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Where to Stay to Climb Ben Nevis
Accommodation in and around Fort William
Ben Nevis Accommodation Options
The closest town to Ben Nevis is Fort William. Since the railway first brought Victorian tourists to the Highlands at the end of the 19th century, Fort William has grown up to offer something for everyone whether you are looking for outdoor pursuits or a family holiday. There are a number of visitor centres which will provide help with accommodation and suggestions of things to do.
If you want to stay in comfort in a hotel, bed and breakfast or guest house Fort William and the surrounding villages (see below) makes a great base. If you are staying in self-catering accommodation around Ben Nevis, you will find everything you need to keep stocked up in the various supermarkets in the town. If you don't feel like doing the cooking, you will find plenty of restaurants and eating places to suit every budget.
Where can you stay?
Apart from looking for a hotel in Fort William, there are a few villages nearby which will make a good base both for climbing Ben Nevis and for touring the Highlands. Descriptions of the most popular are below. Distances are from Fort William and travel time is by car.
20 miles - 30-minute journey
Glencoe is the home of the Glencoe Mountain Resort. In summer, outdoor sports include mountain biking, archery, orienteering and hillwalking, and in winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and avalanche rescue training take place. The ski/snowboarding slopes have 19 runs and 7 lifts. Glencoe itself is a brooding Glen infamous for the massacre in 1692, and it's hard to walk here and not to feel the brooding atmosphere of the events of the past. As a place to stay Glencoe offers a full range of accommodation and camp sites.
18 miles, 28-minute journey
A small and beautiful village offering a limited range of accommodation but with the unique prospect of staying in a converted railway carriage at the Glenfinnan Station Museum. There is a Memorial here to commemorate the landing of Bonny Prince Charlie on Scottish soil in 1745.
25 miles, 35-minute journey
Situated where the River Garry flows into Loch Oich. The village is nestled in the Great Glen and is renowned as a and in the Great Glen excellent base for walking. There is a small range of accommodation here.
Camping is a great option when visiting the highlands. Fort William Caravan and Campsites give useful information on campsites in the local area.
Remember when camping the weather, even in summer, is likely to be cooler here than in England or Wales, and even in August, there can be sharp early morning frosts. Some campsites, including the Ben Nevis campsite, are closed during the winter months.
You can only camp at low levels if you are on a campsite. Please respect the No Camping signs on private land.
Scotland is relatively relaxed about wild camping unless signs expressly say otherwise in a particular area. You can wild camp on Ben Nevis higher up the mountain, but remember it is a very busy mountain, so you will want to find a place to get some privacy. When wild camping try to keep your group small, take litter away with you (don't bury it else animals will dig it up) and leave the camping spot exactly how you found it.
You should not disturb or move anything, and help the environment by choosing a spot for your toilet at least 100ft (30 metres) from any water.
You can stay in the Glen Nevis Hostel from just £12 a night.
Self Catering accommodation is very popular for walking and hiking holidays - it's cheaper than staying in a hotel, and you can collapse and treat it as home after a long day on the mountains!
There is quite of a lot of self-catering cottages in Fort William and around the Ben Nevis area.
Self Catering Accommodation
22 miles, 33-minute journey
Kinlochleven lies at the eastern end of the sea loch, Loch Leven. This has become a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Due to its past walks around the area are of historical and scientific interest. In the centre of the town The Ice Factor has activities for all the family including indoor ice and rock climbing, abseiling, and a giant swing.
13 miles, 21-minute journey
Roy Bridge has a station, a few bed and breakfast or self-catering properties and is a good base for traveling. Quiet hamlet.
9 miles, 15-minute journey
Spean Bridge has a railway station and is the last stop before Fort William. The sleeper service stops daily. Famous for the Commando Monument and for the fact that the commandos trained here during the second world war. Has a good selection of places to stay and eat.
15 miles - 23-minute journey.
In 1975 a bridge was built linking the villages of North and South Ballachulish which removed a tedious car journey around the inlet. Not a large hamlet, but has a notoriety of its own. In 1752 James Stewart was hanged here in what is still known as the most serious miscarriage of justice in Scottish History. There is a memorial here to mark the event.
4 miles - 11-minute journey.
This is the place where the Caledonian Canal meets the sea by way of Neptunes Staircase. Three locks are here, and eight in nearby Banavie. It's an interesting spectacle when you see a boat navigating its way slowly through the locks. The village also benefits from brilliant views of Ben Nevis. Corpach is smaller and less busy than Fort William.
32 miles - 45-minute journey.
Situated at one end of Loch Ness Fort Augustus has a good range of accommodation making an ideal base for exploring Loch Ness as well as your walk up Ben Nevis. You can do some monster spotting, and visit the evocative Urquhart Castle.