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Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

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Pittsburgh...
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Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

We'll be in Scotland mid-September for a little over a week, based in Glasgow. Our plans include museums, gardens and a day-trip (maybe two) to Edinburgh via train. We'd also like to take the train from Glasgow to Fort William, then the steam train to Mallaig with an overnight somewhere along the way.

I'm wondering if, since the village looks a little bigger, with more options for accommodation, we should overnight in Fort William, then catch the morning train for Mallaig - just for the scenery from the train - and head right back to Glasgow on the regular train. Our other option is to go directly from Glasgow to Mallaig and stay there overnight before heading back to Glasgow the next morning.

Any thoughts?

Edinburgh...
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1. Re: Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

Fort William is more a small Town than a village, and more of a stopping off place for visiting elsewhere rather than a nice place to stay. Yes, plenty of accommodation, and you'll find places to eat. By September it's dark in the evenings so the continuation by train to Mallaig would mean missing the scenery on the way West, depending on which train you're planning. You can make Mallaig by late lunchtime by starting early enough.

Mallaig is an unsophisticated Ferry port / Fishing port; or rather it was. Recently it has has a bit of a facelift therefore has a few places to eat and there's no problem in finding a B&B or a hotel somewhere round the bay, and somewhere to eat in the evening. You could even take the 30 minute ferry to Skye and back, just to see the scenery from a different angle - good views from that boat back into Loch Nevis up to Sgurr na Ciche, views of some of the other islands as well.

You could even get an early morning taxi from Mallaig down to the little village of Arisaig - beautiful beaches - and pick up the train from there for your return. Most trains stop there, but not I think the 'Jacobite'.

Personally, I'd go to Mallaig.

Pittsburgh...
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2. Re: Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

Thank you so much, Derek, for your input.

Do you have a suggestion for a better destination than Ft William/Mallaig for an overnight trip out of Glasgow?

From the train schedule it looks like Glasgow > Mallaig is about 5.5 hours by train, but Inverness is 3.5 hours by train and Oban just 3 hours. We're hoping for great scenery on the train, and a nice town or village to enjoy a bit of nature and have a nice dinner before returning to Glasgow the next day.

Thanks so much if you have any other suggestions. Sounds silly, but who knows if we'll ever make it to Scotland again, so we're trying to make the best choices possible.

Edinburgh...
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3. Re: Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

Glasgow 09:03 > Fort William 12:44 > Mallaig 14:10 (The direct train. no steam) Yes 5 hours seems a long time but both legs of this journey have an international reputation with train addicts and tourists!

I was probably too downbeat in my earlier description. It's a perfectly nice little port and you'd have the afternoon for a short ferry trip or to potter. Plenty daylight for seeing Glenfinnan etc.

The train ride to Inverness may be much shorter, but is run-of-the-mill in comparison.

Oban is a better call than Inverness - larger than Mallaig, more to do. There are places outwith Oban which you might get to by bus [but timings are limited]. The train ride isn't as attractive as the line to Fort William and Mallaig. Nice, but not top-notch.

Personally of the three I'd still opt for Mallaig - with Oban a close second.

The other line with a good scenic reputation is Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh - but that's getting too complicated.

Glasgow, United...
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4. Re: Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

I agree - Mallaig is best. If you get decent weather it is a magical journey. There is just something so good about the combination of sea views and hills that you get.

If you get the choice it would be worth going for daylight over steam, but maybe you can manage both.

Fort william is a handy base for hill walkers but not a particularly pretty place.

5. Re: Fort William or Mallaig for an overnight?

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