Better Know Our Route: Fort William in Better Know Our Route. Wayfarers: Quest for the Cure
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Better Know Our Route: Fort William

   Posted by: admin   in Better Know Our Route

With a population of just under 10,000, I found it very difficult to find cities of roughly the same size to compare Scotland’s Fort William to in Canada and the United States.  There are plenty – probably hundreds of communities with between five and ten thousand residents.  But we’ve never heard of them.

Fort William is a port town on Loch Linnhe, a sea loch that lead to its use as the base for warships in the second world war.  The town grew originally around an English garrison put there for population control after the English civil war, its strength based both on its accessibility by sea and its location at the southern point of what is now known as the Great Glen, a walking trail that was essentially the only major route used by highlanders coming down to the lowlands during the middle ages.

Named after King William III of England, the fort gave birth to a small community as many military forts do – which they called Marysburgh after their esteemed Queen.  The town went through several names changes as it grew before finally just taking the name of “Fort William” … this time not for William III but rather of Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, whose claim to fame was a slaughter of Scotsmen on Culloden Moor in 1746.  Culloden is a location we will be visiting later on in our trip, so William will be spoken about more during my post about that.  Because of that history, however, there are occasional pushes to once again rename the town.

One of the places I am most interested in going while in Fort William is the WestHighland Museum, which contains a lot of about the Jacobite uprisings in the 18th century that we will be seeing history from during the course of our walk – Culloden Moor, as mentioned above, but also in Stirling, Edinburgh and elsewhere.

For a town its size it is still the second-largest in the highlands, showing exactly how populous the treacherous northern half of the area can be.  In comparison only one city in the highlands makes it into the top fifty list of cities and towns in Scotland – Inverness, which we will be skirting the edges of but not actually visiting, on our way from Loch Ness to Culloden Moor.

Join us next Friday for Adam’s bi-weekly Q&A, and in two weeks for our next Better Know Your Route article.  Visit our Facebook page to vote on your preference for the next location examined!

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