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Category: Scotland

Jacobite Steam Train – Harry Potters Hogwarts Express

Jacobite Steam Train – Harry Potters Hogwarts Express

Jacobite steam train to some – Harry Potters Hogwarts Express to others, this is the legendary train which takes Potter above the Scottish Highlands to the mystical Hogwarts Magical Academy.

The railway is run by West Coast Railway Company and is not part of the services offered by Scotrail, tickets are sold separately.

Glenfinian Viaduct
The train takes you to Mallaig and back via Copach and Glenfinnan, the Glenfinnan viaduct is featured in the Harry Potter film. Past Loch Shiel and the statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie then Arisaig and Morar to stop in Mallaig.

You can get all the way there and back for £22.00 per person (1st class).
Hogwarts Express
It was funny the way the journey reduced grown men to little children all jostling and excited, crowding around windows with their video cameras, needless to say I did not partake in this childish behavior.

REAL Hogwarts Express! – !!!***The Movie ***!!!!!

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Fort William – Ben Nevis Descent

Fort William – Ben Nevis Descent

Travelling down the mountain was by the same path. In addition you have the option of taking a number of short cuts, scree covered hit and miss affairs for the more hardened mountaineer (like myself).

Ben Nevis mountain refuge
I embarked upon more than one of these, the first having done the job: bypassed a number of fellow climbers and shaved minutes from my descent.

Again, kiddies were out in front negotiating sliding around on the scree.

After the second ‘cut relative merits have reduced to the point where I would only recommend to surfers and skaters and nutters in general.

Feeling a bit worst for wear and a sore I embark on a little rock hoping and jog down to the bottom, much easier than walking.

Fort William – Ben Nevis Ascent

Fort William – Ben Nevis Ascent

Ben Nevis peak

This is the second major peak I have sought to conquer in the UK having seen off Snowdon last year. Bank holidays represent a good time to venture out and get the job done.

The weather is hot and sunny, the accommodation in Fort William is booked up, the buses are swelling with backpackers, Scots and Brits alike are out to make the most of the weather.

Have not encountered midges yet. These may come later.

There are two ways to climb the mountain, to start from the Youth Hostel or to start from the Visitor Centre, both are on the same path.

Recently climbed up Snowdon.
There you have a choice of about 3-5 paths to the peak itself and many more interjoining across the hills and valleys below.
Ben Nevis has one route to the top.

The Path
Climbing was fairly easy, much of the lower sections path are slabbed.

Midway point is marked by a lake not visible directly from the path.
Stop here and have yer brew or banana or whatever.

Approaching the summit, kept on finding kids where trying to overtake me.
Not effected by the altitude they were able to almost run up the last part, little buggers.

The last part was made up of lunar scree. Bleached rock etc.
Have got some pictures to demostrate this exciting landscape which has a tendency to slip out from under your feet on the way down.

On the top of the mountain the had a memorial to people who have lost lives of friends or family on the mountain.
There were more than a few.

Also there was a small tin refuge mounted atop a pillar of rock for climbers who find themselves in a predicament not wishing to become part of the memorial.

After surveying these mountain top features and the view, which was fantastic. Ate scotch eggs ready for descent.

View from Ben Nevis

Fort William – Caladonian Canal

Fort William – Caladonian Canal

Holed up just outside Fort William.

There are a couple of bunk houses. I am staying at one called Farr which is about 3 miles out of Fort William itself.

Caladonian Canal - Corpach
Have taken a walk down to the Caladonian Canal in the evening. Am enjoying this much more that my time in the city.

Have met couple from London. Teachers. They are travelling from John O’Groats to Lands End by mountain bike. Mad.

They’re staying in the same accommodation which is a lodge house with all the amenities cooking, fridge freezer, rooms with TV’s etc. Prices are £12.50 per night. Not Bad.
Its fairly comfortable and the people are friendly.

tomorrow I will take on Ben Nevis.

Inverness to Fort William

Inverness to Fort William

The quickest way to get from Inverness to Fort William is by bus which costs £8 and runs hourly.

If you want to take a train, you will have to go south a least 100 miles then north again in a skewed V direction.

Have had meal in pub opposite the station. Didn’t get thrown out.

Am looking forward to Fort William. Ben Nevis will be the high point of my visit to Scotland. There is also a steam train featured on Harry Potter, the one he flies round in his hillman imp.

Inverness – Loch Ness Castle Urquart Tour

Inverness – Loch Ness Castle Urquart Tour

The sun was shining which is pretty rare in Scotland.

Taking this to be a sign of my changing luck I rolled my sleeves up.

This castle Urquart is supposed to stand above the deepest spot in the lake, Nessie’s favourite hiding spot.

Me on Ferry, Castle Urquart
I think there is a knack to seeing monsters and things in that they only appear to those not expecting to see anything, they are wise to the expectations of human kind.
Perhaps if you expect something, you will see nothing. If you expect nothing you see the monster. If you walk around expecting nothing the monster knows you don’t want to catch it and will reveal itself to you!

Truth be known, the Scots have done well to build a multimillion tourism industry out of a couple of floating logs and some historic gobbledy gook. Truly there is fuck all in this lake the Scots tell you this themselves.

Inverness – Loch Ness

Inverness – Loch Ness

Have had a brief look around Inverness cathedral and whatnot.

Inverness is the capital of the highlands and as you arrive you can see big gas storage silo chimney stacks, factory and other signs of industry which provide some of its wealth.

This is not a bad thing but it does mean Inverness is a bit like a city.
I’ve decided that I don’t want to do any more city things so have opted for tour of Loch Ness which also incorporates local history and a trip to the Loch Ness Monster museum.

Loch Ness Monster