Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

August 2011: The Road to the Isles

The Road to the Isles is the somewhat romanticised name traditionally given to the A830 route in the north-west Highlands, from Fort William to Mallaig. Having become familiar with it in my teens, when it was still single-track with passing places, I took the opportunity to drive the much improved version in 2011.

I visited the entrance to the Caledonian Canal at Banavie (also known as Neptune's Staircase), Glenfinnan (see right panel), the small coastal villages of Arisaig and Morar, and finally the ferry terminal and fishing port of Mallaig, where the road ends.

In true Scottish fashion, the weather was decidedly temperamental, but when the sun did manage to emerge from behind the clouds, the area proved itself to be more or less as picturesque as I remembered it.
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Caledonian Canal Arisaig
Morar Mallaig


Glenfinnan stands at the head of Loch Shiel and is known for at least two man-made features: the monument marks the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion, while the railway viaduct will be familiar to fans of present-day fictional hero, Harry Potter.