Under Ben Nevis

Mom and Dad came for a two-week visit in June and early July. They spent some time exploring Glasgow and Edinburgh, and then the four of us set out for a week-long trip through the highlands. Our first stop was the town of Fort William, on Loch Linnhe, which is a tidal salt-water loch and part of the Great Glen fault line that runs through the Highlands up to Inverness. 

Fort William is below Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles. Apparently, the mountain's summit is hidden in clouds for all but 24 days a year on average, so we were lucky to get a glimpse of it.

We took a beautiful walk along Glen Nevis through the woods along the Nevis Gorge and then out into a meadow below the dramatic Steall Falls. For me this was a highlight of the trip.

The photo of the Fort William waterfront at the top of this post was one I took from a boat: we cruised the Loch on a tour, learning about the history and geography and wildlife of the Great Glen, and seeing herons and fish farms and more highland scenery The mountain Ben Nevis loomed over everything.

From Fort William we rode the Jacobite steam train up to Mallaig on the coast. The Jacobite, incidentally, is as close as you're going to get to riding the Hogwarts Express (Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is in Scotland, don't you know), and the train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which, besides being in used spectacularly in the Harry Potter movies, is on (one of) the £10 notes around here. 

As you can see in the last photo, riding on a steam train means getting covered in soot. I was shaking particles of it out of my hair for days. For all their romance, we're probably better off without steam engines as our main method of transport nowadays.