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Driving to Mallaig from Fort William instead of Train

I rode the Jacobite Steam train last summer because that was on her must wish list. While I thoroughly enjoyed it I wondered about driving to Mallaig instead. I am going back in July and my husband too has expressed a desire to ride the train. However based on the itinerary I've set up and difficulty in trying to change lodging (going to Uig on Skye as next stop from Glencoe) I wondered if it might not be a beautiful drive versus riding the train? Train is avail in the afternoon on desired date but that puts us back at Fort William at almost 7pm and rhen it would be an almost 3 hr drive to Uig.

Any other suggestions? Lodging is so difficult on Skye and we were fortunate to get lodging at same guest house as last year right on the water.

Posted by
6402 posts

The road basically follows the railway line, so why don't you drive to Mallaig (as you've done the train) and let other members of the family ride the steam train. There will be places like Glenfinnan (where the train stops for long enough to see the station) or maybe the viaduct (if you can get parked) and Arisaig station (where you can stand on the platform as the train passes through) where you can wave to each other.
While they are not selling single tickets this year there is no reason why those who have ridden the train can't just "forget" to catch the train for it's return journey.
It makes it a seriously expensive single journey, but that seems the most efficient way to keep marital harmony.
Then you could get a late afternoon ferry from Mallaig to Armadale (Skye) for the drive to Uig.
Alternatively there is the regular scheduled diesel train which is hugely cheaper and travels along the same tracks, and sees exactly the same scenery.
You could all catch the lunchtime one of those- you could still see the steam train earlier at Fort William, and would see it during the diesel train's stay at Malliag. That would get you back into Fort William about 2 hours earlier.
It is not in my opinion sensible to be arriving on Skye at dusk at 10 pm or later just to ride on a steam train.

Posted by
1838 posts

When I was there last May. I couldn’t get tickets for the train. We did stop at the glenfinnan aqueduct as the train came by on the way to Mallaig. That was great fun. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the parking are to the aqueduct. We walked underneath it and up the hillside to catch the train as it approached and crossed the aqueduct.

In Mallaig we had a great meal at a restaurant called the cabin. It was crowded when the train was in town but cleared quickly as the people headed back for the return ride.