Hello there Beastie friends! It’s a bit of a rainy old day in Dublin today – ah, the Irish summer! So I don’t know about you, but I’d definitely be up for seeing where Paddy and Plunkett’s wandering paws have taken them. You may remember we left them here last week…
Well, I can now reveal that this place with the lovely view is Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands!
Fort William did actually start life as a fort – the earliest recorded settlement here was a wooden fort, dating back to the mid-1600s. It’s seen a fair amount of military activity since then, most notably during the Jacobite uprising in 1746. Back then, forces supporting the reinstatement of James Stuart to the British throne laid siege to the town for two weeks! These days, it’s much more peaceful. In fact, the original fort was much bigger than what remains there today!
What brings many people to Fort William now is its proximity to the Highlands. Look, Paddy has spotted Ben Nevis!
It may be shrouded in mist, but it’s pretty difficult to hide completely. It’s Scotland’s highest mountain, after all!
Closer at hand, the boys explored the fort a little further…
“This is the sally port, Paddy! They used it to bring in supplies by boat back in the day. Look at that stonework…”
Paddy found this very impressive… Until he learned that the sally port has been out of action for many years, and no-one was going to row past with a sandwich for his lunch.
No, his mind quickly turned to other things… Like climbing mountains! The West Highland Way walking trail starts (or ends, depending which direction you go) in Fort William, and stretches 96 miles across some of Scotland’s most beautiful and rugged countryside. But the first section, in the town, is deceptively easy going…
Perfect for little short Beastie legs! And luckily for the boys, just as their paws began to get tired, they happened upon a friendly local who offered them a lift home.
This bronzed fellow in his Model T Ford is here to commemorate a publicity stunt that took place here more than 100 years ago. Mr Henry Alexander, the local Ford dealer, had the bright idea of asking his son to drive one of their Model Ts to the top of Ben Nevis. He wanted to demonstrate to the buying public that these cars were as good (or even better than) their hand-built British counterparts. The trip there – and more importantly, back down again – was tricky, but a success. There’s even some recently-rediscovered film footage of the descent! You can see it and find out more about the statue here.
Of course, Paddy was eager to take the wheel and recreate the journey himself… But since Mr Henry Alexander Jr was literally welded into the driving seat, he had to settle for riding shotgun!
We’ll rejoin the boys in a couple of weeks. Next week… A new Beastie friend for you all to meet. And this one has SO MANY ACCESSORIES!
See you then!