STRING OF PEARLS

Steam Railway (UK) - - Steam To The Mountains -

De­part­ing the un­for­tu­nately aus­tere Fort Wil­liam sta­tion, the sights and sounds soon emerge as views of the coun­try’s high­est peak, Ben Ne­vis, open out on the right-hand side of the train. Mean­while the lined black en­gine at the busi­ness end trum­pets its pres­ence as it in­creases speed, rat­tles over Fort Wil­liam Junc­tion and takes the ‘Road to the Isles’. On its 42-mile jour­ney, the train crosses the un­usual Caledonian canal swing bridge (at the foot of Nep­tune’s Stair­case of eight locks), tra­verses four con­crete viaducts (in­clud­ing the em­blem­atic 21-arch Glen­finnan Viaduct that over­looks Loch Shiel and the statue of Bon­nie Prince Char­lie) and plunges into ten rocky sin­gle-bore tun­nels. On its sin­u­ous path, the ‘Ja­co­bite’ passes Bri­tain’s deep­est fresh­wa­ter loch (Loch Mo­rar); the short­est river (the Mo­rar) and the deep­est seawater loch in Europe (Loch Ne­vis). By Loch Nan Uamh Viaduct, at the foot of Beas­dale bank, there are spec­tac­u­lar views of the Ir­ish Sea, be­fore the He­bridean is­lands Eigg, Rùm, Muck, Canna and Skye come into view (on a clear day) on the run into the quaint fish­ing vil­lage, Mal­laig.

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