Visit Fort William, the outdoor capital of the UK

Fort William has long been known as the outdoor capital of the UK with its dramatic scenery, fresh mountain air and wealth of outdoor activities.

Travel with Caledonian Sleeper to the Scottish Highlands to experience the true outdoors, whatever the weather.


Climb Ben Nevis

Munro-bagging is a big thing in Scotland, with 282 Munros in the country. At the peak of the list, for keen climbers and visitors alike, is Ben Nevis. At 1,345 metres above sea level, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK.

Translating Ben Nevis from Gaelic, it quite aptly means ‘mountain with its head in the clouds’.

And if you climb Ben Nevis on a clear day, you will have extraordinary views across Fort William and beyond.

There are different routes up the mountain for differing abilities, but remember to plan ahead.


Road to the Isles

If Fort William is your starting point, why not take on the Road to the Isles – beginning in Fort William and making its way west towards Mallaig, where you can get a ferry to Isle of Skye.

Along the scenic route, there are many places to stop and enjoy including Loch Eil, Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Arisaig and Mallaig.


Outdoor activities at Nevis Range

Head along to Nevis Range for an outdoor sports enthusiast’s dream.


Mountain Biking

Home to the UCI Downhill World Cup since 2002, Nevis Range is the perfect place for mountain biking, whether you’re experienced or a beginner. The World Cup itself will be held on 6 and 7 June, attracting mountain bike enthusiasts from around the world.

The range of trails, known as “The Witch’s Trails”, include something for all abilities, such as two downhill trails that are accessed by gondola. There’s even somewhere to wash your bike at the end of the day.


Tree Adventure

Hidden in the trees at the edge of Leanachan forest is Tree Adventure, a series of obstacle courses which provide the ultimate forest adventure for everyone.



Nevis Range has a variety of snowsport runs for all stages, as well as group and individual ski lessons. Popular with snowsports enthusiasts, Aonach Mor is Scotland’s highest snowsports destination.



Nevis Range is home to a range of walks, including the mountain viewpoints and over 25 miles of forest walks. Experience views as far as the Inner Hebrides and the infamous Ben Nevis as you walk.



Another exciting activity on offer at Nevis Range is paragliding. What better way to take in the spectacular scenery than flying amongst Britain’s highest peaks? Travel to one of the viewpoints by gondola then take off on one of the most exhilarating experiences in Fort William.

Make the Most of Scotland’s Aprés-Ski Scene

Winter has well and truly arrived in Scotland. The country’s mountainous landscapes are enjoying plenty of snow while the villages and towns that lie below have converted their summertime lodges into cosy hideaways.

From boutique hotels and log cabins to bustling winter festivals and inviting restaurants, Londoners can make the most of their winter weekends with a trip to Scotland with overnight rail service Caledonian Sleeper.

Connecting London and Scotland’s ski resorts, the service offers a direct link to Aviemore, Fort William and Aberdeen with the added benefit of free transportation of ski and snowboard gear.

Embracing Scotland’s aprés-ski scene, Caledonian Sleeper has highlighted the country’s top places to enjoy time off the slopes this winter.

Great Glen Holidays, Fort William

For a quiet rural retreat where you can catch up on some well-earned rest, look no further than Great Glen Holidays in Fort William.

Situated close to Nevis Range with mountain views of Ben Nevis, the outlet boasts a new eco lodge that sleeps eight people, an American log house and six self-catering chalets each surrounded by the neighbouring farm and countryside.

The Winking Owl, Aviemore

After a tiring day skiing there’s no better place to warm up than The Winking Owl in Aviemore.

Located in the centre of the picturesque town, the cosy pub is managed by award-winning Cairngorm Brewery and offers a traditional alpine feel. Enjoy a selection of hearty main meals and moreish puddings before sipping on a craft beer or malt distilled in the Cairngorms National Park.

Braemar Mountain Sports, Braemar

Open daily, Braemar Mountain Sports is the perfect place for Glenshee skiers to pick up extra equipment.

Browse the store’s range of clothing items including jackets, salopettes and accessories as well as skis, avalanche gear and books. Equipment can also be hired from the shop for those without their own skis, boots or poles.

To find out more about the Caledonian Sleeper or to make a reservation, visit

Caledonian Sleeper to host bothy-inspired preview event of Highland Adventure Fest

Caledonian Sleeper is set to be transformed into Scotland’s first mobile bothy to offer guests a preview of Highland Adventure Fest.

Guests on board the London to Inverness service on Friday 22 March will be able to congregate in the Lounge Car ahead of the festival – which takes place on Sunday 24 March – and hear from Geoff Allan, author of The Scottish Bothy bible and a speaker at the festival.

Katie Masheter from Planit Scotland which is leading the event, said: “As a direct route from London to Scotland’s wilderness Caledonian Sleeper is often the preferred travel option for many adventurers and so we thought it was only fitting to host the preview of Highland Adventure Fest on board.

“The festival, which is in its first year and take places from 10am – 4pm on Sunday 24 March at Inverness Leisure Centre, is designed for all outdoor enthusiasts with talks, activities and exhibitors providing plenty of inspiration. We are very excited to be bringing a snippet of this to Caledonian Sleeper guests – we’ll even be offering complimentary tickets to Highland Adventure Fest so that guests can enjoy the event as part of their Highland escape.”

The Highland Adventure Fest event forms part of a calendar of seasonal and timely on board events hosted by Caledonian Sleeper which take place throughout the year, including on the new trains which are due to begin their introduction by the end of May.

Graham Kelly, Serco’s Guest Experience Director at Caledonian Sleeper, added: “The on board events offer our guests a snapshot of some of the great celebrations, festivals and events taking place across the country. Highland Adventure Fest is part of this exciting mix and we’re sure that the preview will get guests enthused about attending the festival or planning their next Scottish adventure.”

To find out more about Highland Adventure Fest, visit

To find out more about Caledonian Sleeper, visit

Caledonian Sleeper celebrates Highlands with North Coast 500 event

Overnight rail service Caledonian Sleeper is offering guests a glimpse of the Highlands before they even reach their destination this Wednesday (21 November).

Inspired by Lonely Planet naming the Scottish Highlands and Islands as one of the top regions in the world for travellers in 2019, the event on the London to Inverness service will provide guests with an insight into what makes the area so unique.

Hosted by the North Coast 500 – the ultimate road trip around the north of Scotland – guests in the Lounge Car will be able hear why the area was heralded ‘as one of the wildest, least inhabited and most scenic parts of Europe’. A taste of whiskies local to the region can also be enjoyed with guests served a dram of single malt from Glen Ord and Clynelish distilleries, both of which are owned by Diageo and located on the North Coast 500 route.

Gabbi Armstrong, Business Relationship Adviser at North Coast 500, who will lead the event on board, commented: “The Highlands and Islands is famed for its dramatic scenery, wild landscapes, rich history and mouth-watering food and drink and we couldn’t think of a better time to showcase the very best of the area to Caledonian Sleeper guests.

“Just a few miles outside of London guests will be able to hear why this corner of the world is so unique and popular, learning how the North Coast 500 is one of the best ways to experience it. With a dram of a local whisky in hand, this will be a great opportunity for guests to find out what makes the Highlands and Islands so special. We’ll even be providing a complimentary map of the route so that they can plan their own Highland adventure.”

The North Coast 500 event forms part of a calendar of on board events organised by Caledonian Sleeper to offer guests a series of Scottish-inspired experiences.

Graham Kelly, Serco’s Guest Experience Director at Caledonian Sleeper, added: “There’s something really magical about leaving London in the evening and waking up the next morning in the beauty of the Highlands and with this event we’re bringing that magic to life even earlier.

“We’re really proud to transport guests to this great part of Scotland six nights a week and hope that the event in partnership with North Coast 500 inspires even more people to enjoy an area with global recognition.”

To find out more about the Caledonian Sleeper, visit

Discover Adventurous Aberdeenshire with Caledonian Sleeper

Dramatic coastlines framed by long rolling beaches, peaked mountains standing tall between fast flowing rivers, an abundance of distilleries, castles and history, as well as countless adventure sports regardless of the season, the North East 250 offers it all for those seeking an authentic yet adventurous Scottish experience.

Start your journey in Aberdeen, a vibrant modern city entwined with an intriguing historic past.  Just a short walk from the bustling industrial harbour in the heart of the city, you will be immersed in the city’s historic fishing past as you wander through old cobbled streets and small cottages in Footdee (known locally as Fittie).  Enjoy a stroll along the beach esplanade, or take a boat trip and watch the local dolphins play in the surf on the fringes of the city.

As you move along the route to the west, you can be sure of a royal welcome in Deeside, home to Balmoral and Braemar castles, steeped in history and surrounded by mountainous scenery, fast-flowing rivers, moody moors and enchanting forests.  Wildlife is in abundance and the River Dee provides plentiful salmon fishing opportunities with a chance to take in the stunning scenery at leisure.  Visit Aberdeenshire Highland Cattle Farm where you can get up close with Scotland’s own much loved hairy coos!

For the energetic, Deeside and the Cairngorms is the perfect location for cycling, hillwalking and climbing, with 15 Munroes nearby to conquer (maybe not all in one day!).  Glen Tanar offers a variety of country sports and activities including horse riding, fishing and wildlife photography, while the Braemar Highland Experience allows visitors to get close to the natural beauty and culture of Deeside through guided walks and off road tours. Glenshee Ski Centre is open all year, offering skiing when the snow descends, as well as trips on the chair lift throughout summer showcasing stunning mountaintop views.

Home to over half of Scotland’s distilleries, Speyside offers a range of distillery experiences and whiskies to savour.  Visit The Glenlivet Distillery near Tomintoul for a sensory introduction to the whisk-making process, and enjoy the coffee shop and on-site gift shop too.  A few miles along the road, the Ballindalloch Distillery will share the art of making whisky their way, which can be complemented by a visit to nearby Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens.  The Spey River which flows nearby offers opportunities for fishing, canoeing and kayaking, with Craggan Outdoors on hand to provide adventurous activities on both land and water.

The stunning Moray Firth Coastline was voted one of the best in the world by National Geographic.  Abundant with wildlife including birds, seals, dolphins and whales, it’s a wildlife lover’s dream.  Take a boat trip, or get close to and learn more about the Moray Firth sealife at Macduff Marine Aquarium.  For those who want to spend more time on the water, open water swimming, paddle boarding and surfing are popular along the coast with many locations offering lessons to get you started.  If you’re more at ease on land, there are golf courses galore, with each offering unique yet incredible views of the coast.

A fine fare of Scottish culinary delights await you along the route too.  Be sure to stop at the Cullen Bay Hotel to try delicious local fish soup known as ‘Cullen Skink’, followed by a tempting ice cream from Portsoy Ice Cream Shop just a few miles along the road!  The route is dotted with quaint former fishing villages and towns waiting to be explored, including Portsoy, which hosts the annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, and Pennan, made famous by the phonebox used in hit film Local Hero.

The Museum of Lighthouses and Kinnaird Head Castle in Fraserburgh will teach you everything about the world of lighthouse engineering, and also offers the chance to enjoy a super view across Fraserburgh and beyond – just the matter of a few steps to climb first!  Nature is abundant around the East Coast, with the Loch of Strathbeg, Bullers of Buchan and Ythan Estuary all worth a stop to admire the local wildlife.

The final stretch of the North East 250 takes you along the East Coast towards Aberdeen.  Nearby Forvie National Nature Reserve boasts some of the largest sand dunes in Britain, where the moving sands constantly change the landscape.  Fans of Gothic novel Dracula will be thrilled by a stop at Old Slains Castle and New Slains Castle, as author Bram Stoker is thought to have found inspiration for the story from the New Castle. Find out what life was like behind bars at Peterhead Prison Museum, which only closed as a working prison in December 2013 – take care not to get locked in for longer than expected!

Whether a laid back sightseer, an avid wildlife spotter or an adrenalin fuelled adventure seeker, there is something to suit everyone on this trip through the heart of Scotland, come and experience the ultimate road trip and the very best Scotland has to offer.

This is a guest blog by North East 250. To find out more about the North East 250 and to start planning your journey, visit