Fort William: Outdoor Capital of the UK

Fort William is officially recognised as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, and the many folk who visit the area soon appreciate why it truly earns this accolade. With its unique location, so convenient for those wanting to make their way to the top of the UK’s highest peak, plus many other attractions and events, it certainly stands apart. Here are some of its many unmissable occasions…

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Held each year in early June, the bikers fight their way down a demanding course, changing swiftly from a tricky and root-strewn single track to wider, and quicker, fast stone trails. Rain, not unknown in the area, adds challenging mud to some steep descents. The course is both the longest downhill course in Europe and is also a real favourite of the riders who take part in the extended World Cup series. This is a truly vibrant event, one that is always well worth a watch if you are in the area. Find out more at

The Ben Nevis Race

Taking place on the first Saturday of September, this hugely popular annual timed ascent and descent was first undertaken way back in 1895 by Fort William barber, William Swann. The race itself stems from 1951, and nowadays a field of 600 fit and hardy souls take on the challenge of this oldest of races. Amazingly, some folk have completed the course 21 times over the years. For this feat, they receive a cherished Connochie Plaque to recognise their amazing efforts. Find out more at

The Scottish Six Days Trial

Early May sees Fort William welcome all those involved in this motorcycle trial event. This is a test of skill, not speed, for the 250+ competitors. They make their way around a marked course; one full of gullies, slippery rocks, streams, rough moorland, public roads and more. The course is set out over 100 miles or so on each of the six days, and always starts and finishes on the Fort William waterfront, watched by enthusiastic crowds. Find out more at

And so much more

There are so many other events that make good use of this unique landscape. These include the Glen Nevis River Race, hurtling down two miles of freezing water perched on an airbed or lilo. This raises funds for the amazing Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team. Then there’s the Braveheart Triathlon, which could well be named after those taking part! The above shows only a small part of the outdoor world that so many visitors (and locals) enjoy in the shadow of the majestic Ben Nevis. Whether to take such strenuous exercise or simply to enjoy the stunning landscape at leisure, Fort William welcomes all with open arms and a warm Highland


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