Fort William from Banavie, July 2015. The year I spent living in Fort William definitely won’t go down as a golden one. It was 2003 and I was flitting between a couple of dead end jobs. Low on cash and with no close friends to speak of, I struggled with the dismal weather, a seemingly infinite onslaught of pissing rain, grey skies and aggravating winds. Unsurprisingly, I drew up my plans and got the hell out of Dodge. It was a different story for my sister though, who stayed on, fell in love and eventually laid down roots in the nearby settlement of Banavie. This photo was taken one evening during a summer visit; an actual summer that was so glorious it felt like looking at the place through a new pair of eyes! Walking down to the beachside, Fort William glimmered seductively in the distance whispering a glut of false promises!
Abandoned Ship, Loch Linnie, April 2015. Banavie’s little beach was transformed that night; its mysterious abandoned ship taking on an almost otherworldly form. I’ve always wondered what its back story is, when it got there and under what circumstances. Sadly, even my reliable friend Mr. Google hasn’t been able to shed much light on it. I’ve always been tempted to climb aboard and go exploring, but have never gotten round to it. Maybe next time!
The Caledonian Canal, January 2016. At the end of 2015 I returned to Banavie once more following a three-month stint in Cambodia. I was at a complete loss as to what to do with my life and in my desperation had come up with a half-baked idea of giving Fort William another chance as a long-term base. So I stuck around for a bit, got a crappy job and suffered the weather as best I could. Being close to my sister again was wonderful, as was getting to know my two-year-old niece Alice, who was just starting to form messy and amusing sentences. Living just a stone’s throw away from the Caledonian Canal, this picture was taken one wintry morning as I set off on a four-hour walk to Gairlochy.
Ben Nevis from The Caledonian Canal, January 2016. Armed with a packed lunch and tuned into BBC Radio 5 Live’s Saturday F.A. cup coverage, it was a fantastic morning of invigorating exercise, crisp air and stunning views. Not least of a snowcapped Ben Nevis, only partly visible through the misty morning sky.
Somewhere between Banavie and Gairlochy, January 2016. The walk from Banavie to Gairlochy is listed as the first segment of The Great Glen Way. A 117km trail that runs from coast to coast across The Scottish Highlands, it opened in 2002 and is now one of Scotland’s four major walking routes.