To catch the train at Kyle of Lochalsh we travelled along the length of Loch Ness passing Urquhart Castle en route; the castle was blown up by Government troops in 1689 to prevent it's use by Jacobites.
Nessie didn't put in an appearance for us
Eilan Donnan Castle situated on the cusp of three sea lochs - Long, Duich and Alsh is one of my favourite Scottish castles sitting alone in majestic scenery.
Joined to the mainland by a causeway to prevent it being cut off by tidal waters each day.
The road bridge to the Isle of Skye
"Ferry me across the water,
Do, boatman, do."
"If you've a penny in your purse
I'll ferry you".
"I have a penny in my purse,
And my eyes are blue;
So ferry me across the water,
Do, boatman, do."
"Step into my ferry-boat,
Be they black or blue,
And for the penny in your purse
I'll ferry you."
We crossed over the sea to Skye many years ago, and at that time travel was by ferry only, but since 1995 a new bridge carries you over. When the bridge first opened the toll fee was very expensive but it was removed completely in 2004 following an acrimonious campaign by the locals who found it far too expensive. The island in the middle called Eilan Ban is where Gavin Maxwell lived, author - Ring of Bright water. One of the bridge supports sits on the island.
Ruins of Dunscaith castle, Skye. Originally the castle belonged to the Clan MacDonald of Sleat.
The clock is ticking, the Kyle of Lochalsh train is ready - back across the bridge on the mainland opposite Skye our departure to Inverness is imminent.
The Scottish West Highland train journey from Fort William to Mallaig is considered to be one of the world's great little train journeys. The Caledonian Sleeper leaves London for the Highlands every evening. The following morning your breakfast is accompanied by views of lichen covered oak trees, bubbling brooks, the might of Ben Nevis with it's surrounding mountains, and deer bounding away as the train passes by.
The sleeper train terminates at Fort William, but you can then catch the local train, as we did, for the 41 mile journey to the end of the line at Mallaig. There is also a steam train called the Jacobite which operates daily from mid May to mid October.
Before arriving at Fort William we passed through the Commando's training ground near Spean Bridge with its tribute memorial to all those who have lost their lives in WWII and continue to do so today in Afghanistan.
Leaving Fort William the train skirts Loch Eil. The base of Ben Nevis is to the left. This and the following photos were all taken from the train window so have unavoidable reflections and movement within them.
The train crosses Glenfinnan viaduct, which featured in the 'Harry Potter' films. Built in 1901, it was one of the first rail viaducts built of concrete.
Steaming in - Mallaig terminus
Mallaig is the boat ferry highway to the ancient volcanic islands of Skye, Muck, Eigg and Rum - it is interesting to imagine how this chain of islands must have appeared when active 55 million years ago.
The birds enjoyed our lunch too!!!
Homeward bound we passed Glenfinnan - the Jacobite monument to the clansmen who followed Prince Charles Edward in the 1745 rising for the Stuart cause.
Glenfinnan sits on the edge of beautiful Loch Shiel.