Arriving by train

Information you might find useful in planning your adventure!

The West Highland line is considered by many to be one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. What a wonderful way to arrive at the cottage!

The whole journey from the north of Glasgow is very scenic. However, the highlights for us are Rannoch Moor and the Monessie Gorge. Rannoch Moor is about half an hour from Roy Bridge station and one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. The area is boggy, remote and not accessible by car. The train will stop at Corrour station but only walkers can get on and off because there is no car access. The railway itself is ‘floated’ across the peat bog on layers of turf and brushwood without solid foundations!

Monessie gorge is just a minute or two before you arrive at Roy Bridge station. The railway line here clings to the side of the gorge with the River Spean bubbling below. The best view is from the left hand side of the train if facing forwards as you arrive. If you are travelling on to Fort William, look to your  left if facing forwards at Roy Bridge station. The white cottage surrounded by garden alongside the station platform is Tigh Mo Mhiann. If you are arriving or leaving from Roy Bridge station be aware there are no facilities here, no ticket office, just a platform. The sleeper calls at Roy Bridge only by request!

Arriving by train and hiring a car

The easiest option if you want to hire a car is to get a train ticket from home to Fort William as there are no car hire facilities in the village.

We have not rented a car from Fort William so we can’t give any recommendations. However, there appears to be a choice of two companies. Both have out-of-town offices but can deliver your car to the train station. Easy drive has a plethora of google reviews, some good, some bad. Practical car rental have just a single google review.

Arriving by train to Roy Bridge station (and with no car hire planned)

It’s really easy to arrive at Tigh Mo Mhiann by train. The tiny station platform backs onto our garden and you only need to go up some steps and walk 1 minute down the road to arrive at our cottage driveway. However we think that if you are arriving at the cottage by train and not hiring a car, some ideas of how to get around and find food shops might be useful.

If you need to store luggage before or after your stay, there is a left luggage facility at Fort William station.

You arrive and you’re hungry right now, what is there in the village?

There is no village shop in Roybridge anymore so you are not able to buy food you can cook for yourself at the cottage. If you want to cook your own food right away we advise you bring emergency supplies with you. Alternatively you can walk to the Stronlossit Hotel in 2 minutes. The hotel website advertises that it serves food all day (8am - 9pm) and all year (except in January). So no matter what time you arrive we hope you will be able to get a cup of coffee or a more substantial meal. Guests tell us they have enjoyed evening meals here. Our guess is that the food is fine but not special. Very convenient for the cottage though.

The Roy Bridge Hotel is about 4 minutes walk away from the cottage. You can order eat in or take away breakfasts and evening meals.


Another minute of walking takes you to the Glen Roy Cafe

Buying food for your stay

Morrisons in Fort William have recently started a food delivery service to the village.  We have not used this service ourselves so please use the link below to check the service is still running.

Delivery service post code check    The postcode for the cottage is PH31 4AG

Please make sure your delivery slot is at a time you will be at the cottage. There is no-one to receive a delivery for you!

The nearest food shop to the cottage is the Spar mini-market at Spean Bridge, about 3 miles away. You’ll be able to buy all sorts here for simple meals. As Spean Bridge is the next village on the main road towards Fort William it’s not a walking route we’d recommend. However Spean Bridge is on both bus and train routes (see below for more details).

In Fort William you will find a choice of supermarkets. M&S Food and Aldi are on the outskirts and Morrisons, Lidl and a Tesco express are not far from the train station.

 

Just in case it’s useful whilst waiting in Spean Bridge for your return public transport

The Bridge cafe  (01397 712957)

Easy circular 3 mile walk which can be accessed either from the kissing gate on the A82 going north as you leave the village or from the Commando Memorial car park (walk further up the A82 and out of the village). There is a pavement along the A82 from the village up to the memorial. This walk affords some good views of the area and well made paths: 2.75 miles, 1.5 hrs, 82m ascent. 2021 walk report

Getting around without a car

This can be tricky and needs careful planning as public transport is infrequent in this part of the Highlands.

Trains - From Roy Bridge, there are 2-4 trains per day, in each direction to Fort William and Glasgow and all the stops in between.  From Fort William you can catch a train to Mallaig, again there may be only 2-4 per day each way. On the way to Mallaig, you’ll pass over the Glenfinnan viaduct of Harry Potter Hogworts Express fame. If you fancy some time at the beach you could get off at Morar, one stop before Mallaig, and walk the 1.4 miles (along the B8008) to the Silver Sands of Morar. (The Jacobite steam train takes the same route but is extremely expensive and needs to be booked well ahead of time).

 If you want to walk on Rannoch Moor, you can catch the train back to Corrour station. There are details of a 9 mile circuit around Loch Ossain on our website  or you’ll find more challenging hikes here. But beware, you’ll need to take all essentials with you for the day. You may be lucky and find a cafe open near the station, but this area is remote and inaccessible by road. We suggest you download the What 3 Words app onto your phone in case of need!

Buses - again a bit infrequent. There are 2 main providers in the area

Try Shiel buses  for local buses to Spean Bridge and Fort William

There are just a few services per day in each direction from the village hall car park (on the main road). The timetable varies according to day and school term dates. Route N41.
N41 Mon-Fri timetable
N41 Saturday timetable

For further afield City bus operate bus services throughout Scotland Tel: 0990 50 50 50  

Their Inverness and Oban route stops at Fort William and everywhere in between

Inverness - Oban timetable

Bike

If you bring your own bike, there is room for storing it in the large enclosed porch at the cottage. Bikes on long distance trains are transported free but you do need to book in advance as space is limited.

 

Bike hire can be found at Nevis Cycles and Off Beat bikes. Nevis Cycles might well be able to help if you need to buy parts to repair your own bike. Off Beat bikes have other interesting information on their website, such as their favourite local wild swimming places.

We don’t think cycling along the main A86/82 road from the cottage to Fort William would be much fun. There’s too much traffic! Please do consider quieter albeit slightly longer routes. For example, you could cycle into Fort William, by turning off the A82 at the Commando Memorial, Spean Bridge and using either the single track road (B8004) or The Great Glen Way (suitable for mountain bikes or robust hybrids only). We have never cycled either of these routes (map)  but it seems a much safer (and scenic) option although 4 miles longer than by main road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Alternatively you could turn off the A82 a mile west of Spean Bridge and take the single track road to Torlundy via Highbridge and Brackletter. From Torlundy there is a cycle track to Fort William town centre. And finally, one of our guests has told us they really enjoyed cycling from the cottage into ‘the wilderness’ by taking the single track road up past Bohuntine and the ‘parallel’ roads. It’s a there-and-back 16 mile route from Roybridge to Brae Roy and has very little traffic, though you may need to avoid sheep on the road!.  And another warning, once you have passed the Glen Roy Nature Reserve car park the road surface becomes increasingly like a gravel track.

If you discover any other tips for holidaying at Tigh Mo Mhiann having arrived by train, please let us know and we’ll add to this document for the benefit of others.

Thank you