fort william and the steam train

we headed west from glasgow, to fort william. the main reason for this holiday was the opportunity to eat at the 3 chimney’s restaurant on skye, however we soon realised that this was also a great opportunity for us to see some of scotland’s beautiful landscape.

the west highland line from glasgow, out towards mallaig (where we caught the ferry to skye), was recently voted top rail journey in the world. having read about the jacobite, a steam train which runs between fort william and mallaig, we decided that we had to experience this so stopped in fort william for one night, which gave us the opportunity to eat at the crannog seafood restaurant.

we stuck to the specials board and ate some very simple and delicious food as a result. to start we had crannog fishcakes with buerre blanc and sesame crusted brill with a chilli salsa. the brill was a little dry and the salsa flavours didn’t really come together but the fishcakes were packed with flavour and were wonderfully light due to the small amount of potato they contained.

my baked cod fillet with fennel and mussel broth was gently flavoured and contained some of the most delicately-textured mussels i’ve ever eaten – they melted in your mouth! david chose the tusk fillet with creamed leeks and dill gnocchi. neither of us had tried tusk (aka torsk) before and really enjoyed its slightly rich flavour – it is a white fish which looks a little like monkfish but has a flaky texture; it has a stronger flavour than something such as cod or haddock. sadly, i’ve just seen that it is on the list of fish to avoid which makes me wonder how it got onto the menu, although the waitress did say it was the first time she had seen it, so maybe it was a one-off.

i was full after this but david polished off a chocolate mousse with white chocolate brownie. the brownies (blondies, surely) were made with hazelnuts which was a really delicious touch and one i’d like to try myself.

fort william is only small but it is well-worth stopping off and sampling crannog (i suggest you book, it was packed when we were there despite it being a monday evening). we stayed at this lovely b&b which provided an ample breakfast to see us through our journey on the jacobite which was a wonderful experience. sadly i didn’t get a photo of the train going over the glenfinnan viaduct which has appeared in several harry potter films.