Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dogwarts Express

Fort William station

This is our third time through Fort William, and we finally have an opportunity to take the Jacobite steam train out to Mallaig. It's a 2hr journey each way, with a 30-minute stop at Glenfinnan, and 2 hours at Mallaig itself. Bondi travelled free, and while there were not a great number of humans on the train (during Summer it's packed every day), he was one of 7 dogs on today's journey.

Glenfinnan viaduct

It's one of the great train journeys of the world, better known now because of its use as part of the Hogwarts Express track in the Harry Potter films. The crossing of the Glenfinnan viaduct is one of the better parts of that journey, and because we were at the back of the last carriage on the way out, that gave the best view of the front of the train on the bends.

The scenery is quite varied across the trip, and we were lucky enough to have clearer skies than on previous days. The Jacobite in fact finishes its 2007 season on Friday, so I'm glad I could juggle my schedule around Orkney to fit. It was clear enough to look out across the peat moors and see wild haggis roaming in their native haggitat.

Panorama from moving train

On the return journey, the locomotive is moved around to the other end of the carriages, in fact facing in the same way as on the outbound journey because there isn't a turntable at Mallaig.

The only "pretty" photo I could find in Mallaig, which is really a fairly undistinguished port.

Bondi wasn't terribly impressed by the noise of the engine on our return, so I encouraged him to sit under the table, curled around my feet.

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