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Fort William
An Gearasdan

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Originally known as Inverlochy, Fort William is the second largest town in the Highlands located at the northern end of Loch Linnhe and at the foot of Ben Nevis. It is also the main town of Lochaber region of the Highlands and marks the starting point of the Road to the Isles, which runs west to Mallaig.

In 1655 General Monk established a fort here, when it was known as Gordonsburgh after the Duke of Gordon who's land it was built on. Renamed Maryburgh after Queen Mary II briefly before being named Fort William after King William in 1690 when the fort was rebuilt. The Gaelic name for the town is An Gearasdan, the garrison. The original fort was demolished in the 19th century to make way for the railway. The Jacobite Steam Train runs along the West Highland Railway to Mallaig.

The town marks the end of the West Highland Way long distance (95 miles/152 km) walk.

Other attractions include the West Highland Museum and Glen Nevis, which lies to the east. Just outside Fort William is the Victoria Bridge that carries the A830 Road to the Isles west over the River Lochy. Near Inverlochy, where the river flows into Loch Linnhe, is Inverlochy Castle - the site of two battles, which took place in 1431 and 1645. The castle, which sits between the A82 and the branch of the railway leading to Mallaig, was built in the thirteenth century for the Comyn family. In 1645 the Marquis of Montrose defeated the Covenanting army of the Earl of Argyll in the Battle of Inverlochy..

From Victoria Bridge the A82 continues northeast, crossing the Allt a'Mhuilinn, the Mill Burn, which supplies water to the Ben Nevis distillery direct from the mountain itself. The distillery was set up in 1825 by John MacDonald who was known as Long John due to his height.

Continuing northeast on the A82 towards Torlundy, there is a sign for Inverlochy Castle. This is in fact a hotel that was built in 1863 and is not to be confused with the old Inverlochy Castle, scene of the battles mentioned above. Continuing northeast on the A82 there is soon a signpost for the Gondolas that run part way up Aonach Mor, the eighth highest mountain in Scotland.

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Scotland from the Roadside 2002-10 - e-mail southernhighlands/glencoe.htm" with any comments!