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Site of fort at Fort William, Scottish Highlands.

This evening, I am posting information on the former British military fort at Fort William, Scotland. A chronological summary is as follows:

  • A timber fort was established by General Monk in 1654 at the northern end of Loch Linnhe to accommodate 250 troops for purpose of controlling the Highland clans.
  • In 1690 the fort was re-built in stone and featured 20ft high walls with 15 guns (cannon) and accommodation for 1000 men. At this stage the name was changed from the ‘Fort of Inverlochy’ to Fort William, after the current King.
  • In 1692 the papers authorising the infamous Massacre at Glencoe were signed at the Fort.
  • Between March 14th and April 3rd the Fort withstood a siege by a Jacobite force.
  • The Fort continued as a military garrison until 1855.
  • Fort sold to a civilian in 1864 and then acquired by the Railway in 1889.
  • Railway opened in 1894 with route passing through old Fort.
  • Most of the remainder of the Fort was removed when the Railway Station was located to its current position in 1975.

View from site of fort looking towards Fort William

The video clip below shows the remains of the fort. The former entrance arch can be found a short walk away at entrance to local cemetery where it was re-erected in 1816. The plaque attached to this arch reads “This arch was erected in 1690 over the main entrance to the Fort. Re-erected 1816 where Sir Allan Cameron of Erracht, in 1793, raised the 79th or Cameron Highlanders, a regiment which distinguished itself on many a hard fought field for King and Country.”

Cemetery entrance arch, Fort William.

This fort features in the Outlander series.

Glen Quaich, Perthshire, Scotland.

This evening, I am posting information with video clips on a fascinating back roads tour in Perthshire, central Scotland.

The region is called Glen Quaich because of the bowl effect shown in image above which has echoes of a special kind of shallow, two-handled drinking cup or bowl used in Scotland.

The drive covers about twelve miles along single track and, mainly, high elevation road over moorland between Amulree and Kenmore.

This is a remote area with a few farms, many sheep, good views (in right visibility) plus possibility of seeing wildlife such as grouse, pheasant and others.

Landscape view

Glen Quaich Backroad

Red Grouse.

On the way into Kenmore there are views (to the right) of Taymouth Castle which dates from 1842 when it was completed in time for the visit of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort.

Taymouth Castle in landscape setting.

Taymouth Castle

During the winter the road is not cleared of snow and thus can be closed for periods of time.

Below is a series of video clips showing the route from Amulree.

Whenever possible I include this route in my tours of central Scotland.

Adam Smith Statue, Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

About 4.0m people visit Edinburgh each year the vast majority of which will explore the famous Royal Mile near the top of which is a statue of Adam Smith which stands close to St Giles’ Cathedral. Unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of these visitors will have heard of Adam Smith who was, arguably, the first economist and whose writings were instrumental in policies which generated huge wealth and personal liberty through free trade from the 19th century onwards right through to modern-day. There is another monument to Smith in form of a grave-maker near the bottom of the Royal Mile in the burial ground of Canongate Kirk.

Who was Adam Smith?

Adam Smith was a Scottish political economist and philosopher. He has become famous from his influential book The Wealth of Nations (1776).

Smith was the son of the Comptroller of the Customs at Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. The exact date of his birth is unknown. However, he was baptized at Kirkcaldy on June 5, 1723, his father having died some six months previously.

Here is a summary of Adam Smith’s life:

  • Attended Glasgow University at age about 15 years where he studied moral philosophy.
  • Entered Balliol College, Oxford, England in 1740.
  • In 1748 began delivering lectures in Edinburgh which by his mid or late 20s had evolved to expound his economic philosophy of natural liberty which subsequently formed the kernel of his  Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
  • In 1751 Smith was appointed professor of logic at Glasgow university, transferring in 1752 to the chair of moral philosophy.
  • In late 1763 Smith obtained a lucrative post as tutor to the young Duke of Buccleuch.
  • From 1764 to 1766 he travelled with his pupil, mainly in France where he connected with local intellectual leaders.
  • On return to Kirkaldy, Scotland he devoted much of the following ten years to his magnus opus which was published in 1776.
  • In 1778 Smith was appointed Commissioner of Customs in Scotland and moved to Edinburgh.
  • Smith died at Edinburgh on July 17th 1790 following a painful illness.

The importance of Adam Smith

His Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth Of Nations (1776), is considered to be one of the most influential books ever written.He argued that free trade was a far superior means to generating prosperity compared with the extensive system of elaborate tariffs and controls which then existed.

Smith’s ideas had profound influence on politicians of the time which in turn laid the foundation for economic expansion based on free trade which drove wealth creation from the 19th century onwards.

Smith’s grave-marker at Canongate Kirk, Edinburgh.

Famous alumni-including Smith- recorded in gates of Glasgow University.