Travelling to Fort William

Many of our treks in Scotland start in Fort William, the Outdoor Capital of the UK. Therefore, we are frequently asked by our customers “What is the best way to get to Fort William?”. Hopefully this blog post will not only be useful to our own customers, but to anyone travelling to Fort William. After all, this small town is the gateway to Ben Nevis, The East Highland Way, The Great Glen Way and The Cape Wrath Trail.

By Car

You can, of course, drive to Fort William. If you are heading up from the south (as many are) there are two main options. Once you are near Glasgow you can either choose to go the A82 route or the A84 route. Both have their own benefits and disadvantages. The A82 will take you along “The Loch Lomond Road”, this is a stunning but very difficult road to drive. As the name suggests, you will drive along the side of Loch Lomond as far as Crianlarich and in theory this is the fastest option. However, due to the twisting, narrow, busy nature of this road, littered with wing mirrors and hub caps, it can be a little stressful at times. An alternative is to head up the M80 and M9 towards Stirling, follow the A84 to Lochearnhead and then re-join the A82 at Crianlarich. This is a less pretty but much easier drive. So a useful alternative for those who are concerned about the Loch Lomond section of the A82. From Crianlarich the two routes combine to head through Tyndrum, Glencoe and finally Fort William.

By Train

There is a train station in Fort William. You can book tickets at www.thetrainline.com. While this can be useful to many, the trains don’t always get to Fort William as frequently as the coach. So it is best to check.

Coach/Bus

Fort William also has a coach station. The Citylink Bus (www.citylink.co.uk) is a great way to travel from Glasgow to Fort William. It is often more frequent then the train, and it is often quicker too! Do be aware you can only book tickets online about 6 weeks in advance, so do not panic if you are unable to book your tickets any earlier.

By Air

If you are planning to fly to Fort William, the most popular option is to fly to Glasgow. From there we would recommend the Citylink Bus as the fastest and most frequent way to continue on to Fort William. However, do seriously consider the often overlooked Inverness Airport too! The Citylink Bus goes very frequently from Inverness to Fort William and it is about 90 minutes quicker. However, you will need to get a taxi (www.inverness-taxis.com) from the airport to the coach station since it is about a 15 minute drive.

Travelling to Fort William from London

Many of our customers are from overseas or from London itself. Therefore, for those travelling to Fort William from London or flying into the UK the simplest and fastest way to get to Fort William would be one of the following:
Fly to Inverness, get a taxi to the coach station and the Citylink Coach to Fort William. You can fly to Inverness from London in 90 minutes, the taxi into the city will take about 15 minutes and the coach will take 2 hours. So you could realistically travel from London to Fort William in around 5 hours. This is much faster (and often cheaper) than the 10 hour drive.
If you would prefer to fly to Glasgow then you can do so in about 1 hour 15. From here you should get the Citylink bus, which takes around 3 and a half hours.

 

Please note, all the information above was correct at the time or writing. However, do make sure you research your options carefully, since this could certainly change in time.

Thistle Trekking Christmas Card

In the run up to Christmas it is now time for us to choose this year’s Thistle Trekking Christmas Card photo.  We have had some fantastic photos to choose from. Including photos taken by our guides over the course of the year. This Robin, taken by Chris in August on The West Highland Way, being one of our favourites:

Robin Sitting on a Branch

 

However, there was distinct lack of snow at the start of the season this year. This meant that the snow capped mountains we would have liked for this years Xmas card started to seem unlikely. Up until last week we had decided to use this very snowy image of Ben Nevis, taken by Ollie last winter:

Ben Nevis in Full Winter Conditions

 

However, last week we were presented with a fantastic opportunity. We were up in Crianlarich, a small village in central Scotland. Many of our customers will recognise this as one of their overnight stays while walking The West Highland Way. Staying at one of our favourite B&Bs in Scotland, Inverardran Guest House, we were intending to spend the week researching some of the local mountains for a future treks we have in mind. However, on our 3rd day of researching the snow came….and it didn’t really stop.

Despite this, we still had good weather the next day and so continued researching the mountains in the snow. However, once the snow covered the roads, we were no longer able to leave Crianlarich. Therefore, we decided we were going to need to change our plans. Deciding to do walk from the B&B, rather than using the van, we did some walking on the West Highland Way path. This gave us many more options for The Thistle Trekking  Christmas Card, including the photos below.

 

Photos Taken along The West Highland Way in Winter:

Footprint in the Snow with autumn leaves.Rannoch Moor Gate in the SnowLarge Pine Trees Covered in Snow

 

West Highland Way Signpost in WinterHills Over Crianlarich In the WinterBen More in the Snow

But of course, I don’t want to ruin the surprise this Christmas. So the imagine we have chosen to use for the Christmas Card will be revealed when we send it out.

 

Researching The Coast to Coast

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been busy researching The Coast to Coast (West). This will be our brand new trek for 2018. Starting in St Bees and ending in Kirkby Stephen, our new holiday will follow Wainwrights Coast to Coast for 6 days, totaling 82 miles. This will be our first trek in England, and will hopefully be followed in 2019 by adding The Coast to Coast (East).

Weather and Daylight:

We experienced some very mixed weather throughout the route, with day 1 being largely in the fog all day! However, day 3 (Rosthwaite to Grasmere) and day 4 (Grasmere to Patterdale) more than made up for it, with glorious sunshine through out. Not only did researching The Coast to Coast in late November gave us a few weather challenges. The general lack of daylight hours made for some interesting night navigation towards the end of the longer days. However, as you can see from the photos, we certainly had excellent viability as well.

Our Highlights:

Overall though we loved the route, with my personal favourite day being day 2 (Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite). This day begun by walking the length of Ennerdale Water. It was followed by excellent views of Pillar and passing the incredibly remote Black Sail Youth Hostel. Therefore, this for me, was the best day of the trail. For Ollie, who joined me in the recce, day 3 proved to be his favourite. Heading over Greenup Edge and down into Grasmere was his highlight of the walk.

Details of our 2018 trek:

Dates for our first guided trek of the The Coast to Coast (West) have been confirmed for 23rd to 30th September 2018 for those who wish to join us. Details are now available on the website, which you can view here: www.thistletrekking.co.uk/treks/coast-to-coast-west/

 

Ennerdale WaterScarlet walking on The Coast to Coast on a beautiful day. Edge of Grisedale Tarn

New Website

Hi All,

We’ve just updated our website to a new version. We hope you like it and would love for any feedback good or bad. Don’t worry if you’ve booked or used our old website all your details and bookings are still the same as before and haven’t changed.

The Thistle Trekking Team