While preparing for my first Rail & Hike trip I was a bit nervous about not being able to navigate the path or not being able to complete the walk. How I was wrong. The train section of my Rail and Hike trip was great. Doing part of your trip by train allows you to see the wonderful sights of that part of Scotland from the comfort of the train. The West Highland rail line is great! You leave the suburbs of Glasgow and are immersed into Loch Lomond, a beautiful sight! And seeing this all from the comfort of the train makes the first day of your trip more relaxing. After a wonderful stay at Ardlui, you get the boat across the Loch to start your first days walk. After realising how well way-marked the path is, walking it was great! No way of wandering off track and I was just bringing the map out to see how far I had walked or how far I had to go that day.
The sights along the path of the West Highland Way are great! It’s such a mixture of landscapes and terrain that you are walking on. Leaving Loch Lomond behind, you walk through forests, open spaces, moor land, farmland and old military roads. And look out for the animals. Walking past wild deer and hearing the stag in the hills in the distance was a treat! Having been in that part of Scotland a number of times by car it was a delight to finally walk in the rugged landscape that I have seen so much of. Don’t get me wrong, parts of the walk are tough. (Well for me anyway as a first-time walker) I wouldn’t say any specific day was tough just some sections along the way. But the reward of the view at the top of a steep incline or reaching the top of the Devils Staircase (which I really enjoyed doing) is just fantastic!
And don’t forget to turn around. When you are walking you look at what’s to come. Standing at the top of the Devils Staircase and looking back down the valley towards Kingshouse was just a delight! After finishing your walk in Fort William you deserve a hearty meal before your train ride the next morning. The Jacobite is a great train experience. The ride over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on a steam train is just a delight! And again that part of Scotland is just stunning! After my five days of walking, it was great to sit and look at the beautiful lochs, hills and sights that train line has to offer. And don’t forget to look at the stunning white beaches on your way into Mallaig. On a sunny day, it really is a beautiful sight! If you wish any further information on this fantastic trip, please do not hesitate to contact the team for more details. You can see more information on the trip here.