Wednesday, August 3–Fort William, Lochaber/Highlands & Islands

Neptune's Staircase; Treasures of the Earth; losing a cell phone in the car; lunch at Café 151 or 115; pint of cider at Wetherspoon's the Great Glen and back there for dinner; down along the waterfront to the Crannog Restaurant to make a dinner reservation for tomorrow

Best Western Imperial

Black Toyota Rav4



I did much the same today as I thought I might do last night.

The weather was grey and drizzly most of the day, only improving late in the evening, so it really wasn't much of a day to do anything outside.

After a nice breakfast downstairs here in the hotel (porridge followed by scrambled eggs–roughage & protein), I headed out around 11:00. The only problem with finding Neptune's Staircase is that since it's a series of locks stretching 500 yards on the side of a fairly gentle hill Google Maps tells you that you've arrived before you can find a place to park or are even sure where the locks are. I had to backtrack to the little Moorings Hotel at the base of the lock and park in the lot there, and then walked up the small hill to the top of the locks. When I was leaving I drove over the same small bridge I had earlier without noticing it went over the locks.

Treasures of the Earth is a small but very well done geological museum and gift shop and is a lot of fun. As I walked up to the entrance I was rather amused that the small hotel across the street advertised it had a "rock bar".

Both places are just outside of Fort William and it only took about 15 minutes to get back here to my hotel. Parking was crappy once again but after going around the one way streets a couple of times I was able to park in an actual parking spot. I dropped my cell phone in the car and couldn't find it then, or when I looked again after dinner. I'll check again in the morning.

I had a very nice fish pie (sort of like shepherd's pie with seafood instead of lamb or beef) for lunch at a small place whose exact name escapes me now, Café 151 or 115 (Cafe 115), something like that. Afterwards I stopped in at the local branch of the Wetherspoon chain of pubs, the Great Glen, for an OK pint of hard cider before coming back to my room here in the hotel.

I hung out here for a couple of hours before going for a walk before dinner, hoping that the weather would improve but it didn't. Earlier I had thought that I might be able to get a small table for one for dinner at the Great Glen and I did, although it was quite busy. I had a table for two next to another table for two next to another table for two. When I first got there, the table by the window was occupied by two young women who might have been Belgian, German, or maybe Scandinavian by their accents. Shortly afterwards this guy came and sat at the table in the middle and began chatting up the girls, who asked him if he was a local and when he said "Yes, he was" they started asking him if he knew anywhere that had a room to rent for the night–apparently they had arrived without making any lodging plans in advance. I wasn't interested in getting involved in their conversations so I finished my dinner & left.

Before coming back here to my room I walked a little further down the waterfront to the Crannog Restaurant. Although I had actually been to the Crannog three times while I was here five years ago (once when I'd walked the wrong direction to my B&B from the train station, once to take the cruise on Loch Linnhe, and once when the cruise came back there) I had never eaten there. I made a reservation for 6:00 PM tomorrow night, which should give me plenty of time to make it to the pipe band performance at 7:30–that is assuming the weather cooperates.

Since I went to Neptune's Staircase and to the Treasures of the Earth today, tomorrow I'll go ride the gondola up to the top at the Glen Nevis ski area. Of course whether I do so in the morning or in the afternoon depends on the weather. And the two 158 GB USB drives I asked the guy at the phone store to order for me should be in sometime tomorrow.

It's actually still before midnight, but I don't think I'll go downstairs for a pint and will just fix myself a large decaf coffee with a shot of one of the two scotches I bought yesterday.


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