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The Road From the Isles of Scotland

The journey from Fort William to Mallaig can be done by car or train and is much feted as one of the world’s most scenic journeys. We did the journey along this famous stretch of road, but backwards from Mallaig to Fort William!

Island Views

The guide book was informative about the sights along the way and the history of the region.  This is mostly about when Bonnie Prince Charlie was mustering highlanders to fight under his father’s flag.

There are Flora Macdonald bed and breakfasts along the way reminding the casual tourist of her associations with the area too.

What we liked best though was the views of Eigg and Rhum in the distance. We stopped at a beautiful little beach to enjoy them. 

Island Views - The road from the Isles of Scotland
Glenfinnan Viaduct - The road from the Isles of Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct

One of the most photographed scenes in Scotland apparently is at the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It is where the steam train carrying Harry Potter and his friends to and from school goes. The guide book said the train obligingly stopped on the viaduct for photographs. The sign on the visitor centre door indicated where to go to for the best views.

Unwittingly, we’d timed our visit perfectly as after a short pit stop and glance at the memorial and the loch there, we headed down the path to bag a place to take a photo of the train as it steamed past.

We decided that one should photograph it from above and the other from below, so I climbed the short distance up and himself retreated back down the path.  I could hear it before I could see it and feeling like the ultimate train spotter (or one of the cast of the Railway Children), I stood and waved and snapped with the camera whilst it rushed by (not stopping as anticipated). 

It blew its whistle and poured smoke out of its chimney and for a brief couple of minutes filled my senses with the sight of it and all its noise and speed and then it was gone. And the hills were quiet again. And I felt as though I’d witnessed something extraordinary!

Fort William

It is only about 12 miles to Fort William from Glenfinnan so we were soon there.

We had our eye on a restaurant down by the loch called Cannog, a seafood restaurant that was in the Discover Scotland bible. We loved the setting and the food didn’t disappoint either.

Wonderful end to a fun day getting from A to B or was it B to A.

Fort William - The road from the Isles of Scotland

Unsurprisingly, there is a TreasureTrail in Fort William which we thoroughly enjoyed whilst we were there. 

19th July 2017

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Trains, Boats and Buses

Whilst walking is always going to be the best way to see the sights, sometimes it can be fun to see the sights in other ways!  We have a selection of Trails to share with you that use different ways to get from A to B (and back again).  And yes they involve trains and boats and buses too!

Trains

There is nothing more evocative of days gone by than travelling by steam train and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Trail provides that experience. Our partners in Yorkshire had enormous fun creating a Trail that involves buying a day rover ticket and travelling by steam train to solve clues at different stations.

Trains, Boats and Buses - North Yorkshire Moors Railway
North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Jane said ““It was a real treat to ride on the NYMR through the beautiful North York Moors National Park, especially watching the shadow of the steam plume along the embankments and getting up close to the steam engines! We loved the individual charms of the stations too, from setting clues on some of the wonderful railway memorabilia at Pickering, imagining what Goathland station looked like transformed into Hogsmeade Station for the Harry Potter films, and exploring the village of Grosmont, including walking through a very long tunnel to look around the engine sheds. And then of course, we got to enjoy the return train journey at the end of the day!”

Talking of days gone by, funicular railways were all the rage in the Victorian era and we feature two Trails that both have the option of using the one to avoid walking up the steep paths to the top! In Scarborough the Central Tramway will cost 80p and in Bridgnorth the Cliff Railway return ticket is £1.10 and both are worth the trip!

Move along please and mind the gap!  Head underground to try out the Green Run Trail. Kathy our London Trail Partner explained “we wanted to write a Trail for families and adults to do on a rainy or cold day and where better than underground.”

Boats

When the weather is fine, then you know it’s a sign for messing about on the river. Combine that with searching for clues and you have found a winning formula to entertain the family. Our partner in East Anglia who has created Trails across the region has included nine different boating Trails for the catalogue.

Trains, Boats and Buses - Norfolk Broads
Norfolk Broads

Dave explained “The Norfolk Broads are a great place to explore by boat but there is much more to see on dry land as well! Our spy themed Broads 1 Trail is aimed at those who are staying on the Broads for a couple of days or more – covering 28 miles on water, and 3 miles on land, it encompasses the villages of Potter Heigham, Ludham, Ranworth, Salhouse Broad and the Hoveton Great Broad Nature Trail (and can be completed in either direction). For those just visiting for a shorter period hire a day boat and try our Murder Mystery Broads 4 Trail. Starting and finishing at Wroxham, this Trail incorporates Horning and Salhouse Broad, covering 9 miles on the water (so is suitable as a canoe Trail as well!) and 2 miles on land.”

The Bristol Harbourside Trail incorporates something for everyone too including fascinating facts about the history and development of the waterside area from the modern vibrant Millennium Square to Brunel’s SS Great Britain.  Our partner for the area Rachel, commented “there is even a chance to play pirates yourself for a brief spell as you hop on the ferry to cross the harbour en route back from 1845 to modern day.”

A little further up from Bristol at Symonds Yat another ferry is incorporated into a Trail experience. This time it is an old fashioned hand ferry.  The Trail writer, David said “this is one of our most rural Trails and crosses the River Wye twice, once on the ferry and then on the foot suspension bridge.”

Buses

What about a hop on hop off experience down on the south coast?  We have two Trails in Bournemouth that use their Yellow Buses. Both Trails use the 1a Yellow bus. Bournemouth Town centre to Christchurch is on Bus 1 Trail and Christchurch back to Bournemouth is on the Bus 2 Trail. Trailers need to stop the bus, hop off solve the clues and hop back on the next bus. Buses run every 10 minutes and there is lots to see along the route.

Have you done a Trail that involved a form of transport other than Shank’s Pony? If you have we’d love to hear from you.  Trains, Boats and BusesLook for this photo on Facebook and tell us about your experience.  Funniest will get a free Trail of your choice.

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15th January 2014

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