London to Skye
We took the Caledonian Sleeper Train from Euston to Fort William. It’s a great way to maximise time off work, as it leaves both London and Fort William in the evening and arrives the next morning.
It’s also one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the world. Our lovely host (every carriage has a host to look after the passengers) woke us up in the morning with tea and Scottish shortbread, to stunning views over Loch Lomond. We wanted to jump off the train at every stop we passed.
Views out the train window in the morning on the way there
On the return journey we ate dinner in the Lounge Car, and sipped Scottish ale and cider, whilst we watched deer grazing by the tracks and the sun setting across Rannoch Moor, against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
Rannoch Moor from the Lounge car window
Fort William to Mallaig
Jamie from Fort William Car Hire met us from the train with our adventure mobile (a VW transporter that he’d converted himself to a camper van). It’s a brilliant service and he’ll meet you before you board the train back to collect your vehicle again, we can’t recommend him enough.
We took the spectacular Road to the Isles, which would be just over an hour’s drive, but there are several stop offs worth making.
First stop was Glenfinnan to see the Glenfinnan Monument and learn about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Risings. You can also see the Glenfinnan Viaduct from here – made famous in the Harry Potter films.
The Glenfinnan Monument
Then the Glenfinnan Station Museum with its restored 1950s Dining and Sleeping cars. You really can dine and sleep there – the Dining Car’s a restaurant and the Sleeping Car’s a bunkhouse.
The Glenfinnan Sleeping Car
We took a detour on the old road to Arisaig. You can bypass it but it’s well worth taking the extra time to go the scenic route.
Alternatively you can take the train from Fort William to Mallaig and then get the ferry. The Jacobite Steam Train runs on this route, which passes over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Mallaig to Skye
At Mallaig we boarded the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry to Skye. On the way back we drove over the bridge that connects Skye to the mainland as we didn’t want to risk any delays with the boat making us miss the sleeper back.
View of Skye from the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry
Getting around Skye
Driving around Skye was a pleasure, the roads are well maintained, everything is well signposted and there are lots of free car parks. Some of the roads are very narrow which can feel hairy, but there are plenty of passing places. The main problem is keeping your eyes on the road with all the amazing scenery to distract you. If you don’t have a car you can get around by bus.
Driving into the Cuillin Hills