I want to work for a while when I finish my degree so I am a little biased in its favour. So in the interest of fairness, the showers are small with slightly complicated and you have to climb a hill to get to the hostel.  That is all I really have to complain about.

We rambled along by the river and enjoyed the scenery in a casual way. But I would completely recommend taking the hostel’s guided walks up Ben Nevis if you’re ambitious. Unless you’re a seriously experienced hiker you probably shouldn’t tackle it yourself; just to be on the safe side.

The kitchen in the hostel makes it easy to cook and eat there. It’s €18 a night and you don’t ever feel like you paid too much.

Fort William is surrounded by blindingly beautiful hills and valleys, Glen Coe is a spectacular spot for kayaking.


I’m babbling now because I just don’t feel like I can really write a review of this area yet. The two days I spent there weren’t a fraction of the time I’d need to really explore and I didn’t have the money. But maybe this summer I’ll get back there.

Then I will really let you know what there is to see.

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