Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig

17 Oct


Gog showed up , bang on time again, in his Taxi. He took us to “Easy Car” , not far from the town centre. They had brought up the hirecar from Glasgow and all our luggage just about went into the boot. My son in law does not do things by halves. A 4WD., Volvo XC60 Auto was soon to be in our hands. The car was taken by Easy Car to Mallaig , ready for when we got off the train.


Gog then took a much reduced load to the station where the Jacobite Steam train was warming up for the trip to Mallaig. We climbed aboard and joined lots of people, out to have fun on another (!) sunny day. The train is dog friendly and we had a quiet and friendly whippet cross next to us , across the aisle. Known for their endearing nature, he was not a bit of trouble , even when we ate a cream tea of scones and jam, right in front of him, once underway. The scenery was stunning. As you would expect in the Big Country!


Just before Glenfinnan Viaduct, where, famously, Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express, had a couple of adventures, we had lovely views of Loch Shiel and the surrounding mountains. Magical.


Every available window was filled by a photographer, so my snapshot shows fellow passengers and just a glimpse of the viaduct itself. At least my finger is not in this particular shot.

We made a short stop at Glenfinnan and we saw a poignant reminder of how this country can turn feral. A snow plough retired to a sidings. It reminded me of the black and white newsreels of the winters of 1963 and 1964  when the whole of the UK had major snow issues.




We arrived in Mallaig far too quickly and the car and luggage awaited us across the road from the station. We had some time to kill before the ferry departed and so we had a lingering lunch in a superb sea food restaurant. Tampura Monk fish with sweet chilli and a Monk Fish Thai curry. As I was not driving, I even had an early afternoon coffee with whisky and cream float. Decadent!

We were soon on the ferry and on our way to Skye. Warm and dry enough to sit outside, on deck with big sky views of blue sea and softly coloured hillsides of the mainland.


We had seen one of our first stealth campervans in Mallaig, along with an adventure camper and a demountable on a 4 x 4. More on this topic later.


I remember once, aged just sixteen, being in some French village, full of young daredevils riding their tuned up and overbored (illegal) mopeds around in the sun. My bike as back home in Blighty and my goodness, I really missed it. I wanted to join in the fun and enjoy warm weather biking at it’s best. I felt a bit like that, seeing these camper vans in their element at Mallaig. It would have been great to have the NV200 up there with us to enjoy. On Skye, despite having the best of times, this feeling would deepen. It is a wonderland for camper vanning , stealth camping  and motorhomes.


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