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Published: September 12th 2011
Voted the most scenic rail journey in the world, the West Highland Rail link from Fort William to Mallaig cuts through brilliantly colourful glens and glistening lochs.
Today we have opted to follow this line by road.
From our humble abode, Ingrid and John shake their head again at the time we are leaving; we head north to Fort William before hanging a left onto the A830 and meander our way west along rocky crags and skirting the many lochs that border our journey.
The day has once again turned out to be mild with a few scattered clouds. The forecast is for heavy showers, reducing to thunder storms.
The Scottish open is currently underway (or should be) in the city of Inverness, several hours north of us and we are aware of the trouble they are having up there with torrential rains and wind squalls. Play was called off yesterday afternoon and doesn’t look like taking place today, players and spectators are none too happy.
The drive west is spectacular with numerous spots to stop and take in the views.
Mallaig is the main port and jump off point, on the north western coast
line of Scotland, to the Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides. Offering little of interest, Mallaig comes across as a hash and uninviting environment, breeding a tough and resilient personality.
After a light lunch we make tracks back towards Fort William, stopping at the tourist vista of Glenfinnan. As we arrive we notice a swarm of people standing at the outer perimeter of the car park, taking pictures of a steam train crossing a viaduct. As it would be this is the bridge and train made famous as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter series. Operating on a regular time table the Jacobite Steam Train weaves its way into people’s imagination on a daily basis. We didn’t get a photo of the train, but got one of the bridge, instead.
From Fort William we again turn left and follow Loch Lochy, through Invergarry and on to Fort Augustus. The loch system here is the start of the infamous Loch Ness.
Stretching 37 km and up to 230m deep, along the natural fault line that cuts through the Highlands, tens of thousands of visitors flock to this popular fresh water loch (each year) in the hope to
view Scotland’s most infamous “mythical” and elusive beast - The Loch Ness Monster. The first reported sighting was in 1933 and during the 1950’s the monster gained its popular nick name of “”Nessie”. To our dismay Nessie doesn’t rear her head today and as if on cue the weather turns decidedly nasty and we decide to head home.
Upon our return to our B&B we are greeted with a note, on our bedroom door, to the effect that Ingrid and John had headed out for dinner and that there was red wine and whisky on the table for us and we were to start without them and they would be home soon, to join us.
Ahh, what hosts.
Tomorrow we will pack up and make our way, south east, towards Edinburgh.
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