The journey from Fort Williams to Mallaig has been described as one of the great railway journeys of the world.
It starts near Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain and visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig.
It passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, before arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis.
The steam engine and carriages were used in the Harry Potter films for the ‘Hogwarts Express’ and travels over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which has shown on the Harry potter films.
What is the Journey Like?
So, what is the journey like? I travelled on the train to experience this spectacular journey and was not disappointed. Booking the journey is essential as the train is very popular. The train has both first and second class carriages and the carriages are old British Rail ones from the 1960’s.
The morning train left at 10.20 from Fort William arriving at Mallaig at 12.25. It was travelling at a leisurely pace to Mallaig so there were plenty of opportunities to admire the scenery on the way. The weather was warm and sunny so the views were excellent.
The train stopped at a 1930’s style Glenfinnan Station for 20 minutes before travelling over the Viaduct, which was one of the highlights of the trip. This proved very popular with the passengers, who rushed to view the viaduct from the windows when the train passed over it.
The train travelled through some spectacular country and the many hills and lochs provided pleasant views for the passengers. Some passengers were seen sipping fine wine from glasses as the train meandered through the countryside to Mallaig.
Arriving at Mallaig
At 12.25 it arrived at Mallaig for a short stop before leaving for the return journey back to Fort William. Mallaig is a pleasant coastal town and is the port for the ferry to Skye. It is a busy place with fishing boats unloading their catches and the ferry taking passengers to and from Skye.
Lunch in Mallaig consisted of haddock and chips from the local fish and chip shop next to the railway station.
At 14.10, the train left Mallaig to travel back to Fort William. This gave me the chance to sit on the other side of the train to get a different view of the country on the journey home. The good weather continued and I was able to get a good view of the viaduct on the way back.
Back in Fort William
Arrived back in Fort William at 16.00 and spent some time there before travelling back to Glasgow.
This was a fabulous journey and very enjoyable as the scenery was spectacular. It did get smokey at times when the train travelled through tunnels and the smoke entered the carriages, but this did not cause much discomfort.
This train journey is recommended. The train runs from May to the end of October every year.
Map of the Route