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Stopping Point Between Ft. Williams and Edinburgh

I would like thoughts on where to spend our last two nights after leaving Ft. Williams before getting to Edinburgh. We will be spending the night on Friday, 1 May, in Ft. Williams and then riding the Jacobite Train on Sat., 2 May. We fly out of Edinburgh late afternoon on Mon., 4 May.

I am trying to determine where we should stay Sat. 2 May as well as Sun. 3 May, keeping in mind I would like a reasonable driving distance on Monday. I was thinking about Oban Saturday night and then Stirling Sunday night. Any thoughts on this or other recommendations?

Thank you in advance.

Posted by
4562 posts

Four years ago, in August, we left Fort William (singular) by car, headed towards Stirling that day. But about a half hour into the drive, it absolutely poured rain for hours. A long line of traffic moved slowly down the highway, with the wipers on “high” barely keeping up with the extreme rain.

We pulled over for lunch, partly to dry out, and the rain stopped. Then we stopped off in Doune to see the excellent, smaller castle there, and finally reached Stirling about fifteen minutes before its grand castle was closing for the day. Weather can affect timing and plans!

Our flight the next day from Edinburgh was fairly early in the morning, so we stayed in a B&B a fairly short drive to the airport, closer to Edinburgh than was Stirling. But it was strictly a place to refuel the car, and to sleep. Dinner was nothing remarkable, and I don’t even recall the name of the small town. But it was close and convenient.

We didn’t make it to Oban, but I know it’s on Rick Steves’ list of worthwhile towns. Since your flight isnt until late afternoon, you’d have time to see my Stirling that we didn’t. Hopefully the weather cooperates - have a good trip!

Posted by
931 posts

Hi, jonesq1,

Allow me to be the first to say this. It's Fort William, not Fort Williams. I don't know where visitors are acquiring this information, but it seems to be a common misconception..

Oban and Stirling would be good choices for your Saturday and Sunday overnights. It's approximately 90 minutes' drive from Stirling to EDI for your outbound flight. Oban is approximately three hours drive from Stirling, by good roads. Depending on what time your flight leaves on Monday, you may have time to visit Stirling Castle in the morning.

Oban is about an hour's drive from Fort William. You'd have an opportunity to visit Glencoe on the way, if you so choose.

Are you taking the Jacobite to and from Mallaig, or one way, then returning by ScotRail?

Best wishes for good weather to accompany your travels!


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
2713 posts

I haven't been to Oban so can't judge, but Inveraray would be more along your way. The drive from Fort William to Inveraray is very scenic, and you could stop at the Ben Cruachan "hollow mountain" hydropower visitor centre in Lochawe -- very interesting if you have any interest in science. Inveraray is a lovely town; among other things, it has several shops selling traditional Scottish woolen goods (but check the labels as some are made in other countries). Inveraray castle is beautiful inside and out. A few miles south of town is the Auchindrain Township open-air museum. I can recommend Brambles for lodging and the George Hotel for dinner & pub.

Stirling would be a good choice for your second night. Even though it's a fairly short drive from Stirling, make sure to allow plenty of time to get to the Edinburgh airport to turn in your car and go through security. The signs for the airport and the rental car return are easy to follow, as I recall.

Posted by
12 posts

Fort William to Inverary is not really on your way to Edinburgh. any more than Oban is. However it is feasible to stay the first night in either. Stirling is a good stop for the second night and a couple of hours or so from the previous night stop. You could then take a leisurely drive to Edinburgh Airport for your late afternoon flight, stopping at the Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel followed by Linlithgow (palace) over 2-3 hours. Alternatively the direct route from Stirling to Edinburgh Airport on the M9 motorway is only around 40 minutes. You would pass the Kelpies statues on the way but not be able to stop without leaving the motorway.