The train had a carriage at the back which was pretty special (unfortunately too special for the passengers) and was reserved for the train staff. It was a carriage that was just like the ones in the Harry Potter movies! The beautiful old timber framed doors and puffy, cushioned seats were just too good to ignore so we went in for a sit down and an obligatory photo. I was trying to imagine what it would be like to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Once we'd finished posing in the carriage, we walked back to our carriage and sat down ready for the train to depart. We were sharing our table with a fellow Harry Potter nerd who was rather jealous that we had thought of buying chocolate frogs to eat on the train - just like Ron and Harry did in the movie. Feeling sorry for him, we offered him one of ours so he could feel a part of the magic too.
Me trying to catch my frog before it jumped out the window - okay yes, I am a nerd!
After a short ride we came to a place that I'd been looking forward to the most! The Glenfinnan Viaduct! This great beauty was actually used in the Harry Potter series. Here's a link to a youtube clip of the trailer for The Chamber of Secrets which shows the use of the viaduct in the film.
It all went a little too quickly for my liking. The train sped over the viaduct as everyone scrambled to capture a photo of it and in no time it was gone. It was rather exciting though!
The train then came to a stop for a break at the Glenfinnan station where everyone hopped off for some fresh air. Steam trains can get a bit stuffy after a while with the windows closed. You can open the windows a tiny bit, but the ash from the engine flies in onto the table! At the station, there was a young guy who was busking to raise money to send himself to university. As you might have guessed, he was playing the bagpipes! I'm a bit of a fan of these crazy instruments so I paid him some coins and listened to him blow his tunes.
The train man blew his whistle to signal to everyone that they had to hop back on the train. After everyone was seated we were off and quickly chugging our way along the West Highland railway onward to the town of Mallaig. Roy and I enjoyed walking up to the end of the carriage and poking our heads out of the window to get a better glimpse of the train. We had to pull our heads in quickly when we whooshed past trees and when the soot and rain got a little too much for our faces.
Once we arrived in Mallaig, we dragged our luggage to the nearby port, where we waited for our Ferry to take us over to the Isle of Skye. It was a bit cold and dreary and we were hungry so we headed to the local cafe to have a bit of warm tucker before the ferry came to take us to Skye.
We didn't get to see Harry, Ron or Hermione, but we did have a great time "Choo choo-ing" through the rolling hills of the West Highlands!