Spean Bridge – or Drochaid an Aonaichean in Gaelic – is situated in the district of Lochaber, nine miles North East up the Great Glen from Fort William. The village has historical significance in that the first shots of the 1745 Jacobite rising were fired at nearby Highbridge – this was the site of the original General Wade bridge over the River Spean which was later to be replaced by the current Telford bridge. More recently, the area was extensively used for the training of the newly-formed Commando forces during World War II and there is a striking memorial located one mile out of the village.
Being on the junction of the A82 Inverness to Fort William road and the A86 through Glen Spean from Dalwhinnie and Newtonmore, Spean Bridge is readily accessible by car from the Central belt of Scotland and beyond. It also has railway links to the south, having a station on the world-famous West Highland Line that runs from Glasgow to Fort William (and on to Mallaig). The Link to Googlemaps at the foot of this page shows the location of Spean Bridge.
Of course, the real attraction of this part of Scotland is the mind-blowing variety of truly spectacular walking country to be found virtually on your doorstep. There is far too much to describe here, but the following aims to whet your appetite for just some of the available options.
The highest mountain in the British Isles stands at 1,344m (4,409 ft) with three of its near neighbours also exceeding 4,000 ft. The range offers an array of outstanding high-level walks and the gondola at the Nevis Range ski area can be used to provide effortless access to 650m. In the shadow of “The Ben”, Glen Nevis has beautiful low-level walks. For more specific information on the ascent of Ben Nevis, see Ben Nevis guided walks.
It is not hard to see why Glen Coe is the most famous of all Scotland’s glens, combining as it does the dark history of the massacre of 1692 with truly magnificent mountain scenery born of 400 million-year-old volcanoes. There are numerous walking options to be savoured, whether it is an ascent of iconic Buachaille Etive Mor for unrivalled views across Rannoch Moor or a visit to the hidden charms of the Lost Valley.
Located just a few miles from Spean Bridge, Glen Roy is a National Nature Reserve representing one of Britain’s most spectacular examples of a landscape formed in the last ice age. Lacking the famous peaks of the above areas, Glen Roy attracts considerably fewer walkers and so outings in this area tend to be much quieter.
Crossing Loch Linnhe by the Corran Ferry, the pace of life instantly seems to drop. Further on by the shores of Loch Sunart are found rare and splendid remnants of temperate maritime oakwoods and walks here are a treat for those interested in flora and fauna.
East from Spean Bridge is the complex mountain massif of Creag Meagaidh. Here a walk into the magnificent, cliff-girt corrie of Coire Ardair takes you across land that, as a National Nature Reserve, is being actively managed to promote the regeneration of native woodland and, consequently, an increase in native wildlife.