Hi Ben the teaboy here, I always thought it would cost an arm and a leg to get up to Fort William, but after some careful calculations I think it is possible to do it at a very reasonable price!
Okay so you’re skint (aren’t we all), and yet you want to go and see the world’s best mountain bikers do their thing without having to sell a kidney! Well here I propose to you a shoestring budget to get you through the Fort William world cup weekend. Now to keep this trip on a low budget, I would recommend going up in as large group of people as possible! The more the merrier as they say.
Now before we get started we need to discuss the greatest issue of all, the midges. They do unfortunately thrive at Fort Bill, so make sure you keep them out of your tent! I do have a solution to the midges biting, it works for me, but not everyone. Avon Skin So Soft seems to stop the little blighters biting, but it won’t stop them landing on you.
I do apologise if you end up reading the rest of this article to that tune!
How to get there:
Now as crazy as this might seem I think the cheapest way to travel up to Fort Bill is by car, but the only way to make this work is if there are five people in the car, because this way you can split the cost of petrol between five of you, it might be a little uncomfortable if you’re in the back of a Peugeot 106, but who cares, you’re going to watch the World Cup on a shoestring.
Where to stay:
Okay then, seeing as Fort Bill is in Scotland that’s good news for our shoestring budget! The Scots have some fantastic laws in place to allow you to camp almost anywhere…for free! You can even keep your personal hygiene up to standard too, at the event location ‘Nevis Range’ they have public showers, which cost £1 a throw for a whole three minutes! We do recommend if you are planning to camp near a building, go and knock on the door and just make yourself known. Of course you can’t camp anywhere and here are the ‘rules:’
• “Houses and gardens, and non-residential buildings and associated land
• Farm buildings and yards
• Land in which crops have been sown or are growing (although please note that the headrigs, endrigs and other margins of fields where crops are growing are not defined as crops, whether sown or unsown, and are therefore within access rights).
• Land next to a school and used by the school
• Sports or playing fields when these are in use and where the exercise of access rights would interfere with such use
• Land developed and in use for recreation and where the exercise of access rights would interfere with such use
• Golf courses (but you can cross a golf course provided you don’t interfere with any games of golf)
• Places like airfields, railways, telecommunication sites, military bases and installations, working quarries and construction sites, and
• Visitor attractions or other places which charge for entry.”
Now if this ‘wild camping’ isn’t really your thing, and you’re after a little bit more luxury. There are a couple of campsites nearby that provide you with a shower and some drinking water. But you must remember this will impact on the final cost!
There are different types of tickets you can buy, you can see all the info about each ticket here. Luckily they do have a cheapskate ticket, which gives you entry to the event, and allows you to use the shuttle bus between, Fort William and the actual event (Which is in fact six miles outside of Fort William itself) the bus is important, because you can’t actually park at the event location, you’ll have to leave your car in the Fort. The cheapest ticket doesn’t let you use the gondola, but you don’t really need the gondola, you can walk up alongside the track all the way to the top. The other thing about the cheapskate ticket is that they don’t do it as a weekend package the only sell them as single days so you would have to buy two.
Well food can cost you as much as you want really, you could take a couple of ‘Pot noodles’ each for the weekend, or you could eat out at a fancy restaurant. So that’s why I’m not going to factor in the food to the final cost. We asked Joe Barnes about the local delicacies “Best chip shop is in Caol and is called Sammy’s. Well worth a fish supper. If you want to catch you dinner then Corpach pier has good fishing and in late summer you will get a mackerel every cast (if you’re lucky). A 12g silver spinner should do.”
Now I’ll start with the simple part which will be the same for everyone. The cheapskate tickets are £15 each, so that will work out at £30 for both days. If you want to ‘wild camp’ it’ll be free, but for those who don’t fancy that I’ve been checking out prices of a local campsite, this is where it starts to get complicated, because if you are heading up in a group of you, you will split the costs, and the costs will be significantly different if you have a group of 20 or a group of 3. I am going to base my costs on a group of 5 adults, that will be travelling up on Friday and leaving Sunday evening. The cost at one camp site for a 5 birth tent would be £48. Divide that by 5 and you have £9.60, so camping will cost you £9.60, so far we are up to an individual cost of £39.60.
Now this is going to get even more complicated when trying to work out the cost of fuel, partly because fuel prices are fluctuating, partly because not everyone will be travelling from the same place, partly because different cars have different MPG’s and partly if you have a full car of people to split the petrol costs. Now this is the part that you have to ask around your group of loyal cycling friends, and find out who has the most economical vehicle, and try to sweet talk them into driving.
For the sake of working out a rough final cost I need to pick a vehicle and a location to start from. Okay then I’ve got it, I’m going to be driving a Peugeot 106 2005 model with 5 people in, the average mpg on that model is 46. I also will work this out as if I’m driving from Bristol, hopefully a lot of you will live further north which will make it cheaper! Bristol to Fort William is 475 miles if you go along the suggested Google maps route, which would be a 950 mile round trip. I have based the price of petrol at 134.9 pence per litre. The cost that I have worked that out as would be £126.55, split five ways would be £25.33. If you want to work out the exact cost of traveling for you in your car have a look here. Now let’s add this to the other costs, and this comes to £64.93, and for you ‘wild campers’ out there it would come to £55.33.
Avon Skin So Soft: £3
‘Wild campers’ Total: £58.33
So if you’re not doing anything on the 8-9 June, with a spare £70 grab a couple of your friends and get yourself up to this years Fort Bill World Cup.
Here’s some action from last years finals to get your world cup juices flowing.
Has anyone done it cheaper in the past? Or got any suggestions to get there cheaper?