photo credit: Christoph Strassler The Jacobite Steam Train in Fort William Railway Station
There are many Harry Potter fans in my house but my husband is probably the biggest fan of the lot having read all the books in the series many times over. When we lived in Edinburgh he studied not far from the Elephant House cafe where J.K. Rowling apparently wrote the first book in her series. We now we have two boys and like their dad they are also avid readers of the books.
If you’ve not read my about page then you may not know that we are from Scotland. Though we live in Mississippi we do try and visit home as often as we are able so that we can keep up with family and allow our boys to enjoy the wonderful Scottish scenery and cultural heritage we were privileged to grow up with.
In the summer of 2014 we took a trip back to Scotland for several weeks and fell right into full on tourist mode! We took a lot of day trips and one of the highlights for the entire family was a ride on the award winning Jacobite Steam Train. It’s a steam locomotive operated as a tourist train on part of the West Highland Railway Line from Fort William to Mallaig.
photo credit: Rebecca Siegel The interior of the First Class Carriage on the Jacobite Steam Train
We began our journey in a very rainy Fort William, it was pretty typical weather for the West of Scotland in July! The train carriage interior is not luxurious as the carriages date from the 1950’s and 1960’s, but they are comfortable and we enjoyed sitting together at a table and hanging out the window on the door in between the carriages to get a good view. If you want to really splash out then you can buy a first class ticket and travel in style!
The route is stunning and takes in some breathtaking scenery along the way including the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the beautiful Victorian railway bridge made famous in the flying car scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie. West Coast Railways which is the company that own the Jacobite train service provided Warner Brothers with the locomotive used as the Hogwarts Express train in all of the movies and allowed them use of the Jacobite’s route for filming.
The train journey took us over the Glenfinnan Viaduct and into Glenfinnan Railway Station for a short stop before carrying on towards Mallaig. Once we arrived at our destination we had a couple of hours to spend in Mallaig so we headed for one of the many tea shops in the village for hot tea and scones. Someone spied a used bookstore on the pier so we went in there and the boys found a couple of paperbacks for their return journey. We had a little wander around the pier and enjoyed watching the car ferry that runs from Mallaig to Armadale on the Isle of Skye unload all of it’s cars and passengers, and if you’ve never been to the Isle of Skye then you must add it to your list of places to visit!
It was a little brighter and the rain had stopped by the time we boarded the train for our return journey, so I was able to get a bit better view from the window than I had on the outbound trip. In all it was a great day out for the whole family and was one of the highlights of our visit home to Scotland.