Day 204 The Jacobite

One of the main reasons for staying one week on the west coast of Scotland was so we would be close to Fort William to catch the Jacobite train; made famous in the Harry Potter movies when it is shown going over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.  Harris and I are both Harry Potter fans so it was something we were keen to do, plus the train ride is listed as one of ‘the’ train rides to do in the world.  When we were ordering tickets online we could only order 2 seats together.  If we had ordered further seats they would be seated apart.  Obviously we couldn’t have a child seated separately to a parent so we decided on buying just the two tickets.  Steve and Patrick would find their own adventure for the day… which they did very well.

We all made it to Fort William in good time to park the car; buy some snacks at Morrison’s supermarket, right beside the station and get to the station.  I’m sure everyone else catching the train was doing the same thing because the supermarket was extremely busy. With our Scottish pies, lollies and drinks in hand we headed to the station.  No tickets, just flash your iPad screen with the confirmation email!  Steve and Patrick saw us off and then they jumped into the car and drove to the Caledonian Canal locks to watch the train cross over the rail bridge and wave to us.

Our seats were comfy, the lollies were yum, the whistle blew and the train left Fort William, heading for Mallaig, a small fishing port.  As we passed over the rail bridge just out of Fort William we spotted Steve and Patrick and waved madly to them before quickly disappearing down the tracks on our way to Mallaig.  A volunteer came round the carriages selling souvenier maps for 1 pound.  We weren’t intending to buy one but the man beside us with his wife bought us one!  Thanks whoever you were.  It actually was worth buying, so if you ride the Jacobite, shell out 1 pound for the map as we referred to it frequently throughout the journey.

I couldn’t tell you how long the ride to Mallaig was without checking the times on the iPad but it isn’t important because the whole ride was enjoyable. Best part of the journey of course is going over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.  We were so lucky to have some of the best seats in the house; a middle carriage with a window seat.  Check out the photo. 

The train is just as much a tourist attraction to be on as it is to watch it go by and along the way we saw numerous groups of people strategically placed to get great photos of the Jacobite.  It would really be a great sight to see the train crossing the viaduct.

Mallaig is a small fishing town on the coast of Scotland; the gateway to the western islands.  What’s in Mallaig?  Not a great deal in fact. 

Harris and I walked around the town, bought a postcard and a stamp just before the post office closed; saw both supermarkets; the two giftshops; and then down to the dock to watch the activity. 

Whilst we watching the large ferries disembarking, that’s when we spotted it …

a seal!  Isn’t he/she gorgeous! This was the first and best photo I managed to get of the seal because it would pop up so quickly and in a different spot each time and then disappear just as fast. 

After seeing the seal pop up three times, we headed off to buy an icecream so it could be eaten before getting back on the train.  We made it back to our carriage but our seat allocation had changed and we were to face backwards for the return journey.  The view was just as enjoyable regardless of the direction you faced. Steve and Patrick met us at the station and we bid farewell to the Hogwarts’ Express. What a great outing.  I highly recommend the ride but if you have sensitive eyes, take your eye drops; I was wishing I had mine with me.  If you are asthmatic then take a puffer or maybe consider not riding the train because your other passengers may not be switched on enough to work out that when you go through a tunnel you really should close the windows to stop the smoke streaming in, and I mean streaming!   Apart from that … ride the Jacobite!


1 Comment »

  • Win Bartholomai August 31, 2011

    Wow, now that’s something to talk about, Harris. You will be the envy of all your school mates. What an impresssive viaduct.

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