It has been known to rain occasionally in Scotland, so bring suitable clothing and footwear as you may experience some rainy days during your stay in Lochaber. But don’t worry, the “Outdoor Capital of the UK” also boasts a range of “indoor” options to keep you occupied should the worst happen.
The West Highland Museum is on the main street in Fort William and provides a good overview of the history of the area and its people. The collection includes materials from the original fort which gave the town its name, stone and bronze age artefacts and of course a range of Jacobite memorabilia.
Treasures of the Earth is “Europe’s finest private collection of crystals, gemstones and fossils” and can be found on the main road in Corpach. Turn right at the roundabout on to the A830 (“The Road to the Isles“) just as you enter Fort William.
The Ice Factor in Kinlochleven boasts the world’s biggest indoor ice climbing wall. That’s 500 tonnes of real snow and ice packed against a 50-feet wall, as well as “some of the UK’s highest, highest, most varied and demanding indoor rock climbing walls”. Follow the A82 through Fort William to Ballachulish and turn left for Kinlochleven.
The Clan Cameron Museum can be found at Achnacarry, home of the Chiefs of Clan Cameron since the 17th Century, and provides a comprehensive review of the story of the Camerons and their lands in Lochaber.
Three Wise Monkeys is a new indoor climbing centre in Fort William, boasting both a roped climbing area and a bouldering wall, with no experience necessary.
Although the views are best when its sunny the Jacobite Steam Train runs from Fort William to Mallaig and back and provides an enjoyable spectacle in any weather.
The Nevis Centre in Fort William is next to the Morrison’s supermarket, on the right as you approach the town centre coming from Roy Bridge. The various activities hosted there include a ten-pin bowling alley and the Spectrum soft play area.
Although strictly speaking an outdoor activity, with the right coat on Old Inverlochy Castle can look moody and atmospheric in the rain, without committing you to too much exposure to the elements. The Castle is 700 years old and was owned by a deadly rival to Robert the Bruce. Take the signposted turn to the right as you arrive in Fort William.
Finally there are two distilleries nearby which offer tours, allowing you to experience the whisky making process for yourself.
Just 20 minutes away the Ben Nevis Distillery is on the left as you arrive in Fort William. One of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland, dating from 1825, the distillery nestles at the foot of Ben Nevis. There is a visitor centre, exhibition and restaurant, with tours running every day in high Summer, but only at weekends in the Winter.
If you travelled up the A9 you will have passed the distinctive Dalwhinnie Distillery as you turned left for the A86. One of the highest distilleries in Scotland, the novel approach here is to pair whisky tasting with handmade Highland chocolates for a sweet end to your tour. The distillery is a 50 minute drive away and is open 7 days a week all year round.