The small village of Banavie, just four miles north of Fort William, is overlooked by the magnificent Ben Nevis and is home to the impressive Neptune’s Staircase.
This amazing feat of engineering raises the canal by 19m (62ft) over a quarter of a mile of continuous masonry and takes around 90 minutes for a boat to travel up or down the locks. Built by Thomas Telford between 1803 and 1822, it is the longest staircase lock in Britain. An ideal location for enjoy ‘gongoozling’ the boats as they travel up and down the lock flight!
A perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying the country, it also has plenty to offer anyone looking for more adventure. Part of the Great Glen Way route, it has plenty of walking and cycling paths. Hire a bike from Rockhopper Hire Hub and explore the traffic-free towpaths, or take to the sheltered waters of the canal in a canoe or kayak.
If you want to go further afield, the West Highland train line stops in Banavie. It’ll take you anywhere you’d like to go between Fort William and Mallaig. With views of the Great Glen at every turn, it beats any other commute in the country hands down. Starting from Fort William, you could even take a journey on the ‘Hogwarts Express’ – also known as the Jacobite Steam Train. It’s a magical journey whether or not you’re a Harry Potter fan.
Known as ‘the outdoor capital of the UK’, there’s no better place than Fort William for outdoor activities. Whether you want to go walking or climbing, canyoning or canoeing, you’ll find it here. You can even try paragliding if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you prefer to have your feet firmly on the ground – or under it – visit the Treasures of the Earth museum. It’s an underground experience with a difference. Gemstones, crystals and fossils displayed in man-made caves, caverns and mines – you’ll forget you’re still on the surface.