A few months back the weather was good and we managed to get cover for the shop. So we decided to go away in the van for the weekend. This was my first stay in the van this year, I’m not a winter camper!!
We left at 5 on the Friday night and headed North. We done a quick food shop at Tesco & stopped at McDonalds Dumbarton for dinner, not the healthiest but it did the job. The drive was great, the roads were really quiet and Glencoe was empty. It was strange to see it so quiet again but it was lovely to have it more or less to ourselves. The sun was setting over the mountains and it was just incredible. The feelings that washes over me every time as the van climbs up the hill out of Crainlanach heading for the Highlands never gets old. I know we are going to live in the Highlands/Argyll at some point in our lives. My shoulders relax, my neck stops crunching, any worries disappear and I couldn’t care less if my phone had a signal or not. We found a spot to camp just before it got dark and had a great night’s sleep.
We woke to lovely sunshine I had tea and croissants for breakfast, we took the dogs a wander before packing up and heading to the car park. We tried to visit a few year ago but the carpark was full. They’ve now extended the car park so there is plenty of spaces. The toilet facilities don’t open until 10.30am so be aware if your arriving to watch the early crossing of the Jacobite train.
We made our way underneath the viaduct and up the hill to find a spot. We found a good place to sit in the sun with the surrounding trees blocking the chilly wind. I couldn’t believe how busy it was people just kept turning up. Some just wanted a phot of the viaduct from above and they left. Now!! The train was scheduled to leave Fort William at 10.15am passing Glenfinnan around 10.45am (& 3pm if your waiting for the afternoon) it didn’t arrive until 12.25pm. We were so close to leaving. Around half of the people had already left. As far as I’m aware there is no way of checking if it’s running late or if it’s running at all. It was cold, my bum was numb from sitting on a tree stump and the dogs were becoming restless when in all of a sudden we heard the rumble of the tracks and the whistle blowing in the distance. The chills and numb bum miraculously disappeared. Round the mountains she came chuffing and puffing away, it was magnificent to watch. Sometimes the train will stop on the viaduct but not today, slowing crossing over the viaduct, passengers snapping away getting that all important shot of the train crossing the bridge and the spectacular views looking out across Loch Sheil. A must for any Harry Potter fan. The train driver waved his white hankie out the window at us, probably laughing at all our red noses with the cold!! It was worth the wait, it’s over in a few minutes but definitely a must see!
We made our way back down the hill with the rest of the crowd. We were all buzzing and chatting away! Well worth the wait! We made our way to the toilet queue and I had a wee walk through the gift shop. It’s packed with beautiful Scottish gifts from local companies.
We crossed the road to have a wander along the Loch side and let the boys of their leads for a bit as they were very patient sitting up on the hill. Loch Sheil is a fresh water Loch with spectacular views. Harry Potter fans might recognise it as the Black Lake which sits below Howarts.
Making our way back into Fort William, I can’t pass through the town without my visit to The Highland Soap Company Visitor Centre next to Inverlochy castle. It’s so beautiful inside, you can watch the girls make the soap, try out many of the products browse and smell all the soaps, shampoos and bubble baths. My favourite are the lemongrass and ginger, the Scottish Heather and Hebridean Seaweed, it smells delicious. We piped into Morrisons in Fort William and bought some burgers to cook for dinner along with a potato salad box and off course some gin. Headed back to our spot and chilled for the night.
It was a great weekend away, writing this post has put me in the mood for another trip away..