Friday 28 August 2015
Trains from Glasgow to Mallaig
Knoydart Ferry Office
I was up early after a comfortable night on Maggie’s sofa. Due to a technical hitch with the shower I had my first bath in ages and then it was a dash across Glasgow City centre to Queens Street train station. Maggie even provided me with a packed lunch, I was feeling very well looked after.
The train to Fort William was running late and was packed full, although no one sat next to me and I don’t even smell at this point! I sat back and enjoyed the scenery as we headed up some amazing valleys and seemed to be following a bit of the West Highland Way. In spite of the usual low cloud I’ve become used to in Scotland that does its best to obscure the views, the journey was picturesque and the train’s trolley dolly was excellent in pointing out landmarks if she came past you at the right time.
Although the train went all the way to Mallaig I disembarked at Fort William in order to catch the Jacobite steam train that runs twice a day from Fort William to Mallaig. This is the same one that I had watched go over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the one that Harry Potter catches to Hogwarts.
What a treat. The scenery was stunning and the sights and sounds of the steam and the train whistle made it a fun trip. This time I was the one waving from the train at all the spectators as we rode over the viaduct.
I arrived in Mallaig and went straight to the ferry ticket office as I had a notion I’d catch the last ferry to Knoydart and camp there (there are no campsites in Mallaig). Unfortunately the ferry was fully booked, but fortunately the man in the office very kindly offered me the chance to sleep in the office (a bit like a portacabin) overnight. Bonus. Somewhere dry, warm, with a toilet, a kettle and wifi for the night. I didn’t need persuading. This gesture is a good example of Highland friendliness towards strangers. I was left to make myself at home and given the keys to lock the door. I merely have to open the office up for the boat skipper in the morning!
It was nice to be back in a familiar town and I headed to the Clachain Inn for some dinner (my 3rd time in this pub so I must be a regular). My overriding impression of the day was a good feeling to be coming back to the Highlands. I really like it up here; the people, the scenery and the wildlife.