Ah trains – sticking your head out of the sliding window to hear the soft chugging sound, see the scenery whistling by, and drift away to thoughts of a magnificent heyday in another era; there are many things about a traditional railway journey that appeals to the romantics in us.
Living in Scotland could add to the mystique and majesty of the railway, as there is little more satisfying for a proud Scot than seeing the imposing mountain peaks, picturesque lochs and babbling burns of home. There are few better ways to experience the range of Scotland’s dramatic and peaceful vistas than on the train – especially if it gets you out of the rain! But come rain, misty haze or beaming sun, you’re in for a treat of the senses.
The train does have the benefit of being a little bit easier and more comfortable than other modes of transport, particularly that most personal of transports: the feet. The famous walking route The West Highland Way provides a wonderful experience and some of Scotland’s most pleasing landscapes, but if you’re not too keen on the foot power then the West Highland Line has been voted the most scenic in the world before, and passes Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor and the highest train station in the UK, and onto Glenfinnan and its Harry-Potter 21-arch viaduct.
If you want to maximise the ‘old school’ charm then opt for the Jacobite steam locomotive from Fort William to Mallaig, and you can, depending on your preference, pretend you’re back in the 20s or on the Hogwart’s Express.
East and Central
Heading more to the East side of Scotland, train desires can be soothed by the popular Perth to Inverness Highland Line. You’ll pass through the stunning Grampian mountains and Drumocheter Pass before pushing North through the Highlands to Aviemore and the Cairngorm mountains, crossing the peak of Slochd Summit before heading down to Inverness. It’s a lovely route that’s actually enjoyed by many a Scottish commuter, and it’s certainly beats a morning on the London tube!
And back across
Maybe less known, but the Kyle Line is a stunning excursion that carries on West from our point in Inverness to Glen Carron before coming to Kyle of Lochalsh, where the line’s name is derved from. It has the beautiful yet somewhat intimidating remoteness that characterises many of Scotland’s great landscapes, before lifting the spirits with stunning views across Loch Carron.
It’s clear that wherever you care to travel in Scotland there’s a wonderful railway route ready to show off the best that the countryside has to offer, and there’s plenty of stunning self catering cottages across the Highlands and Skye to match from providers such as Embrace Scotland.