Leaving Portree the next morning with a heavy heart, we boarded the bus to the coastal town of Armadale, near the southern end of the Isle of Skye. We were just in time to board the ferry to Mallaig on the mainland, on a cloudy, windy afternoon.
The harbour town of Mallaig is so small, I had finished walking across it a few times by evening. The waterfront promenade was adorned with flower baskets of colourful petunias, fuscias and geraniums blooming, especially at the Tea Garden cafe, an idyllic place to sip that evening Cuppa.
The Moorings Guest house offering a spectacular view of the marina, as well as a homely comfortable ambience, was our cosy haven for the night.
The bright morning sun definitely brought out the rich colours of the pristine azure sea. It was time for us to bid adieu to this majestic view to set forth on the next part of our exciting journey which was “the Harry Potter Train” ride which also showcases some glorious landscapes.
Die hard Harry Potter fans don’t miss the souvenir store Haggard Alley and of course the reason we are all here is to get on the Jacobite steam train to Hogwarts !!
The Mallaig to Glasgow rail journey can be completed in about 6 hours by Scots Rail via Fort William (cheaper, less noisy and used more by the locals). The West Highland Railway steam train used in the Harry Potter films for the Hogwarts Express is slower but would be a must-do for Pottermaniacs (more expensive, noisy and packed with tourists). Whichever you chose, be sure to grab a window seat because the diversity of natural beauty unfolds outside the window is indeed a feast for the eyes.
As the train leaves Mallaig station, look out for the tranquil silvery beaches of Morar and he crystal blue waters at a distance, yet another cinematic location, the movie Local Hero.
Sit back to soak in some simply stunning views that include a mix of undulating coastline and rugged landscape dotted with lakes and mountains as the train weaves its way past Lochs Eilt
The approaching Viaduct of Glenfinnan certainly got our heart racing, as we exultantly scampered to get the best position for our photographs (and immediately share on Insta! #harrypotterbridge)
Running along the shores of Loch Eilt, the train chugs on to Fort William and you can capture more of this breathtaking beauty with your camera.
Past UK’s highest altitude train station, Corrour and then the landscape changes to the heather moors of Rannoch, a vast expanse of peat. The dramatically changing scenery is forever mesmerising and you will be enamoured by it
Passing through the Glencoe, you appreciate the suddenness of the transition between the high mountain pass and the lightly wooded strath.
The next hour or so you traverse along the shore of the Loch Lomond. The train ride does give you some vantage views of an incredible array of sites of the Trossachs National Park. Zipping through some dense forests, a journey that embraces adventure, until you approach the city of Glasgow
This rail journey in definitely for those who want to crave a deeper relationship with nature. If you had more time on hand, there are many places where you could certainly get off and delve deeper into the greenery.