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As I have mentioned a few times, my parents are in the midst of a trip to Scotland. During the trip, my parents have been acting as “roving reporters”. For previous posts in the series, see
- I’m going to Europe (for 250,000 miles)
- Getting ready for a week in Scotland
- Turkish Airlines Lounge review Washington Dulles / IAD
- “Today was the worst day of my life“
Today’s report comes from my dad who shares his thoughts about riding the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing the Glenfinnan Viadcut as memorialized as the “Hogwarts Express” from the Harry Potter books.
I think today is our first day in Scotland that has gone pretty close to plan, with low stress levels, and been quite enjoyable (SEE ALSO: Today was the worst day of my life). We are in Fort William, a small seaport town at the head of Loch Linnhe, on the west coast of Scotland. This morning we visited the West Highland Museum, with some neat artifacts from the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Today’s big event was our ride on the Jacobite steam train. We had been unable to buy tickets in advance online (sold out!), so we tried our luck at getting aboard with same day tickets. We walked to the train station a few blocks away, arriving an hour early, and got into the queue. I’m sure that much of the popularity of this ride is due to the fact that this train and the Glenfinnan viaduct it crosses were featured in the Harry Potter movies (see below).
About 2:00pm the train pulled up o the platform, the ticket holders began boarding, and we held our breath. A couple of big groups of 6 or 8 people got on ahead of us. We stepped up, and the conductor sent us back to coach E, the 5th of 6 carriages. The seats are arranged in groups of 4, with 2 on each side of a small table. We sat down across from a younger couple just up on Holiday from the eastern midlands of England. We found out later heir names were Sam and Kelly. This was their first trip north into Scotland, so this was new terrain for all of us.
The 4-hour round trip heads west to the fishing village of Mallaig.
We had about a 2-hour layover there, enough time to get a seafood dinner at a local restaurant and stretch our legs a bit. I tried a Scottish soup called “Cullen Skink” which was good. Christy went with fish and chips. The scenery out and back was rugged and beautiful, the first I’ve rally seen of he highlands, because of rainy weather and having to keep my eyes on the road while driving. The craggy granite mountains seem covered with a green velvet blanket of heather and backen. We took lots of photos, which is sometimes hard to do from a moving train. Hopefully a few of them will do justice to their subject.
Pinned image CC By-SA from Wikimedia