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West Highland Railway Line, Scotland

Sunday, February 07, 2010

This evening, my theme is the famous West Highland line which has just been voted as the world's greatest rail journey for a second time.

Before going into details of the rail journey, I will first cover off daily developments, viz:

Glasgow Ancestry: Posted to my separate GlasgowAncestry blog information on the Lowndes family at Paisley, Scotland.

Glasgow Weather: Dull, mild and overcast but basically dry.

Arranging Tours: Corresponded with various clients in regard to tours which are in process of finalisation. Responded to enquiry from Germany for a group seeking a DVD of a Highland Games for which I recommended they visit the Braemar Gathering website. This evening I will be attending to micro details of a lengthy self drive tour of England, Scotland and Ireland.

West Highland Line: Over the weekend the press reported that this journey from Glasgow to Mallaig, covering 164 miles, has been voted (by readers of Wanderlust magazine) as the world's greatest rail journey, even surpassing the Trans-Siberian Express and the Orient Express. I have personally undertaken this rail journey a couple of times and am not sure if I am as enthused as the Wanderlust readers. The journey is slow with many stops, refreshments average and the carriages not exactly state of the art. On the plus side, views are stunning IF you obtain a window seat on the appropriate side of the train and the weather is fine.

The West Highland route takes in Loch Long, Loch Lomond, Loch Etive and Loch Eil. For passengers interested in engineering,the line crosses the world's first concrete rail viaduct at Glenfinnan. Glenfinnan is where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in 1745 in an ultimately doomed attempt to wrest back the thrones of England and Scotland for the Stewarts. This is also one of the best locations to view the famous 'Harry Potter' steam train as it trundles over the bridge as per this video clip.

During the summer months, the Jacobite Express ( aka 'Harry Potter' train) operates a regular steam train service on part of the West Highland route, between Fort William and Mallaig, which is extremely popular with families because of the Harry Potter connection. Here is a video clip of the train as it winds its way up from Fort William.

In course of my tours I travel this route by road many times, particularly on the way to/from Isle of Skye. Lots of photo opportunities!

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