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Approaching Mallaig harbour by ferry.jpg
Approaching Mallaig harbour on the ferry from the Isle of Skye.
Population 797 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference NM 67693 96810
Council area
Lieutenancy area
  • Lochaber
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MALLAIG
Postcode district PH41
Dialling code 01687
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament
  • Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Scottish Parliament
  • Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch
List of places
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Mallaig Listeni/ˈmælɪɡ/; (Scottish Gaelic: Malaig [ˈmal̪ˠɛkʲ]) 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. The population and local economy expanded rapidly in the 20th century with the arrival of the railway. 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 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. 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.

The majority of the community speaks English, with a minority of residents speaking both English and Gaelic. In addition, traditional Gaelic is still taught in the school to pupils who choose to learn the language.


The West Highland Line links Mallaig railway station by rail to Fort William, Oban and Glasgow. The line was voted the top rail journey in the world by readers of independent travel magazine Wanderlust in 2009, ahead of the iconic Trans-Siberian and the Cuzco to Machu Picchu line in Peru.

In the summer the Jacobite steam train service from Fort William visits Mallaig.

Sheil Buses operate a bus service from Mallaig to Fort William. Buses also run south along the A861 to the villages of Acharacle and Strontian.

Mallaig is an important ferry port with regular Caledonian MacBrayne ferry services to Armadale on the Isle of Skye, a thirty-minute sailing. They also run a daily service to the Small Isles of Canna, Rùm, Eigg and Muck, although the timetable and itinerary differ from day to day. Calmac also offers a non-landing ticket which allows visitors to cruise the Small Isles.

In addition, a local ferry service owned by former lifeboatman Bruce Watt sails daily to Inverie in Knoydart, a very remote village, and also calls by prior arrangement at Tarbet in Morar, a location that is only accessible by sea. This service also offers a non-landing cruise through scenic Loch Nevis.

Mallaig as a filming location

The Mallaig railway was used during the filming of the Harry Potter series of films, and the Hogwarts Express could often be seen in the summer during periods of filming. Many other local areas were 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.


Approaching Mallaig harbour on the ferry from Skye 
Mallaig harbour from the ferry to the Isle of Skye 
Mallaig viewed from the Ferry Road to the north of the village 
The Mallaig to Armadale car ferry 
Mallaig railway station 
Mallaig harbour 
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