About a week after our failed attempt at capturing the Jacobite train pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Tim and I for real took a journey on the Hogwarts Express.
Well, not for real, but as real as you can get if you’re a Muggle. The Jacobite Steam Train operates train journeys from Fort William to Mallaig, passing the highest mountain, shortest river and deepest loch in Britain through the rugged Scottish landscape.
“The greatest railway journey in the world”
We were coming straight from Skye so we took the afternoon service, which departs Fort William at 2.30pm. We took the standard service, which meant that we shared a table of four with another couple. By this stage we had been married for a grand total of two days and soon discovered that the couple opposite us had celebrated their 25 year anniversary on the same day.
The train journey to Mallaig is beautiful. I could never tire of the Scottish landscape. Tim of course was one of the crazed photographers hanging out of the windows of the train trying to get the best angle. It is a bit of a battle at the windows, especially when you pass over the Viaduct. Everyone wants ‘that shot’. At one stage, I was hanging out the window for Tim to get a photo and I nearly got wiped out by a tree.
The train journey to Mallaig takes about 2 hours and if you have chosen the return journey to Fort William, you have about 2 hours to explore the small fishing village.
I will never forget our time in Mallaig. It is the first time I got to use the word ‘husband’ to someone other than Tim. Tim was in the bathroom, the waitress needed the bill to be paid and I said ‘Sorry, my HUSBAND is just in the bathroom with his wallet’. So yeah, Mallaig is cool.
The train then leaves Mallaig and arrives back in Fort William at about 8.30pm. It’s a perfect half day journey and an awesome way to sit back and take it all in.
In terms of the Harry Potter-ness, they don’t have much going on. There is a small souvenir shop in one of the carriages, but there isn’t all that much to chose from. I actually like the fact that they haven’t bought in too much to the Hogwarts Express hype. Although, I did see one passenger dressed in Harry Potter robes…
How to get there
Fort William is the largest town in the Highlands and lies in the shadow of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. It is a 2 hour, 45 minute drive from Glasgow, passing through the amazing Loch Lomond National Park.
Where to park
We parked in the public car park across the road from Lidl. All day parking only cost about £2 – I thought that was well worth it. The walk to the train station from there is about 5 minutes.
Buying tickets for the Jacobite
You can purchase tickets and find out further information online here. I would definitely purchase tickets in advance as this train journey is super popular.
Tim’s weigh in
I loved the train journey and although I managed to resist taking photos on the way there, on the return leg I couldn’t help myself. Be warned though, you will get coal in your face and hair if you stick your head out the window!