The Road to the Isles
Starting our journey from Fort William, we took the A830 signposted to Mallaig. The driving distance is just over 40 miles from Fort William to Mallaig along a very scenic route.
Along the way we stopped off to explore the Caledonian Canal and Neptune’s Staircase, which is the longest in Britain, in the village of Banavie and only about 3 miles from Fort William Town Centre. From the Canal there are some wonderful views of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, standing at 1,344 metres above sea level.
We enjoyed a walk along the canal watching the boats manoeuvre in and out of the different locks. Or you may wish to book a boat trip to take you the full length of the canal from Fort William to Inverness.
Leaving the Caledonian Canal we continued along the Road to the Isles towards Mallaig. We had another stop to visit the Glenfinnan Monument / Visitor Centre/ Cafe. This year (2015) marks the historic tower's 200th birthday. Climbing to the top of the monument was so worth it for the spectacular views of Loch Shiel. http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Glenfinnan-Monument
You will also enjoy great views of the famous 21 arch structure - MacAlpine Railway Viaduct - which has appeared in several films from Glenfinnan. You may even be lucky enough to see the famous Jacobite Steam Train. The viaduct has become well known worldwide due to its appearance in various Harry Potter films, especially in 'The Chamber of Secrets'.
We stayed for a few days at http://www.morarhotel.co.uk – great food with views of the Islands of Eigg and Rum. Some amazing sunsets! From Morar you can also access the Silver Sands beach.
We had a day of exploring around Morar, including a drive along the edge of Loch Morar, a freshwater loch. We took the old coast road towards Arisaig passing CambusdarrachBeach - one of the locations for the Scottish film Local Hero - and had lunch at http://www.arisaighotel.co.uk. Boat trips are available from Arisaig to the smaller islands.
Our final stop was the fishing port of Mallaig from where the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry regularly goes to Armadale, Canna, Eigg, Muck, Rum or Skye. Mallaig is worth exploring with lots of foodie places and a visit to the Way Out West Shop is not to be missed! Mallaig is also the end of the line for the West Coast Railways and the famous Harry Potter Train.
We really enjoyed our wee trip and will certainly return!
Here are some helpful links: