A Grand Train Journey North

(Anonymous poster that seems to follow me everywhere)

It is not often that I look forward to a prolonged journey from A to B. In fact whilst in Croatia last year, so tired of the bus/train journeys I begged Martins to let us travel instead by boat from Split to Dubrovnik. Both of us were sadly seasick for the rest of the day!

Today however was a different story! Today we were travelling from Glasgow to Fort William which is part of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. It was with great anticipation that we trudged with our rucksacks toward Queen Street station eager to start our journey and our trip to the Scottish Highlands. The station was crowded with other backpackers in Gortex and hiking boots.

As soon as the platform was announced there was a swarm of suitcases and people all rushing to get their reserved seats. Anxiety increased as a bottle neck formed at the entrance to our carriage, however once on and safely settled into our booth the chaos on the platform seemed a world away. With the clickety clack of metal wheels on tracks we pulled away, slowly climbing away from the city. Before long our train clambered clumsily into the mountains, all noses pressed to the glass as the Loch fell away below us. All passenger’s attentions fixed firmly outside, torn away only by the calls of the trolley lady as she swayed past. Colours of yellow and purple heather sloping down to the blue grey waters below shielded only by the bare branches of stark silver white birches. This level of wilderness only 30mins from Glasgow Central. All of a sudden our train tilted to the side with another attempt to get past yet another mountain. We paused for ten minutes to allow the southbound train to pass safely onto the single track before forging inland past vast fields full of curious deer. Another stop to allow our train to split in half, the front erring on to Oban whilst our trains’ speed increased toward Fort William and Mallaig. This time we had decided to get off at Fort William to conquer Scotland’s highest peak. We will continue the journey on in a few days over the famous viaduct toward Mallaig and the Isle of Skye.

 

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