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Steamy Steamy Steam – Why the Jacobite Steam Train Journey should be on your bucket list.

Ever fancied poking your head through an open window, tongue flapping in the wind, like an overexcited puppy? That’s probably because you’re

  1. strange.
  2. an overexcited puppy.
  3. a Harry Potter Steam Train fan.

Tickets for the Jacobite Express are tricky to get,  but come with me on a tour and we can have a head out, tongue wagging, who cares how weird we look, trip of a lifetime. My fellow guides and I are thrilled skinny that there’s now several of our tours that come with a trip on the steam train included!

No matter which of the tours you take, the 2 hour (ish) train journey takes you from Fort William to Mallaig or Mallaig to Fort William. Or both if you’re joining our 2-day Jacobite & The Great Glen tour.

At the railway station, we will head down to the front of train for a fantabulosa photo opportunity. It’s all steam and pistons and terribly 1950’s awesomeness. Seated? Fabulous. A scenic trip of a lifetime. From Fort William, as soon as you leave the station, a view of the old Inverlochy Castle pops up on your right. Built by the lords of Badenoch, the red Comyns, until they annoyed the Bruce and he gave them a right telling off, psycho Bob style, ask your guide for details.

The train then heads past the Caledonian Canal through the most exquisite landscape, forged by fire and ice. Then it’s time to cross over the Glenfinnan viaduct – the one where Harry Potter dangles out of a flying car as he heads to Hogwarts. You’ll be able to see the Prince Charlie Memorial, built over 200 years ago in 1815 as a tribute to ‘the generous zeal and undaunted bravery’ of the Highlanders who ‘fought and bled in that arduous and unfortunate enterprise’ – the 1745 Jacobite Rising.

After a short stop at the Glenfinnan railway museum, you’ll pass Dumbly Dores island, I say Dumbly Dore because you also pass Loch Shiel where the boat carrying the students from Beauxbatons (the French wizarding school) and the excellent Madame Maxime emerges. The island is to the right and it’s the one with the tilted tree (remember your camera!). Then on to Mallaig for fish and chips. Hurrah.

Or, if you’re feeling energetic, you could do the Mallaig Circuit Walk and soak up some stunning views over Mallaig harbour and across Loch Nevis to Knoydart…then it’s time to hop aboard the Jacobite Steam Train or join the ferry to Skye (depending on which tour you choose).

Whichever one you join, you could be giggling with the majestic Maj, enthralled by the eager Eddie, captivated by the enigmatic Alex (couldn’t think of an acceptable pronoun beginning with A for Alex) or wondering what on earth you did in a past life to get lumbered with me in this one. Whoever you get it’s a ride on one of the top 5 steam train journeys in the world. Altogether now- to the tune of ABBA’s Money Money –

Steamy Steamy,

Steamy Steamy,

Steamy Steamy Steam.


-Rob Hall