From Edinburgh, take a train to Fort William, the little town that serves as a gateway to the Western Highlands – vast stretches of nature’s perfection in mountain ranges, valleys, and of course, the famous lochs or lakes of Scotland (Loch Ness, anyone?).
Popular spots in the Western Highlands include:
The highest peak in the UK draws many climbers and mountaineers to Fort William to prepare for an ascent on this mountain, and the others around it.
The climb is possible for both novice and experienced climbers, but keep in mind that harsh weather can make this 4-hour climb (1-way) more challenging.
Glenfinnan viaduct & Loch Shiel
Whether you’re a Harry Potter fanatic of just a lover of majestic man-made structures, you’ll enjoy a trip across the Glenfinnan viaduct — a railway track that cuts across the mountains and brings you from Fort William to the further towns of the Western Highlands.
Enjoy the experience of actually crossing the viaduct via train, then get off at Glenfinnan station to marvel at it from the banks of Loch Shiel (this lake was also the set for Hogwarts castle in the Harry Potter films; yes, lots of Harry Potter was shot in these parts of Scotland).
While this lake is the most popular, there are many lochs that you can explore through cruises and boat trips.
The waters are captivating and mysterious (ask about the mythological creatures lurking beneath, like selkies, kelpies, and the famous monster itself), but also, the mountains that surround them are so awe-inspiring, they’ll make you questions whether you’ve ever really seen mountains before. Not even kidding.
No matter what town you reach via rail in the highlands, don’t forget to engage with the locals about their rich history – the highlands are the setting for many historical battles and events that have shaped the Scottish people’s culture.