Mallaig is the terminus of the West Highland line extension, opened in 1901, and is situated on a rocky hillside beside the Sound of Sleat with views (and CalMac ferries) across the sea to Skye and the Small Islands (Eigg, Rum, Muck and Canna). There is also a ferry from Mallaig to Loch Nevis, Knoydart, and the remote village of Inverie as well as wildlife cruises and private hire provided by Western Isles Cruises. There is a wide variety of accommodation and restaurants.
Mallaig was originally established as the service port for the new railway to exploit the large quantities of herring off the west coast of Scotland. It became possible to have freshly-caught herring loaded on the fish vans at Mallaig and delivered by train to London for sale at Billingsgate market the following day. The irony is that, although Mallaig remains a significant fishing port, no fish are transported by rail and the line’s principle custom is the tourist traveller.
There are normally four trains from Glasgow via Fort William every weekday (fewer on Sundays). Mallaig is also the terminus for the Jacobite steam train between Fort William and Mallaig. This is a very popular service and prior booking is essential to guarantee a seat.