What it's like
You don’t get to call yourself the Outdoor Capital of the UK for nothing. If you can ski it, climb it, paddle it or hike it, you’ll find it in Lochaber. Nowhere else in Britain boasts such a range of adventure sports in so compact an area - and it’s all thanks to Lochaber’s geography. This diverse region stretches form the rocky crags of Glencoe in the south to the knobbly wilds of Knoydart in the north; the icy fastness of Creag Meagaidh in the east to the Cuillin of Rum in the west – an island scrambling paradise. Within these extremities is a tangle of sharp peaks and narrow ridges, marching in ranks to every jagged horizon, with trench-like glens and sea lochs biting deep into the land. The vivid greens and blues of summer can be replaced, in winter, by the pristine gleam ofsunny snowbound summits; on such days (less unusual than you might think) Lochaber looks like a mini Himalayas. Lording it over the rest is the giant Ben Nevis, but there are hundreds of other superb mountains too, and with so much on offer it’s tricky to decide where to walk next.
If hard hillwalking, multi day wilderness hikes or testing scrambles are your bag you could pass a happy lifetime here without ever leaving; but there’s more to Lochaber than high excitement. Magnificent glens, complex shorelines and mossy native oakwoods provide an abundance of low level options too, family-friendly strolls in rich natural settings.
- Ariundle oak woods, Strontian Hop over to the peaceful district of Ardgour for this nature trail through mossy maritime woods. With luck you might just spot red squirrels, pine martens or even a wildcat. www.sunartoakwoods.org.uk
- Ring of Steall Starting in the dramatic depths of Glen Nevis, a craggy gorge and a wobbly wire bridge lead to this epic ridge scrambling circuit.
- Ladhar Bheinn This long lochside ramble and testing ascent of a remote and beautiful peak gives a great introduction to the rigours of Knoydart walking. Best done over two days.
Must see and do
- Nevis Range Whether it’s for winter sports or summer sightseeing, ride the gondola at Scotland’s highest ski centre. www.nevisrange.co.uk
- Castle Tioram and Ardnamurchan Combine historical sightseeing with a beach walk, on a trip to Lochaber’s wild west.
- Ice Factor The world’s largest artificial ice climbing wall is also a great place to pull on plastic, if you prefer more conventional indoor climbing. Plus, the café’s great. www.ice-factor.co.uk
- Canyoning Cold, wet and c-c-c-crazy – nothing beats a guided gorge descent. www.verticaldescents.com
Destination County : Fort William & Lochaber