We woke up to a blue sky. It was a bit chilly but otherwise the perfect day for a hike. Our original plan was to hike up Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. However, for assorted reasons, we couldn’t have a whole a day in Fort William. We, therefore, decided to hike to Cow Hill, a much more modest walk, but we had a sleeper train to catch in the evening to return home.
Cow Hill blocks the view of Ben Nevis from Fort William. Therefore, if you want to see it, you must get to the other side of the hill. There are various routes. The walk up the hill was gentle. Ben Nevis looked magnificent:
Despite Cow Hill not being tall, our views during the hike were stunning, with beautiful autumn colours and panoramic views of the town centre and loch.
Whilst walking around the town centre, we went to The Highland Bookshop. Their book collection was well curated, and the staff were friendly too. I bought a history book on the Outer Hebrides.
In the morning, for breakfast, we had gone to The Wildcat cafe on Fort William’s main street. I had porridge. Unusually, it had berries and seeds added. It was tasty. We had also bought food for our picnic on Cow Hill. After finishing our hike around Cow Hill, we returned to the cafe for cake and coffee. We loved everything about the cafe. It was relaxing, the food was excellent, and the staff were friendly — and dressed for Halloween! They played eclectic music, which they danced to. They later sent me the playlist because I liked it so much!
The cafe closed at 4pm and our train was in the early evening. After a bit of window shopping, we went to the library in the town centre. I read my newly bought history book. On leaving, we chatted with the librarians (who were also friendly!) about the importance of libraries and how they can be a hub for the community.
There aren’t that many recommended restaurants in Fort William for veggies. Someone described it as an “abysmal food desert”! I’m not sure it’s that bad. The previous night, we ate at Spice Tandoori, an Indian restaurant. It was one of the few places open and not fully booked by the time we reached Fort William after our long drive from Ullapool port. The food was fairly good. For our final meal, we chose The Geographer. The Google reviews were mostly good except the odd one or two. The owner’s replies to these were funny, which warmed us to the place.
When we entered the restaurant, the owner greeted us, and he was as genial as he appeared in his review comments. The food was very good.
After our meal, we returned to the Premier Inn hotel, where we’d stayed, to pick up our rucksacks. From there, it was short walk to the station. On the way, we unnecessarily popped into Morrisons to squirrel away some snacks for the return journey! Unusually, the train left on time and, after a delay in Rugby that we slept through, we returned to London about half an hour late.
I was happy to be home but sad to have left Scotland, especially the enchanting Outer Hebrides. Maybe, we’ll return next year.