Dave Collier has been photographing the annual steam train which runs from Fort William ever since they were introduced on an initially modest scale by the former British Railways. 2016 was his 32nd consecutive photographic visit to Fort William and every year he finds new, noteworthy locations. Having both rode on ‘The Jacobite’ and photographed it in the landscape many times he never a fails to be thrilled by the drama of the steam train powering through the stunning landscape, no matter what the weather. Truly one of the Greatest Train Journeys of the World.
‘The Jacobite’ runs through dramatic and impressive scenery, with none more so than at Glenfinnan with its stunning viaduct – the location for scenes in the Harry Potter films.
On 24th and 25th October 2016, for the last week of operation of the 2016 main season for ‘The Jacobite’, steam buff and railway photographer Dave Collier made the arduous climbs to the top of these two peaks to photograph ‘The Jacobite’ in its superb autumn landscape. Loaded with heavy camera gear he made the two hour hike to the summit of Meall a’ Bhainne on 24th October to get some remarkable photos of ‘Black 5’ locomotive No. 45407 heading ‘The Jacobite’ through the autumn gold colours to Glenfinnan, on its way to Mallaig. While he was slowly working his way up the mountain over a boggy landscape, watched by curious stags as he passed by at a distance, back in Fort William locomotive owner and registered West Coast Railways driver Ian Riley was preparing his locomotive No 45407 for the journey while on the platform West Coast train guard Florence MacLean was busy selling the remaining tickets to pay ;on the day passengers for the sellout ride.
The views from the mountain top were stunning as ‘The Jacobite’ steamed past and over the impressive Glenfinnan viaduct. The train in its landscape was awe inspiring. After a 1½ hour decent intrepid photographer Dave Collier decided to do another peak the next day. On Tuesday 25th October he set out early to climb to the top of Ant a–Sleubhaich just beyond Glenfinnan. It was –4C and the whole of Fort William and the whole length of Loch Eil right down to Glenfinnan were covered in a deep mist. Even the mountain he climbed the previous day couldn’t be seen. After a 1½ hour trek across a river, boggy ground and up a steep mountainside he reached the peak, for clear views of Glenfinnan and towards Mallaig. As No. 45407 came into view with its train, and with Ian Riley driving again, presented a stunning site again in the dramatic golden landscape.
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