After our week in Crieff, we drove through beautiful Glen Coe to reach Fort William. It was a cloudy, atmospheric day and looked just stunning as Matt and I bored the children with tales of our West Highland Way adventures two decades ago!
We chose a winding route, stopping off to play on empty lochside beaches and to visit tiny microbreweries to ensure we had a well stocked supply at our next accommodation!
We based ourselves in Fort William for the next few days, in a really comfortable AirBnb house with views of Ben Nevis. It was a short walk from Old Inverlochy Castle and the pretty Lochy river where we could stretch our legs after the drive. It was even possible to spot the Hogwart’s Express steaming past if you timed local walks right!
We spent our first day in Fort William exploring. Our first stop was Neptune’s Staircase where the Caledonian Canal is raised nearly 20m through a crazy number of locks. Sophie and Alex were lucky enough to assist the lock-keepers as they moved boats down the gates.
As the weather brightened up, we headed to the Nevis Range visitor centre to get a good look at the mountains. We’d booked Alex and Sophie into their brilliant treetop adventure and they had a fabulous time exploring all the courses and ziplines.
Then we took the mountain gondola up Aonach Mòr, the 8th highest mountain in Britain where we enjoyed a walk and spent ages watching mountain bikers attempting the UCI Downhill World Cup course wondering if we’d ever be brave (or competent) enough to try it!
The weather forecast the next day was excellent so we set off early in the morning for the biggest adventure of our trip – climbing Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK. We’ve done a lot of walking as a family, but this was certainly the biggest challenge to date.
We were incredibly lucky with the weather – it was just stunning (and by the afternoon was almost too hot given the exertion of the climb!).
I just adore this photo of Sophie and Matt with the incredible views behind them – we could see for miles and miles, right out to the Cuillins on Skye. I felt so very lucky to be there.
After over 3 hours of constant climbing, ascending 1300m, we were finally the highest people in Britain! It felt such an accomplishment to reach the cairn and enjoy a summit picnic!
The only bad part of the day (apart from the toll the descent took on my knees!) was the fact that a huge right wing group chose the same day as us to climb to the summit for a publicity stunt, unfurling a huge, racist banner at the top to pose for photographs – but it was pleasing to see they were booed a lot!
It was a long day, but such a memorable one. We even bumped into some neighbours from our road in London on the way up as we were heading down!
Remarkably, the kids were full of energy the next day – which was lucky as we’d booked them and Matt onto a canyoning trip in Inchree waterfalls with fab company, Vertical Descents. They had an absolute blast sliding, jumping and scrambling down a series of waterfalls together!
Here’s my fearless children leaping off a waterfall!
And posing under a waterfall!
After all that adventure, we had a quieter afternoon, exploring Glen Coe in the sunshine – I could look at that view all day!
We loved our three days in outdoor capital of the UK and know we’ll be back to enjoy more fun – but our next stop awaited…. This time, the Isle of Skye.