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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 57°00′13″N 5°49′55″W / 57.00358°N 5.83198°W / 57.00358; -5.83198

Scottish Gaelic: Malaig
Mallaig is located in Scotland

 Mallaig shown within Scotland
Population 797 
OS grid reference NM674968
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Inverness
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MALLAIG
Postcode district PH41
Dialling code 01687
Police Northern
Fire Highlands and Islands
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Scottish Parliament Inverness East, Nairn & Lochaber
List of places: UK • Scotland •

Mallaig (Scottish Gaelic: Malaig, pronounced [ˈmal̪ˠεkʲ]) is a port in Lochaber, on the west coast of the Highlands of Scotland. The local railway station, Mallaig, is the terminus of the West Highland railway line (Fort William & Mallaig branch), completed in 1901, and the town is linked to Fort William by the A830 road – the "Road to the Isles".

The village of Mallaig was founded in the 1840s, when Lord Lovat, owner of North Morar Estate, divided up the farm of Mallaigvaig into seventeen parcels of land and encouraged his tenants to move to the western part of the peninsula and turn to fishing as a way of life.[1] The population and local econonmy expanded rapidly in the 20th century with the arrival of the railway.[1] Ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne and Bruce Watt Sea Cruises sail from the port to Armadale on the Isle of Skye, Inverie in Knoydart, and to the isles of Rùm, Eigg, Muck, and Canna. Mallaig is the main commercial fishing port on the West Coast of Scotland, and during the 1960s was the busiest herring port in Europe.[1] Mallaig prided itself at that time on its famous traditionally smoked kippers but today only one traditional smokehouse remains, Jaffy's and Sons.

Mallaig and the surrounding area is a popular area for holidays.



Mallaig has extensive distance learning facilities allowing the local population access to all forms of education from leisure classes to university degrees through Lochaber College and the UHI Millennium Institute. The College is one of the most successful of its kind in the UK, with over 8% of the local population accessing its facilities. The college has published a PDF version of the 19th Century Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Condition of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands report.[2]. Recently the Learning Centre has opened a Marine specific vocational centre and is at the forefort of developing Marine Certification courses for fishermen, as well as being a RYA certified centre.

Mallaig has its own Primary School which recently accepted the Gaelic Medium schoolchildren from neighbouring village Morar Lady Lovat Primary School, to allow that school to focus more on their English medium students.

Mallaig also has its own High School, opened in 1989 (however previously a secondary school existed in a slightly different location before this.) which caters for Mallaig, neighbours Morar and Arisaig, along with the nearby "Small Isles" Eigg, Rùm, Muck, Canna and finally for the nearby Knoydart Peninsula. The school has increasing numbers of pupils from the Small Isles, and as daily travel from home to school is impossible, these pupils are boarded in the schools Hostel.[1]


The West Highland Line links Mallaig railway station by rail to Fort William, Oban and Glasgow. Sheil Buses run a bus from Mallaig to Acharacle. There are also ferry links from Mallaig to Ardvasar on the Isle of Skye, Lochboisdale, and the Small Isles.

Mallaig as a filming location

The Mallaig railway is used during the filming of the Harry Potter series of films, and the Hogwarts Express can often be seen in the summer during periods of filming. Many other local areas are used for location filming.

The 1996 film Breaking the Waves was largely filmed in Mallaig and the surrounding area, and the beach scenes of Local Hero were filmed at Morar and Arisaig, a few miles to the south.



  1. ^ a b c Anon. "Mallaig and its story". Mallaig Heritage Centre. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  2. ^ Anon (2007). "The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Condition of Crofters and Cottars in the Highlands and Islands". Lochaber College e-library. Lochaber College. Retrieved 14 September 2009. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mallaig - village and port
Mallaig - village and port

Mallaig is on the West Coast of the Scottish Highlands and is the port for the ferries to the Small Isles and Skye.

Get in

By Train

Several trains a day run on the scenic West Highland Railway from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Fort William. These trains usually split at Crianlarich, with one section going to Oban and one to Mallaig - thus they may be announced as destined for Oban, but part of the train will actually get you to Mallaig. Make sure you are sitting in the right section!

The route take you through spectacular mountainous scenery, offering some of the best views of Scotland that you can enjoy without actually having to do any hiking. Trains cross the remote Rannoch Moor, and north of Fort William, the line crosses the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct, a hundred-year-old stone arched rail bridge which was brought to fame in the Harry Potter movies (the bridge also features on the Bank of Scotland £10 note). Sit on the left of the train for the best views.

In summer, the West Coast Railway company runs a special steam train service along this line to Mallaig, which is popular with tourists and day-trippers, especially due to the associations with the Harry Potter franchise.

By Bus

A Monday-Saturday bus runs to Fort William and a summer bus runs to Oban.

By Boat

Caledonian MacBrayne ("CalMac") run most of the Scottish ferries, with more running in summer than winter.

From Mallaig they go to the Small Isles: Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna most days.

In summer several carferries a day run to Armadale on Skye, but in winter this service is reduced to two sailings a day, Monday to Friday for foot passengers only.

Get around

Mallaig is a small village, everything is within walking distance.


Bruce Watt Cruises run boats to Inverie on the Knoydart Peninsula. Go there and back in a day, great views of the surrounding area from the boat.


Mallaig Heritage Centre located next to the train station tells the story of Mallaig and the surrounding area.


Mallaig has a few souvenir shops, two pubs, a tourist information centre and Spar and Co-op supermarkets. There is also a post office, chemist shop and ships chandlers.


In the middle of the village is the Fishmarket Restaurant serving fresh fish and some non-fish dishes. Very nice food. Alternatively, the Chlachain Inn does very nice food at reasonable prices. Their chips are great! Also, there are many other fish restaurants and other places to eat in the village.


The Chlachain Inn (above) has an outstanding collection of single malt whiskys.


There are many places to stay in Mallaig, though some are only open in the peak summer months.

  • At the large end of the scale, there is the West Highland Hotel which is a descendant of the original Station Hotel that was built to coincide with the coming of the West Highland Railway in 1901.
  • There are many B&B's at the cheaper end of the scale. One example is the family-run Springbank Guest House - a cheap and cheerful place just around the bay from the train station & ferry port.
  • Mallaig Backpackers Lodge Station Road, PH41 4PU 01687 462764 £13 (dorm).
  • See the pretty coastline between Arisaig and Morar, especially the Back of Keppoch. Both have trains from Mallaig.
  • See Glenfinnan Viaduct close to the Road to the Isles - as seen in the Harry Potter films!
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Simple English

Mallaig Railway Station

Mallaig is a small town in Scotland. It is also a port. Ferries link Mallaig, which is on the mainland, to some islands. About 797 lived there in 2001.

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