Hanging out
in the Highlands

We're used to hearing about the lives of young people in cities - but what's it like to be a young adult in a remote area?

Meet three women in Fort William, as they reflect on life in rural Scotland.


Living here rather than in the city, I miss out on meeting lots of new people and on shopping. But I think people who live in a city miss out on close friendship networks.

One day I may leave but only to better my chances in a good career – I hope to become a counsellor or a psychologist.

The best thing about living here is mainly the scenery. On a good day it looks great – even when it’s raining it still looks pretty good.

Watching the sun come up when it’s six o’clock, when you’ve been awake all night you can see the red coming in through the window, it’s pretty cool, it’s lovely.

There isn’t much here for young people to spend their money on - I have bought the same shade of lipstick from Superdrug so many times.

It’s a nice sized town, but sometimes it feels a bit too small. Some people are very small minded too. But I wouldn’t change it.

The best place to eat is the fish and chip shop – I’m being biased as I used to work there.

There isn’t much to do in Fort William – particularly between the ages of 11 and 17. That’s where the problem of underage drinking comes in. People get busted for that.

I’ve never actually jumped in before, I’ve always been too scared. I’ve wanted to, but it feels too high. I should take the bull by the horns but I’m not sure if I’m ready yet.

Population 10,459

Most people would say Shinty is a man's sport, but in recent years girls shinty is becoming more and more popular.

It’s similar to hockey, just the stick is a different shape. You can long swing about your head in shinty. There are no limits.

The closest city is probably Inverness or Glasgow, about two hours’ away. We go to the cities to shop for clothes, make-up and shoes. I do miss not having big shopping centres.

Around here there aren’t really any clothes shops – it’s just mountain equipment shops. We all wear the same thing, unlike in the city. The style here is mostly Topshop jumpers, T-shirts and puffer jackets. People can be quite judgemental but everyone is polite.

Going to the city is something to look forward to – especially if we’ve got a night out planned.

I would probably say I look up to my dad the most as he is a great person with a positive attitude towards everything.

I used to think I wanted to join the police, but I want to stay here for a couple more years and see what the future brings - maybe one day I will join the police.

Most people say Fort William is boring and there is nothing to do, but I don't think I could ever leave as all my family are here.

There’s not much to do, so people have parties.

Driving is a big thing, no-one used to cruise until recently. Now people drive around the town - it’s just come on the scene, only like a year ago.

That’s where the boy things come in, boy racers, they just go around picking up girls. Because it’s such a small town, everyone knows everything. In our group, people date the same people a lot.

If we go to the city for a day, we call it a road trip. We go for a couple of days and by the time it’s over it’s so manic you’re just so happy to come home.

51.7 % female

The Uni (West Highland College UHI, University of the Highlands) here is really small. My friends were shocked when they came - their library is as big as my whole uni.

The first week I got here I wasn’t sure if I’d stay as there’s not much going on.

There’s not much to do so you mainly hang out with people from your course. It’s fun to be outside, I wouldn’t do that so much in the city where I’m from.

This is the perfect point to drive up to at night. Most people drive here, it's amazing living somewhere remote, but we need to get away sometimes. Me and my friends might drive to the city for a change. It's useful to have a car up here, it gives you freedom.

I wouldn't say you miss out on anything living here - you just have to adjust to a different lifestyle.

I will be leaving after my studies, but it's a place I will always come back to. It was a struggle for me to make the decision to stay in one place for four years, but coming up on half-way through, it still amazes me. I don't miss living in a city. People who live in cities can be too focused on little things.

I am easily distracted and can justify prioritising just about anything over getting an essay handed in.

Things that distract me are food, phone calls, washing dishes, research tangents and, of course, the big one - social media. It's a good day if I'm distracted by going out climbing or biking, though.