Sunday 1st September 2019
Today we travel from Fort William to Stornoway.
A more leisurely breakfast is available from 07:30 to 9:00 and while breakfast is eaten our luggage is taken from outside our rooms down to reception. Brian, the driver, arrives and we load the luggage onto the coach.
Departing at 9:00 Brian drives us up to the ferry port at Mallaig, where we arrive at 10:15.
I pop into the ferry terminal and collect all the individual tickets for the three ferry crossings that we will take during this tour.
I have a quick moment to cross the road to visit Mallaig railway station.
Mallaig station is at the end of the railway line from Fort William and the end of the Jacobite stream route. It is also the most westerly railway station on mainland Britain. Surprisingly, further west than Penzance.
At 10:30 we begin boarding the ferry. Although we arrived on a coach, and the same coach with our luggage on drives onto the ferry, we have to walk on as foot passengers.
At 11:00 the ferry departs for the crossing to Armdale on the Isle of Skye.
Whilst the coach journey to Mallaig had been accompanied by rain, the crossing to Skye was dry, sunny and calm.
The ferry takes 35 minutes to cross from the mainland.
Arriving at Armdale . . .
. . . we re-board the coach and Brian drives us for an hour and a half up to Uig at the north end of Skye. Here we unload our luggage from the coach and wave goodbye to Brian. As we wait on the quay with our luggage we see our second ferry of the day arrive.
Boarding commences at 13:30 and the ferry to Tarbert, on the Isle of Lewis and Harris, departs at 14:15.
The ferry takes an hour and a half to cross the sea to Tarbert.
Having had a rain free first ferry journey, the precipitation returned for the entire coach journey across Skye, but as luck would have it, ceased for the calm journey across to Lewis and Harris.
At Tarbert we are met by our new coach and driver. After loading our luggage we depart for the hour and a half, rainy, drive to Stornoway.
The views from the coach are stunning.
Stornoway is the largest town on Lewis and Harris and is our home for the next three nights. Having disembarked from the coach and entered the hotel at 17:00 the tourees checked-in.
As the tourees sorted themselves out in their new home I went for a walk into the town of Stonoway. Being a Sunday a in free presbyterian area, the only thing open in the town were two of the pubs. Other pubs were closed. At the port there were views of Lews Castle.
I had a quick beer in one of the pubs before making a hasty retreat when I realised that most of the clientele had had significantly too much to drink and were getting quite rowdy. It was because the afternoon’s TV entertainment had been the fiercely competitive sectarian football match of Rangers vs Celtic.
Dinner was served at the at hotel at 19:00.
Great Railway Journeys Tour Map:
Video of the day:
Selfie of the day:
- Welsh Highland Railway & Caernarfon
- Ffestiniog Railway & Portmeirion
- Passau and Home [via Köln]
- London to Munich [for Oktoberfest]