What’s on in Fort William and Lochaber

Spring is finally here! Well, at the time of writing we’re not entirely sure it is, it still seems a little wintery for a lot of the UK. Hopefully, by May we won’t be quite so uncertain. While the seasons are deciding what they are doing, what can you be doing in Fort William and Lochaber during April and May?

Our brilliant Scottish Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) will cease for the2017 / 2018  season on 14th April 2018

“” Avalanche forecasts have ended for 17/18 winter season and General Snowpack Stability information.
We recommend that mountain goers venturing into the hills continue to observe weather forecasts prior to their excursions, and visual observations of conditions during their trip. This information is important in making good plans and allowing for flexible decision making when in the mountains and hills. Snow fields remain present in the mountains and hills above 750m, sometimes extensive above 1000m in many Highland areas, they may present a slipping and falling hazard if firm and icy and a surface sloughing hazard instability on steep, sun affected slopes. Cornices may also present a hazard, threatening many slopes, these are unpredictable and prone to collapse in the warm spring conditions. Likewise, the potential for full depth avalanches due to snow creep producing Glide cracks in deeper accumulations on steep West through North to Easterly facing slopes may also present an unpredictable hazard. We would like to thank you for your support over the winter and wish you an enjoyable summer. With thanks from the SAIS forecaster team””

These guys have provided those us  who go our every day with wealth of mountain safety, technical avalanche reporting & advice – plus a few giggles – over a pretty hard winter. Our grateful thanks to them. See you again in December!

April 2018

There’s amateur boxing action at the Nevis Centre on Wednesday 4th April when Lochaber Phoenix Boxing Club presents their annual Boxing Show. Not our cup of tea, but we aim to be comprehensive with these listings…

On Thursday 5th April Off Beat Bikes are running their regular monthly Social Mountain Bike Ride. Meet at their shop on Fort William High Street at 6 pm, no need to book.

It’s opening night, on Saturday 7th April at the Lime Tree An Ealdhain Gallery in Fort William, of an Exhibition of Fine Art Landscape Photography by the Society of Scottish Landscape Photographers. The exhibition runs until 5th May.

If you find yourself in Ardgour on Sunday 8th April we would thoroughly recommend you take the opportunity to see the Kaela Rowan Band at the home of Watercolour Music. Booking is essential, more details on their website. The concert starts at 3 pm so there’s plenty of time to get the ferry back at Corran, the last ferry is at 9:20 pm.

On Saturday 14th April, and also organised by Off Beat Bikes, is the Annoach Mor Uphill Running Race. It starts at the Nevis Range carpark at 3 pm (registration open from 2 pm) and follows the World Cup Mountain Bike course to the top Gondola station, the registration fee includes a ticket to get you back down again! “Great for all abilities and also for beginners to hill running.”

Thursday 12th April sees the return of Zetor in the Kailyard to the Grog & Gruel in Fort William and Bruise will be playing a week later on Thursday 19th April.

Thursday 19th April sees the return of the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band to the Glenfinnan House Hotel, there’s music every Thursday evening thereafter.

Then, of course, there’s lots of music on offer at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe throughout April:

  • Saturday 7th April, 9 pm – The Crisdean MacDonald Band (a change to the previously advertised band)
  • Saturday 14th April, 9 pm – Zetor in the Kailyard
  • Saturday 21st April, 9 pm – Hannah MacRae and Lauren Byrne (another change)
  • Saturday 28th April, 9 pm – The Iona Fyfe Band

Screenmachine is in the Fort from Wednesday 25th through to Saturday 28th April. They will be screening films Peter Rabbit, The Greatest Showman, Isle of Dogs, Finding Your Feet and You Were Never Really Here

Mountain bikers can join the 10 Under the Ben challenge on Saturday 28th April, it’s one of the longest-running events for the organisers, No Fuss Events. As they say, “10 Under the Ben and the amazing trails around Leanachen forest guarantees a great day’s riding (regardless of the weather). It does not matter whether you are racing or out for a ride with like-minded people, the emphasis is on enjoyment, friendship and a fun atmosphere.”

May 2018

On Thursday 3rd May Off Beat Bikes are running their regular monthly Social Mountain Bike Ride. Meet at their shop on Fort William High Street at 6 pm, no need to book.

The No Fuss Events Macavalanche in Glencoe on 5th May has now sold-out, have a great day if you managed to get one of the 250 available entries. If you didn’t get a ticket there’s always the Lochaber Model and Craft Fair at the Nevis Centre! All proceeds go to Lochaber Mountain rescue.

One of the highlights of the year is the return of The Scottish Six Day Trials on the 7th May. A “trials” event requires the competitors to complete a route, within a time-limit, which in the case of the Scottish Six days trials is up to 100 miles, mainly off-road, on each of the six days. The complication is that each of the routes involves 30 “sections” where the riders not only have to keep to a relatively narrow route over extremely rough ground but have to avoid putting their feet down – that probably sounds quite simple until you see the kind of ground the competitors are trying to ride over! The event runs through to 12th May this year. If you want to get a flavour of what the trials are all about, have a look at Ross Noble: Off Road on UKTV channel Dave.

As per usual there’s plenty of music on offer at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe in May:

  • Saturday 5th May, 9 pm – Pictism
  • Saturday 12th May, 9 pm – Mak-A-Din
  • Saturday 19th May, 9 pm – White Rose
  • Friday 25th May, 9:30 pm – The Shine
  • Saturday 26th May, 9 pm – The Riska Ceilidh Band

Recurring Events

  • There’s also open sessions at the Ben Nevis Inn, Achintore every Tuesday from the 3rd April.
  • There are regular Wildlife Walks at the RSPB Glenborrodale Reserve on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula every Wednesday from 16th May until 26th September.
  • Every Thursday from the 19th April you can find either Lauren Byrne & Friends or the Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band playing at the Glenfinnan House Hotel.
  • The Grog & Gruel on Fort William High Street has an open music session every Friday evening from about 9 pm – well worth venturing out for!
  • There are open sessions at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe every Sunday from 9 pm

Other Events in the Area

  • The shinty season is now in full swing! For the latest fixtures for local teams Kilmallie, Fort William and Lochaber visit this site from the Camanachd Association.
  • There are often readings and book signings at the Highland Bookshop in Fort William.
  • If you fancy joining some of the locals for one of a variety of road and mountain based running and cycling events the Off Beat Bikes Events page is worth a look. We’ve listed some highlights above.
  • The National Trust for Scotland’s Glencoe Visitors Centre runs regular Landrover Safaris though-out the high season. More details can be found on their events page.

Forthcoming Events: