When I was asked to go on the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig I jumped at the chance! Having never been as far north as Mallaig and having the Jacobite train on my to-do list I couldn’t wait!
So off I went, I got the West Highland line from Glasgow to Fort William which is a great train journey in itself as I got to enjoy the sights of Roy Bridge, Tulloch, Corrour and Rannoch. I had a lovely overnight stay in Fort William before setting off to the train station for my Jacobite adventure. The Jacobite is described as one of the greatest railway journeys of the world – and how true this is!
There is never a dull mile on this route - the train starts under the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it then visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig -from here, on a clear summer's day you can see the "Small Isles" of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. The train continues on from here passing Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films "Highlander" and "Local Hero" and finally arriving at the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis – what is not to love about this journey!
During the train journey it passes over the Glenfinnan viaduct which was used for its dramatic setting as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films. This really is the highlight of the journey as you get a stunning view towards the Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel.
The train departs Fort William at 1015 and arrives into Mallaig at 1225 (An afternoon service has been introduced for the peak season of 3rd June - 30th August. During these dates, a train will depart Fort William at 14:30 on Mondays to Fridays). Arriving in Mallaig you can enjoy a walk round and take in the local atmosphere. There are shops, bars, restaurants and plenty of fish and chips to be enjoyed. From Mallaig you have the option to return to Fort William on the Jacobite Steam Train, take the bus back to Fort William or jump on the Calmac ferry across to the Isle of Skye – I took the onward journey to Skye as the ferry times work in conjunction with the train to make this one extremely seamless journey – an experience I feel everyone should have the chance to enjoy!
If you love the idea of watching the Scottish Highland landscape unfold from the comfort of the West Highland train line, coupled with walking the most famous of Scotland’s national trails ‘the West Highland Way’ then our West Highland: Rail & Hike trip is the perfect option for you. The trip has something for everyone from sailing across to the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond to following the tracks across remote Rannoch Moor and finishing exploring the paths and trails at Glen Nevis with the option to climb Ben Nevis.