Scotland – Thursday – Mallaig to Glenfinnan

The account of the first half of the return journey on The Jacobite.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This post commences the coverage of the return journey from Mallaig to Fort William on The Jacobite.

EXPLANATION

Why am I covering the return journey? Because although I was still on the non-ideal side of the train, rge fact that the locomotive runs around the train to be attached to the opposite end did mean that I was facing the direction of travel for the return journey, which meant that I got more and better photos than on the outward run.

MALLAIG TO GLENFINNAN

Although we would not be stopping for long enough for anyone to disembark on this return journey we would have a stop at Glenfinnan to allow a regular service to pass us. Thus, Glenfinnan once again forms a logical break poiny.

1134113611381144114811521156116111621169

GV1
Glenfinnan Viaduct through the window.

 

Scotland – Thursday: Mallaig

The stop in Mallaig.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series about my holiday in ScotlandThis post covers the hour and a half at Mallaig that The Jacobite allows. 

MALLAIG

Naturally, I commenced proceedings at Mallaig by taking the opportunity to get some photos of the train:

JacobiteIIThe JacobiteMHCnumberFront of LocoCabLogoLoco2

I had noticed the presence of a Heritage Centre close to the station. Unfortunately such is the extent to which Mallaig has embraced its status as a tourist trap that they were charging for admission, so I got nor further than the gift shop.

Jacobite train long viewJacobite Loco 3Jacobie Loco3Jacobite Loco2Skye + Wester RossJacobite LocoMHC2MHC1

The rain eased sufficiently for me to explore a little further.

Herring GullwagtailSea view

While on the train I had purchased a souvenir route map. In Mallaig I also bought a pictorial map of Skye and Wester Ross:

The Iron Road to the Isles
The route map.
Skye and Wester Ross 2
Two pics of the pictorial map.

Skye and Wester Ross

 

Scotland – Thursday: Glenfinnan to Mallaig

An account of the Glenfinnan-Mallaig section of The Jacobite journey.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This post covers the second half of the outward journey on The Jacobite, ending with our arrival at Mallaig. 

HEADING WEST

Although we did not stop between Glenfinnan and Mallaig, two stops before Mallaig on the regular route is Arisaig which has the distinction of being the westernmost mainline railway station on the British mainland. 

107210751076107710781079108010811082108310841085108610871088bird1090109110921093109410951097109810991100110111021103Arisaig sign

ARISAIG – MALLAIG

The finish of the journey provided few photo opportunities, although travelling back the other way (a journey I had previously made on a regular train in 1993) made up for this.

11061107

Loco1
The locomotive at Mallaig station – there are more shots of this to come in my next post, this being an aperitif.

Scotland – Thursday: The Preliminaries

Setting the scene for several posts about The Jacobite.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in this series of posts about my Scottish holiday. We have reached the Thursday, on which day my parents were scheduled to look at houses in the Fort William area (about two hours drive from where we were staying) and I was hoping that The Jacobite, a steam train journey from Fort William to Mallaig, an hour in Mallaig and then back, would be available as a way to fill my day.

THE PRELIMINARIES

The advance bookings for The Jacobite had closed, but tickets were available for purchase on the day. With this in mind we set forth from Ferry Cottage at about 7:30AM. Barring the very start of it I had never previously experienced the route between Glaick and Fort William before, and although the best pictures I got of it were on the way back having mentally noted potentially good possibilities on the way down, I did get a few pictures on this journey.

P1010004P1010008

P1010011
The white spots at the top of this hill are unmelted snow.

FORT WILLIAM STATION

We got to Fort William station just after 9:30, and an inquiry at the ticket office saw me pointed to a queue for the train. I joined this queue although I was not expecting success (I was assuming ill-fortune so that I could not be disappointed, only get a welcome bonus). However, as time passed and the queue moved forward with no-one being turned away I began to speculate on the possibilities. Then came the moment when I was the next person to be served and I thought that it would be seriously rough luck to miss out at that juncture. I was duly issued with a ticket and took my place in coach C. Lady Luck’s support had been limited – although I had a seat it was an aisle seat facing against the direction of travel, which meant that taking pictures of the journey would be a challenge.

P1010012
The Jacobite, Fort William Station
P1010013
Inside Coach C
P1010014
Slightly blurred, but proof that even from an aisle seat I could take pictures through the window.
P1010015
The ticket
P1010016
The back of the ticket.

Scotland: Setting the Scene

Setting the scene for a series of posts about my recent holiday in Scotland.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this first in what will be a substantial series of posts about my recent holiday in Scotland. Although I still have a lot of photo editing to do from said holiday I do now have enough photos at my disposal to start the series, and I will look to interleave the rest of the editing with producing posts for you. 

THE HOLIDAY TIMELINE

I travelled up on May 26th and back on June 4th. These two dates were entirely taken up with travelling (14 hours each way approximately). In between these two days there were:

  • Saturday – most of the day spent waiting for my parents to arrive so we could go up to the house that would be our base for the week, three miles from Kyle of Lochalsh.
  • Sunday – a quiet day featuring some walking in the immediate vicinity of the house
  • Monday – A walk to Kyle of Lochalsh, lunch there and a bus back. A quiet afternoon. 
  • Tuesday – a visit to the Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye.
  • Wednesday – a brief visit to Plockton to book the a table at the Plockton Inn for supper, a trip to Applecross and then back to Plockton for the supper (the birthday meal).
  • Thursday – The Jacobite Rail Journey (steam train between Fort William and Mallaig, a section of railway known to vast numbers of movie goers as the route of the Hogwarts Express).
  • Friday – the final full day.

THE LOCATION

Kyle of Lochalsh is on the mainland of northwestern Scotland, very close to the Isle of Skye, to which it is nowadays linked by a road bridge. Ferry Cottage, where we were staying is located at Glaick (pronounced Glike), three miles from Kyle of Lochalsh. Here are some maps for further clarification:

Decorative MapWestern Isles Map, Ferry CottageMap, Ferry CottageLocal MapJigmap1Jigmap6Jigmap7

SOME PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE AREA

Here are a few photos from the immediate area in which we were staying:

P1000267

Kyleaking from above
Kyleakin viewed from high above
Ferry Cottage
Ferry Cottage, where we stayed.

Skye Bridge from above

Kyle of Lochalsh from above
Kyle of Lochalsh from above

Loch Alsh from the bridgeKyle and the minor bridgeKyle of Lochalsh from the bridgeView from the Skye BridgeUnder Bridge ViewLighthouse below bridgeSkye Bridge minorSkye Bridge both bits

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage2
These last two pictures show the stretch of shoreline that includes Ferry Cottage.

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage

THOMAS’ CALENDAR CHALLENGE

I saw some quite amazing scenery while in Scotland, and it has become something of a tradition to produce a photographic wall calendar each year. A number of my Scottish pictures will undoubtedly feature. If in the course of this series of posts you see a picture that catches your eye as worth a place in the calendar there are two things I invite you to do:

  1. Post a comment identifying the photo that has caught your eye and/ or…
  2. Create a blog post about the picture that has caught your eye explaining what it means to you and why you think it should be included. If you do this I will reblog your post.

Should you succeed in convincing me to include the picture in my calendar I will give you credit for doing so. I end with two final pictures, the second of which is almost certain to be in the calendar:

Double Framed Lighthouse
A rarity – the lighthouse is framed twice over, once by the bridge and once by the masts of the boat in the foreground.
steamer1
This is the view across Loch Alsh from outside Ferry Cottage on a sunny day (yes, Scotland does have such things) with the additional feature of the world’s last remaining ocean going paddle steamer – this will almost certainly be in the calendar.

Booking a Trip to Scotland: British Public Transport Daftness Exposed

A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.

INTRODUCTION

My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:

tickets
Can you see what it is about these tickets that even before I go any further reveals an element of daftness in British Public Transport?

BOOKING THE JOURNEY

Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn? 

The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.

KL-Ky
Note the difference in price between this ticket and the one from Peterborough (almost £60!!)
Peterborugh-Kyle
Given the immense price difference, the booking from Peterborough was bound to leave my up on the transaction (as you will see after these pictures in point of fact to the tune of some £50)
Outbound
My outbound journey.
return
The suggested return journey (don;t worry parents, I can also get back leaving on the later train from Kyle, at 12:08 and arriving home around about midnight)
KL - Peterborough
Even were I to rely on train for the King’s Lynn to Peterborough and back section of the journey two anytime day singles (the max I would have had to pay), would have set me back a mere £24.60 as opposed to price difference on the all-in-one of almost £60, but….

I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn. 

You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…

COLLECTING THE TICKETS

The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:

ticketholder

Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.

library

Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…

DSCN5103machineoo

I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?

Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:

plaque

Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig. 

I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)

traveldocstickets