Scottish Holiday May 2011 Part One
The five-day Scottish coach holiday entitled Romantic Highland Railways was organised by Wicksons Holidays on the 23rd to the 27th May 2011. We boarded the luxury coach which was fitted with drinks and toilet facilities, at 6-30 am in Wicksons yard.
After a pick up in Bloxwich, we then travelled to Cannock bus station, where the rest of the party were waiting to join us. The coach then made its way along the A5 to join the M6 motorway at junction 12, and headed north towards Scotland. Following a short comfort stop at Charnock Richard Services we called at Moffatt Weaving Mills for lunch.
As Tuesday was the day scheduled for the ride on the steam hauled train from Fort William to Mallaig, we duly left the Hotel at 8-50 am.
Called the Jacobite, this prestigious railway journey, was voted “The worlds greatest railway journey” in 2009 & 2010. This 42 mile section of line was opened in 1901 to serve the fishing port of Mallaig, and in later years used in the Harry Potter series of movies.
Arriving at Fort William, we boarded the train, and taking our seats in the reserved carriage, we eagerly awaited departure.
At the end of the rake of 7 carriages was the ex LNER 2-6-0 K4 No 61994 The Great Marquess, in full steam and coupled ready and waiting for the green flag.
Not having Harry Potters powers, nor his broomstick, I was unable to take an aerial shot, so I had to resort in the purchase of one.
A two-hour stop in Mallaig enabled us to have lunch and walk around the harbour.
Rejoining the coach we passed the Great Marquess waiting to depart with the 14-10 to Fort William, running tender first.
After a leisurely drive through the glens we arrived back in Newtonmore for the evening meal.
Wednesday started with a spectacular ride through the glens surrounded with snow-capped mountains.
Unlike Bonny Prince Charlie, we took advantage of the new bridge, which the coach drove across onto the Island of Skye.
As you can see from the pictures, it had started to rain, so time for a drink in the restaurant and bar, guarded by a Scottish warrior, before moving on to the Kyle of Lochalsh.
Returning over the bridge into Kyle, a short walk took us to the station where the train was waiting.
A cup of tea in the station buffet, a quick perusal around the gift shop, before taking our reserved seats in the two car DMU bound for Inverness.
After a two-hour journey with trolley service we arrived in Inverness to meet the coach.
A quick look at Nessie on the return journey to the hotel for dinner.
After another tasty and filling evening meal, we retired to the bar for a pleasant evenings entertainment of piano accordian music.
To be continued in Scottish Holidays Part Two