The West Highland Railway Lines

The Kyle Line

From Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh.
Leaving Inverness, the line curves around the western edge of the Beauly Firth to Dingwall before heading West through mountains and lochs, through Strath Bran and Glen Carron, before the final few miles from Strath Carron, alongside Loch Carron into the small port of Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast.

Kyle of Lochalsh was a one-time ferry port for the Isle of Skye, before the opening of the nearby road bridge in 1995.

Train frequency: Inverness-Kyle – two return trips each day; one on Sundays.
Journey time – 2 and a half hours (one-way)

This is one of the truly wonderful train trips in the UK, the scenery is spectucular and no matter how often you travel it the views are different.

From snow covered peaks to mirror like lochs, small hamlets such as Plockton (location for the BBC’s series Hamish Macbeth and some scenes from The Wicker Man) and Strathcarron, this is eye popping countryside.

Here are just a few pictures taken during the train ride.

Click on any of the photos to see an enlargement.

Loch carron 1 Loch Carron 2 Loch Carron 3 Loch Carron 5
Loch Carron
Near Attadale
Loch Carron
Near Strome Ferry
Near Druirinish
The Kyle Line
Loch Carron
Near Attadale

This is a rail trip not to be missed, bookings can be made on line.

The West Highland Line

From Fort William to Mallaig
The West Highland Line could be said to start from Glasgow, then it splits some 40 miles north of the city and offers two wonderful trips, carrying travellers either across to the west coast and Oban, or northward to Fort William and Mallaig.

It is the section from Fort William to Mallaig that I find most scenic and that is the part I want to share here today.

From Fort William you hug the bank of Loch Eil for almost six and a half miles before experiencing the iconic curve of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, immortalised by the Harry Potter films as part of the route to Hogwarts.

The station at Glenfinnan boasts a restored dining car for delicious home baking or a light lunch, also visit the Museum Exhibition to find out how the railway from Glasgow to Mallaig was built, and learn about the men who built it.

Fort William Station 1 Caledonian Canal 2 Glenfinnan Viaduct 3 Glenfinnan Station
Fort William
The Caledonian Canal
Near Fort William
Glenfinnan Viaduct

After enjoying the stark beauty of Lochs Eilt, Ailort and Nan Uamh you’ll find yourself in yet another movie location as Morar’s sandy shores glide into view, home to the characters of Local Hero. And before you know it, you’ll have reached Mallaig where the views to the Isle of Skye will surely tempt you into taking the short ferry trip across to the island itself.

Tickets can be purchased at Fort William Station or in advance through Scotrail. The journey time between Fort William and Mallaig takes just under 1½ hours.
Glenfinnan Loch Shiel 2 Near Beasdale Station 3 Mallaig Station
Loch Shiel
Near Beasdale Station

Mallaig is a lovely place to visit and there are plenty of opportunities to have lunch or just walk along the pier and admire the fishing boats.
If you get an early enough train, in most cases you would still have time for a sail across to The Isle of Skye.
Only about 200 yards from Mallaig Station is the Cal-Mac booking office and the foot passenger ticket is very reasonably priced, but be quick, it's a long walk back to Fort William if you dally too long.

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