Travel to Scotland
Day 3 Oban - Castle Stalker - Glencoe valley - Glenfinnan - Broadford (208 Km.)
(in 22 km.) Castle Stalker: We left the Falls of Lora hotel and then crossed the bridge Connel Bridge to take the A828 road. The location of the castle, which stands out on an island against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, has made it a favourite subject for postcards and calendars, and something of an iconic image of the Scottish castles landscape of the Highlands. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towers that survive in western Scotland. Around 1388 the Stewarts took over the Lordship of Lorn, and it is believed that they built the castle in its present form around the 1440s. The castle was used by the Monty Python team, which appears in the final scene of his movie Monty Python and Holy Grail.
(in 43 km.) Glencoe valley: We arrive at the beautiful valley of Glencoe and stop at the visitor center located at the west entrance of the valley. It is raining and we take the opportunity to ask about the excursions we can make. We take a 10-minute tour along a path that surrounds the visitor center, but it's not worth it compared to other attractions in this valley. We go to the other side of the valley, to the King's House Hotel. We had read in a forum that here we could see deer. We had only seen one in the distance and when we were leaving, a small group appeared. The children gradually approached them and managed to share part of their lunch with one of them. An unforgettable experience!
Deer in the Valley of Glencoe
For a few minutes the sun rises and from the King's House Hotel we contemplate the views over the Buachaille Etive Mòr mountain, which with its 1021 meters of height stands out for its pyramidal shape. We undo the road to cross again the pass of Glencoe (The pass of Allt-na-reigh). Heavy rain started again, so we make a short stop to take a picture of the spectacular waterfall that is located at this point. Rain and clouds do not let us to see Bidean nam Bian, one of the highlights of the valley. This is a 1150-meter-high mountain where are the Three Sisters, three steeply-sided ridges: Gearr Aonach (Short Ridge) and Aonach Dubh (Black Ridge) converge at Stob Coire nan Lochan, and further east, Beinn Fhada (Long Hill), joins the Bidean nam Bian massif at the summit of Stob Coire Sgreamhach. Our last stop in the valley was along the Loch Achtriochtran.
Pass of Glen Coe - Allt-na-reigh
(in 45 km.) Fort William: We arrived at this town with the goal of buying something to eat at the supermarket and enter in the station to see the steam train The Jacobite. We are lucky because the train has just arrived at the station and we can get on the first class wagon, Victorian style, to take some pictures. The Jacobite is a tourist train service hauled by steam locomotives that operates on a part of the West Highland Railway Line in Scotland. In 1901 the railway line between Fort William and Mallaig was inaugurated, with the aim of helping to open this rural and remote part of the Scottish Atlantic coast. Regular steam train services on West Highland Line were withdrawn in 1967, but in 1984 British Rail reintroduced a steam transport service on part of the line, in an effort to encourage tourism and increase revenue on the line .
Fort William - Jacobite Steam Train
(in 29 km.) Glenfinnan: We arrived at Glenfinnan and had the issue that the parking lot was full. Our goal was to arrive half an hour before the train passed, but we lost a lot of time to park. In addition to the parking of the visitors' center (fee required), there is a small free parking area about 100 meters ahead, just in front of the beginning of the path that leads to the viaduct. For this reason we have to settle for seeing the passage of the The Jacobite train over the Glenfinnan viaduct from the visitor center, which is somewhat remote. We calmly eat our picnic and then we start the walk to the viaduct. In about 10 minutes we reach the viaduct and follow a path to the left that ascends the hillside, passing just below one of its arches. After climbing a few meters we get spectacular views of the entire curve of the viaduct. The ideal thing would have been to take the picture when The Jacobite was crossing the viaduct, but we did not arrive in time.
The viaduct is built with solid concrete and has 21 semicircular arches of 15 meters. It is the longest concrete railway bridge in Scotland (380 meters), and crosses the Finnan River at a height of 30 meters. The viaduct is built in a curve of 241 meters. The viaduct appears in four of the Harry Potter films in which the "Hogwarts Express" passes through it. After the visit to the viaduct we return to the parking lot. On the other side of the road is the Glenfinnan Monument. In 1745 the Jacobite rising began here when Prince Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie") raised his standard on the shores of Loch Shiel. Seventy years later, the 18 meters Glenfinnan Monument, at the head of the loch, was erected to commemorate the historic event.
Glenfinnan monument and Jacobite train
(in 42 km.) Mallaig: To go to the Isle of Skye we had two options: either return to Fort William and enter the island via the Kyle of Lochalsh bridge or take the road that leads to Mallaig and cross over to the island by ferry. We chose this second option. With a journey of 45 minutes we arrived at the port of Armadale.
(in 27 km.) Broadford: We arrived at the hostel in this town where we will spend the next three nights.