This was day 1 of a short holiday based in Newtonmore - and after a fairly wet June, things seemed to be looking up for the week ahead. The thundery rain which had brought flooding to Edinburgh and Fife the day before had cleared away to the north overnight, with sunshine and high temperatures forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before we left on Saturday. That just left today, Tuesday - a legacy of low cloud and murk was spoiling things in Speyside, but sunshine was supposed to be coming through further south and west. We debated the merits of driving all the way to Glencoe (where sunshine seemed guaranteed), but given the long drive and the fact we could probably reach those hills on a day trip from home, this seemed a bit counter-intuitive. Instead we headed to Fort William, forecast to be on the dividing line between cloud and sunshine, for a touristy day and a wander up Cow Hill. If the weather was better than expected, we'd get good views of Ben Nevis from our lowly summit; if the weather was worse than expected, then at least we'd probably be below the cloud base. As it turned out, the forecast was spot on, with sunshine to the south, overcast skies to the north, sunny periods over Cow Hill but with fog on Ben Nevis.
We started from Glen Nevis instead of Fort William, meaning we could break for cake or sightseeing in town midway around. View from the car park:
The route first follows a track through forest before a clear but steep path swiftly climbs up onto the open hill.
Ben Nevis wreathed in cloud, though it looked tantalisingly close to clearing at times:
A spur branches off to the summit, which is crowned with a radio mast. Decent views over sprawling Fort William and Loch Linnhe:
A few of these hairy things out and about:
Back to the previous junction, and this time continuing in the direction of Loch Linnhe. We thought this sign was quite cute:
The track descends gently to Fort William's southern suburbs:
Down by the loch:
Through the municipal gardens on the way towards the town centre:
Reaching Fort William coincided with an overcast period. More sunshine was forecast for the afternoon, so we browsed the West Highland Museum for a while to see if things were going to brighten up. They didn't, so we carried on with the walk anyway A further short, steep ascent back out of town, before contouring the hill back to the car park in Glen Nevis:
An enjoyable way to spend a leisurely day, though with hindsight, I wish we'd gone to Glencoe after all!
>> Next day: Stob Ban, Mamores
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