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Discover the Beauty of Scotland – Highlands and The Jacobite Steam Train (Part 1)

September 1, 2016

Scotland has always been part of my travel bucket list, that’s why when we planned our UK trip last August, I made it a point to allot at least 5 days to explore this wonderful place. We spent the first 2 days in Edinburgh city, and the next 3 days at Isle of Skye and the Highlands, which is what I am going to write on this post. After our thorough research, we ended up booking a 3 day tour with Discover Scotland Tours, since the places that we wanted to visit were far from each other, public transportation is a bit difficult when getting to places and we didn’t want to rent a car.

On the first day of our tour, the weather didn’t cooperate with us. It was raining all through out, that’s why there were some attractions that we didn’t get to see and do. Our tour guide, Gary, was very flexible to think of where to go instead. The weather in Scotland is very unpredictable, some says they get four seasons in a day, so you must always be prepared with your rainproof jacket or umbrella (strong winds at times blow this off). Based from the people we’ve talked to, the best time to visit is during the last part of May until mid of July.

Our first destination was the village of Luss which is on the banks of Loch Lomond. We walked around and took pictures of this stunning loch (lake).

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Loch Lomond

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While driving to get to the next site, we can’t help but admire the beautiful mountains and valleys that we passed by. The rain didn’t prevent us to appreciate these beauty of nature. We made 2 stops at Glencoe for a quick photo opportunity.

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The best picture I’ve taken while the coach was moving. This is the beauty of nature I am talking about.
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Our 1st stop at Glencoe. Please forgive my face, I was bothered by the pouring rain.
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Our 2nd stop. There was a bridge that we crossed, and this was the view on the right side.
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2nd stop left side view.

The next destination should have been in Aonach Mor, where we will ride a Gondola  to enjoy the breathtaking views. But due to safety reasons, don’t want to blame it to the weather (it was foggy and rainy with strong winds), we didn’t get to do it. Instead, we went to Inverlochy Castle for a quick stroll and then to Fort Williams for lunch and to freshen up.

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The ruins of Inverlochy Castle together with our tour mates.
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Garden at the side of the castle.

After our lunch, we’re off to the highlight of the day, which was a ride to the Jacobite Steam Train going to Mallaig. Being a Harry Potter movie fan, I was excitedly looking forward for this, especially once the train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Based on the reviews I’ve read, the train stops at this Viaduct for a while, so the passengers can take pictures. Sadly, during our ride, it didn’t (ask Tep how disappointed I was). For me, it was merely a normal train ride, the only good thing was the stunning views that we passed by while inside the train.

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The Jacobite Steam Train – known as the world’s greatest railway journey.
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Before we cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
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One of the views we saw, good thing I was able to capture it perfectly despite the train moving so fast.
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One advice when riding this train going to Mallaig, make sure to choose the left side letter B seats, so you will see right away if you are about to pass by Glenfinnan Viaduct.

When we reached Mallaig, we were given plenty of time to walk around, eat and shop. This place is also a bay, so there are a lot of fishing boats and ferries.

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The fishing boats in Mallaig. We were not able to take plenty of pictures around the place, because it was cold and raining really hard.

Around 6:00 pm, we rode a ferry which brought us to Isle of Skye. Then we went our way to Kyleakin, where the tour coach dropped us to our respective accommodations.

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The view infront of our accommodation – Loch and Skye Bridge
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Had a very comfortable 2 night sleep at this wonderful B&B, Corran Guesthouse.

This concludes the first day of our tour. Click here to view the second day.

Notes:

  1. Accommodation is not included on the tour. You have the option to book it on your own or let the tour company book it for you, then you will have to pay upon your arrival. You can choose either to stay in a hotel, hostel, B&B or dormitory.
  2. There are certain attractions which you have to pay extra for entrance fees or tickets. If you choose not to avail these, there’s an alternative site where the guide will take you.
  3. The Jacobite Steam Train only runs during summer (May to Aug), and the one way train ticket cost GBP 29 per person.

For more information on Discover Scotland Tours, you may visit their website and chat with their helpful and accommodating customer service representatives.

 

 

 

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